What is the College Cost of Reduction Act? (CCRA)

The costs of attending college increase every year, often at a rate that outpaces inflation. As a result, many students find themselves priced out of obtaining a college degree.

This unfortunate event greatly limits their potential to advance economically, as a college degree is becoming increasingly essential for finding steady employment in today’s economy. In 2008, Congress made an inroad against the price barrier of college with the Cost of College Reduction Act, which was designed to increase the size of college grants, reduce interest rates on loans, and create a new program for loan forgiveness after ten years of work.

However, the Senate originally only granted loan forgiveness for work in the public sector, while the House version of the bill included the nonprofit sector. The MNN joined a coalition of organizations known as the Massachusetts Council for Human Service Providers and engaged in an intensive lobbying effort to get the Senate to include the nonprofit sector in the bill.

The late Senator Edward Kennedy recognized the lobbying effort and helped to ensure that the nonprofit sector was included when the bill passed. As a result of this bill and its loan forgiveness program, the lower pay associated with the nonprofit sector is a much less significant barrier for college graduates; they are empowered to work for social justice in a wider range of fields with fewer financial constraints.  This, in turn, gives nonprofit and public sector organizations a wider pool of workers who are well-educated and well-trained for the demands of human service work.

For detailed information on specific aspects of this significant legislation, please visit Idealist.org for more information.