Income-Contingent Repayment as Public Policy

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The rising cost of higher education is one of the most vexing public policy challenges facing the United States and many other nations. At the same time, expanding access to higher education and promoting completion of degrees and related credentials of value is critical given the relationship between educational attainment and a host of individual and public returns on investment. Governments around the world struggle with the conundrum of how to expand educational access in a time of economic challenge and austerity measures designed to shrink national outlays in response to reduced tax revenues. These challenges have accelerated a two-decade global trend of shifting an increasing percentage of educational costs from governments to individual students and their families.