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confronting cost

A new report out this week from the Brookings Institution looks at more than two decades of financial data, specifically how Americans are paying for higher education. 

The report finds the student debt crisis that we've all been hearing about isn't actually as bad as the public – and the media – often makes it out to be.

WGBH’s Kirk Carapezza sat down with Beth Akers, a co-author of the report, to talk about the controversial findings.

The documentary film Ivory Tower, which opens in Boston on Friday, explores the much-debated question of whether the cost of college is worth it. On Campus spoke with the director Andrew Rossi. 

This is not the first time Rossi has looked at institutions undergoing massive transformation. The Yale graduate's 2010 film Page One: Inside the New York Times focused on the changing newspaper industry. Rossi says he's fascinated by the collision of shifting values and economic realities.

It's eight in the morning, and Debra Zhang is heading to work. She grabs her keys and umbrella, slips on her shoes, and steps on to Boylston Street in Boston's Fenway neighborhood.

Zhang is one of the more than 800,000 international students that attended American colleges and universities last year -- more than 46,000 of them in Massachusetts. And schools are expecting a spike this fall. This trend has implications both for international and domestic students.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted against a bill filed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that would allow college graduates to refinance their outstanding student loans at lower interest rates. 

Despite the public outcry about mounting student loan debt, Republican leaders widely dismissed the measure as a progressive political stunt during an election year because it called for a new tax on millionaires and billionaires to cover the cost. 

After decades of rising costs, students are less willing and able to pay a premium for college education. Many families are asking whether college is worth it. And that question has been posed repeatedly in recent headlines. From a New York Times op-ed to NPR's Education Blog, many pundits are making their voices heard.

For those who don't want to slog through every op-ed and article, WGBH’s On Campus has aggregated highlights in one place.

So… is college worth it?

How low can college sticker prices go? Southern New Hampshire University announced this month it will offer the country's first fully-accredited $10,000 bachelor's degree online.

The Manchester-based university is partnering with more than 50 employers - from Blue Cross Blue Shield to McDonald's - to offer degrees aimed at working adults.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is renewing her effort to help former college students pay back their student loan debt. 

Warren wants to bring high student loan interest rates down to the rates that are offered to new borrowers this year.

Earlier this week, WGBH’s On Campus caught up with the senator shortly after she left the floor of the Senate where she filed a bill to do just that. 

Melanie Daye has worked hard her whole life and is proud she’s achieved a piece of the American dream, owning her own home in Hyde Park in Boston. She says her greatest accomplishment, though, was singlehandedly raising her two boys -- and sending them both to college.

A new report says part-time teachers at local community colleges are not getting enough institutional support to be effective. And since so many of these schools use adjunct over full time professors, this may be downgrading the quality of education for the millions who attend community colleges.

When the media talks about colleges and universities during this admissions season, visions of tree-lined quads at four-year liberal arts institutions may come to mind. But the truth is that almost half of undergraduate students in the United States actually go to community college.

Pam Eddinger is the president of Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, where 14,000 students are working towards certificates or degrees.

On Campus recently talked to Eddinger about the unique role community colleges play, and we started out by asking her what first drew her to the community college scene.

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