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Vision Blog

About Us

Vision Blog

Vision Blog

President's Budget Proposes Deep Cuts To Education

June 6th, 2017
Julie Ryder Lammers

The Higher Education Act Reauthorization is still on hold while Congress deals with issues like health care and confirmation hearings for members of administrative agencies. While health care may be under discussion in the Senate after passing the House, little progress has been made to staff the Department of Education.

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Vision Blog

Thoughts On The Latest Higher Education News

May 18th, 2017
Allesandra Lanza

It’s been a busy time for higher education! Starting with our own news: We’re excited to announce the launch of a new education and awareness campaign, “10 Years to Zero Debt,” to spread the word about Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

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Vision Blog

Innovations In Higher Education Financing: Income Share Agreements

May 10th, 2017
Allesandra Lanza

In this entry of our “Innovations in Higher Education Financing” series, we take a closer look at a “new” proposal to reimagine the process of paying for college: Income Share Agreements.

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Vision Blog

Filling the Counseling Void

April 24th, 2017
Allesandra Lanza

Here’s the strongest proof yet that the federal student loan repayment system, as currently constructed, needs a reboot: Bloomberg is reporting that student loan servicer Navient, in response to a recent lawsuit filed against the company by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, allegedly stated in court filings, “There is no expectation that the servicer will act in the interest of the consumer. Servicers provide information about repayment plans and routinely provide information and support to borrowers, but have no 'fiduciary' responsibility to serve as a financial adviser to borrowers."

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Vision Blog

WE ARE NOT AMERICAN STUDENT ASSOCIATION!

April 6th, 2017
Allesandra Lanza

It has come to our attention that an entity called “American Student Association” has been sending multiple emails to individuals advertising “student reduction” plans. A Google search for American Student Association brings up our organization, American Student Assistance®. Please know that we have no affiliation with this group or these emails. We are a nonprofit with 60+ years’ experience helping students access and successfully repay higher education. All of our information, counseling and services are free of charge to higher education consumers.

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Vision Blog

President Trump Proposes Skinny Budget with Higher Education Cuts

April 4th, 2017
Julie Ryder Lammers

The Higher Education Act Reauthorization is on hold while Congress deals with issues like health care and confirmation hearings for members of administrative agencies and the Supreme Court. However, in the meantime, the biggest action impacting higher education from Washington is coming from President Trump’s proposed “skinny budget” for FY2018.

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Vision Blog

Retirement Delayed: How Student Debt Impacts Older Americans – and Why It’s Just the Tip of the Iceberg

March 21st, 2017
Julie Ryder Lammers

When we talk about the student debt crisis in the U.S. today, images of newly minted college graduates in their 20s or early 30s usually come to mind. There’s no denying that Millennials are coping with the largest student loan burden in our nation’s history (until of course Gen Z finishes college) and they’re stressed about it. A recent survey we conducted of young workers showed that 56% worry about repaying their loan either all the time or often, while 40% report that worrying about their student loans has impacted their health. Additionally, more than half of young workers report that right now, paying off student loans comes first, and they will put off saving for retirement until later.

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Vision Blog

Higher Education Policy Update

March 1st, 2017
Julie Ryder Lammers

We are just a month into a new presidential administration and the 115th Congress, but there is a lot on the horizon that might be of interest to the higher education community.

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Vision Blog

Innovations in Higher Education Financing: LRAPs

February 22nd, 2017
Allesandra Lanza

Welcome to our new series, “Innovations in Higher Education Financing,” which will examine new and inventive ways to ensure that higher education in the United States remains financially in reach for every academically qualified student.

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Vision Blog

Free College? States, You’re Our Only Hope

February 1st, 2017
Allesandra Lanza

Just when we all thought the free college movement was dead in the water, it’s back – and potentially in a big way.

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Vision Blog

Our Wish List of Legislative Priorities for Higher Education Consumers

January 5th, 2017
Julie Ryder Lammers

This month’s changing of the guard in Washington, DC sets the stage for lawmakers to tackle a number of higher education financing issues, whether through the stalled reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, standalone bills or the reversal of regulations enacted during President Obama’s time in office. While it’s difficult to predict what a Trump administration will mean for higher education, here’s our Consumer Advocacy Center’s wish list of executive and legislative priorities in the best interest of the higher education consumer:

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Vision Blog

Come Together, Right Now …. Over Student Debt

November 17th, 2016
Allesandra Lanza

It’s been quite the two weeks.

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Vision Blog

Hispanics’ American Dream Starts with Higher Education

October 18th, 2016
John Zurick

It was recently my honor to accept, on behalf of American Student Assistance, the Outstanding Private Sector Partner award from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities at their annual conference in San Antonio. The conference was an outstanding event and it reminded me of just how critical it is for our entire nation that Hispanics access and succeed in higher education and beyond.

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Vision Blog

Addressing Inequities in Student Debt

September 6th, 2016
Kevin Fudge

As my colleague recently wrote in U.S. News and World Report, there’s been growing disturbing evidence in recent years that student debt disproportionately harms non-white borrowers. Numerous studies have documented that African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities borrow more often for postsecondary education, at higher amounts, and struggle more to repay the debt.

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Vision Blog

It Takes a Village to Solve Our Nation’s Student Debt Challenge

July 11th, 2016
John Zurick

According to the recent Consumer Reports special survey “The Student Debt Crisis: Lives on Hold,” a shockingly high 45 percent of student loan borrowers (19 million borrowers) say college was not worth the cost. For some, this is more evidence that the “college for all” movement has done more harm than good over the years, by putting students down a path of higher education that can haunt them financially for the rest of their lives.

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Vision Blog

New Study Shows Student Debt Holding Back Household Formation

June 14th, 2016
John Zurick

This week Salt and the National Association of Realtors released the results of a new survey that shows the impact of student loans on borrowers’ housing situation. The data validates much of the findings from our own Life Delayed study, as well as anecdotal evidence we gather in our day-to-day work counseling student loan borrowers.

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Vision Blog

Pledging to Do Our Part to Educate Borrowers

May 19th, 2016
John Zurick

Student debt is on everyone’s minds these days, so it’s no surprise that solutions are being bandied about from inside policymaker circles, to the higher education community, to the private sector’s innovative student loan assistance employee benefit packages. Income sharing agreements are one idea that’s gaining publicity, but as I argue in my op-ed in The Hill, ISAs are a dangerous distraction from the real national conversation we should be having about higher education as a public good.

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Vision Blog

All Emotion, No Rationality, Can Lead to Poor College Decisions

April 19th, 2016
John Zurick

Each year at this time, many parents face a gut wrenching choice. Allow your son or daughter to pursue the college of their dreams, even if the acceptance came with a less-than-stellar financial aid offer, or persuade them to attend a financial “safety” school that carries less of the emotional attachment, but a much more affordable out-of-pocket cost.

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Vision Blog

Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Borrowers: Helping the Depressed Deal with Student Debt Stress

March 31st, 2016
Grace Bartini

At American Student Assistance and our SALT financial education program, we want to eliminate finance as a barrier to education, to free everyone to unlock the potential of college and the dreams education enables. In fact, we want all students to see the economic boost a college degree should bring, rather than an overall loss of lifetime wealth because they chose to take on student debt. As we’ve written in the past, we want a society with “zero student loan struggles.”

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Vision Blog

Student Debt Grows Up

March 2nd, 2016
John Zurick

As my colleague Grace Bartini recently pointed out, student debt isn’t an issue just for Millennials. Student loans are increasingly part of the consumer debt mix for older Americans, too.

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Vision Blog

We Can Now Pinpoint Where Struggling Student Borrowers Live. So What Are We Going to Do About It?

February 19th, 2016
John Zurick

Thanks to recent data from Generation Progress and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, we now know the exact cities and neighborhoods where student loan borrowers are struggling the most. Tragically, but not to anyone’s surprise, the data shows delinquency disproportionately affects communities of color – so those most in need of student loans to help secure greater economic mobility are the ones most likely to be harmed by them.

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Vision Blog

Getting to a “Zero Student Loan Struggles” Society

February 3rd, 2016
Grace Bartini

As the Ombudsman at American Student Assistance for the past 15 years, I’ve been able to spot lots of emerging issues facing student loan borrowers. That’s the beauty of the Ombudsman role – you’re tasked with solving past problems, many that are longstanding and have grown tangled over the years, but in so doing you can uncover better methods of operation for the future. Looking backward can inform how you act moving forward, so the same mistakes aren’t made again.

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Vision Blog

For Struggling Student Loan Borrowers, Perception Is Reality

January 13th, 2016
John Zurick

American Student Assistance recently released an update to our Life Delayed study. The results were largely consistent with and extended our original survey’s message: Student loan debt is having a profound impact on the daily lives and spending habits of young Americans long after they leave school, regardless of the type of institution they attended or the level of credential earned, and preventing many from participating fully in our economy.

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Vision Blog

Student Debt: Not Just for Kids

December 29th, 2015
Grace Bartini

In presidential campaign ads across the nation, student groups are calling for practical solutions to alleviate the burden of student debt. The face of the debt problem is generally portrayed by fresh faced 20-somethings. This is accurate imagery for the majority of those burdened with student debt, but with a rapidly increasing population of older, “non-traditional” students enrolling in college every day, the reality of those struggling with student debt goes well beyond millennials.

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Vision Blog

The Missed Opportunity to Use Student Loans as a Learning Tool

December 9th, 2015
John Zurick

Last week at the Federal Student Aid conference, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) made big news by announcing the implementation of a single student loan portal for all borrowers that could bypass servicers, the private contractors hired by the government to collect loan payment.

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Vision Blog

Recommitting to the Public Good of Higher Education

November 23rd, 2015
John Zurick

In 1964 President Lyndon Baines Johnson launched his War on Poverty believing access to higher education was an important weapon in the battle to change the economic trajectory of American society. One resulting bill, passed 50 years ago this month, was the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA).

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Vision Blog

About the SALT “Vision” Blog

November 20th, 2015
John Zurick

The purpose of the SALT Vision Blog is to further the national dialogue around eliminating financing as a barrier to education – and the dreams education enables.

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