State PIRGs' Higher Education Project
218 D Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 546-9707

Ivan Frishberg

Ellynne Bannon


H.R. 1622 - The Student Affordable Loan Act
The act would eliminate insurance and origination fees on federal student loans.


Over the past 30 years, students involved with the State PIRGs have worked on numerous campaigns, bringing together their energy and the skills and continuity of a professional staff. From fighting toxic chemical use to registering over a million new voters, students have seen how, by joining forces, their combined efforts have led to far greater accomplishments that any single act. Students' university experience is often enhanced by real-world experience beyond the limits of the classroom. The State PIRGs' Higher Education project is devoted to expanding the opportunity of a college education to all Americans and strengthening our democracy by building an enlightened citizenry.

Student Loans

Student debt now averages over $14,000 per student borrower, and takes the average student over 10 years to pay off. As federal and state grant aid diminishes, and college costs continue to rise, we must provide college loans on terms that do not take the dream of a college education and turn it into a nightmare of debt lasting far beyond the college experience. The State PIRGs advocate for the following:

  • Eliminate all up-front fees on student loans;
  • Lower the amount of interest accrued to student loans;
  • Increase relief from excessive student debt through better terms and options for income contingent repayment; and,
  • Continue competition between the federal direct and guaranteed student loan programs, including efforts to level the playing field between the two programs.

The Grant / Loan Imbalance

20 years ago, 80 percent of federal financial aid came in the form of grants, and 20 percent in the form of loans. Now, the situation is reversed. During the same period, the spending value of a Pell grant has been cut in half. The State PIRGs advocate for the following:

  • Increased funding and eligibility for Pell grants;
  • Increased funding and leveraging power for campus and state-based aid programs such as SSIG and FSEOG; and,
  • Increase grants and fellowships for graduate students.

Students' Rights

In an effort to create an informed and enlightened democracy, built on civic participation, the State PIRGs advocate for the following:

  • Opposition to any restrictions on students' rights to engage in our democracy, including the ability to form, fund and direct their own organizations on campus;
  • Increased access to accurate and timely information about crime on campus.