Today: Two Paths To Higher Ed

Lewis, Melinda
College Debt
Publication type: 

Higher education plays a critical role in the U.S. economy, creating a ladder of economic opportunity for American children, especially for those in poverty. However, despite our collective belief in an American dream of equitable opportunities for all, higher education today increasingly reinforces patterns of relative privilege, particularly as students rely more and more on student loans to finance college access. As borrowing reduces the return on a college degree— by failing to support strong educational attainment and by compromising post-graduation financial security—the inequity of our financial aid system is laid bare. By supporting and investing in asset-based savings approaches for all U.S. children, we have the potential to deliver superior outcomes and strengthen the American dream.

Read the infographic


Elliott, W. and Lewis, M. (2013). Are student loans widening the wealth gap in America? It’s a question of equity. Lawrence, KS: Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI).

New Book Released

Today’s student loan system is in place because of a political compromise, and growing discontent with student debt may signal that this arrangement has run its course. While there are resources and organizations in place to help those struggling with debt, the time has come to consider a new direction for financial aid, William Elliott III and Melinda Lewis argue in “Student Debt: A Reference Handbook.”

Why KU
  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
  • 44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
  • 23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times