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STUDENT FINANCING: DISPARITIES BETWEEN THE CONTINENTAL U.S. STATES AND U.S. TERRITORIES

A. Rios-Parnell1, P. Roubides2

1Keiser University (UNITED STATES)
2Broward College (UNITED STATES)
Students through the United States are struggling to get the necessary financing to enroll in or finish college. A mixture of personal family assets, scholarships and government loans is necessary to pay for an undergraduate degree; even though such a degree is a practical necessity in our modern
technological society. However, the U.S. federal government has been able to provide free undergraduate degrees for years to students living in the US territories such as Puerto Rico and American Samoa. Unfortunately, students living in the continental states have not seen the same privilege. On the contrary, that same federal government policies have resulted in increasing interest rates on student loans for the past ten years. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress voted to double the interest rate to student loans, while a democratic measure to reverse the doubling of the interest rate on student loans fell short in the U.S. Senate; and students waited for a bipartisan deal to remedy the situation. In the end, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, signed into a law a measure to restore lower interest rate for student loans. With all this information in mind, the authors examined the source of current policies in student loans, and discovered why such a disparity exists between the US Territories and the States. Furthermore, the issues or limitations that may prevent the free tuition program from being expanded in the continental United States are uncovered. Finally, the authors explain how the new program for student financing should be defined, so that eventually free undergraduate tuition is granted to every US citizen who wants a college degree.