Michael Dannenberg

Michael Dannenberg is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the founding director of its Education Policy Program.

Recent Articles

The Truth About Tuition

The conversation about college costs shouldn't end at student loans.

(Michael Sloan)
For decades, the politics of higher education have followed familiar lines: Democrats champion higher Pell Grants for needy families, tuition tax credits for the middle class, and cheaper student loans paid for by cutting banks out of the system. Republicans advocate more modest Pell Grant increases and, with a few exceptions, protect the student-loan banks that enjoy a lucrative, risk-free business. President Barack Obama is following the traditional playbook. He has proposed increasing Pell Grants significantly and throwing the banks completely out of the student-loan program. Loans instead would be made directly by the government. "We should not be in the business of propping up banks," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told reporters in April. "I'd much rather be investing in our country's young people." But Pell Grants and student loans address only one side of the college-affordability ledger. The other is tuition, which is increasing at a rate that dramatically outpaces median...