woman in cap and gown
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Earning a college degree can create a pathway to a better job, higher wages and overall improved quality of life. Studies show that college graduates earn significantly more money throughout their lifetime people with just a high school degree.

Stack of money
Pictures of Money / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

State funding for higher education in the U.S. is showing continued growth overall. That's according to the results of the latest Grapevine survey, an annual compilation of data on state fiscal support for higher education.

State funding rose by 3.4% across the U.S. from the 2015-16 to 2016-17 fiscal years. James Palmer is a professor of higher education at Illinois State University and Grapevine Editor.

A pea on a plate. With a fork and knife.
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The National School Lunch Program helps keep low-income kids from going hungry while they're in school. Over 21 million K-12 students in the U.S. received free and reduced-priced school lunches during the 2014-2015 school year.

But what happens to these same kids when they go off to college?

A recent study found nearly half of college students across the country are food insecure. That means they struggle just to get enough affordable, nutritious food.

Piggy Bank
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I know, I know. School just started and here we are already talking about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA application period used to start January 1. But for the 2017-2018 academic year, it launches three months sooner on October 1, 2016. 

Here are some things you need to know if you decide to sit down at the computer this weekend to start your application:

Oğuzhan Abdik / Flickr Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Did you go to college after high school and complete a degree? What influenced your decision, either way? 

It turns out that attitudes about the importance of a college education differ between racial and ethnic groups.

Black and Hispanic parents are more likely than white parents to see a college degree as key to their children's success, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

How can Michigan improve college access and affordability?

Sep 25, 2015
COD Newsroom / Flickr Creative Commons

The Center for Michigan’s latest report on improving career navigation and college affordability has received a lot of attention, and rightfully so. Student debt is an issue that is on a lot of people's minds; from the university admissions office, to the family dinner table and even on the presidential campaign trail.

Four in five Michigan residents say that improving college affordability isn't just a suggestion, but an urgent priority for the state.

Brittany Bartkowiak / Michigan Radio

The sun is beaming down on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus on what is likely one of the last summer days of the season. The open space in front of the library is full of students and professors rushing to grab lunch before their next class.

Photo via CMU Facebook

In the wave of data about higher education that the White House released last weekend, one fact emerges that was already painfully clear: The “haves” in higher education have quite a lot; the "have-nots" struggle mightily.

President Obama had been talking for some time now about creating a Consumer Reports-style college ratings system. On Saturday, the president unveiled his much-anticipated College Scorecard.

"You'll be able to see how much each school's graduates earn, how much debt they graduate with, and what percentage of a school's students can pay back their loans," the president said in his weekly address.

user John Patrick Robichaud / flickr

We've said it before, but it bears repeating: filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, or the FAFSA, can be a pain in the butt. But at this point, there's no way around it. If you're hoping to get some federal grants or financial aid to help offset the costs of college, then you're going to have to fill it out.

As my colleague Dustin Dwyer noted in a story he did earlier this year, even the U.S. Department of Education acknowledges there are serious problems with our country's financial aid system.

U.S. Department of Education

Proposals for making college debt-free have become all but mandatory for Democratic candidates on the presidential primary campaign trail. Hillary Clinton rolled out her plan at a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Monday.  Called the “New College Compact,” the proposal would cost $350 billion over 10 years.