America's financial aid system imposes too much debt on college graduates, provides too much taxpayer support to banks making college loans, and demands too little of students assuming them. A new "College Access Contract" would allow low-income students to graduate with zero federal student loan debt -- and middle-class students to graduate with interest-free federal student loan debt -- if they:
- Work hard in high school to prepare for college -- as evidenced by completing a college prep track or scoring college-ready on a placement exam;
- Work or engage in community service while in college an average ten hours a week; and
- Evidence a minimum level of competency in an academic area upon completing college.
The program's cost can be paid for by reducing excess lender subsidies and embracing market mechanisms in the delivery of federal student loans.
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