College Affordability Essay Contest

With total student debt in this country totaling over $440 billion, and the average student today graduating with debt almost three and a half times that of graduates a decade ago, the Campaign for College Affordability is giving students and recent graduates the chance to highlight the crisis in student aid – and at the same time turn their debt into cash.

The Campaign for College Affordability announces the College Affordability Essay Contest. The contest is open to current students, undergraduate or graduate, and former students with at least $2,500 in outstanding educational debt who write and place an essay, reported article, opinion piece, or multimedia work on the topic of college affordability in a college, local or national publication – print or web. The winner, to be determined by our panel of judges, will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship to alleviate his or her student debt burden. You can report on the issues; write about your personal struggles with debt, affordability, and the system; propose creative solutions – we’re looking for original contributions to the debate.

We will be accepting entries from students across the country from now until October 29, 2007. The entries will be judged by a panel of policy makers, experts, and respected journalists that we’ll announce in the coming weeks. The $2,500 scholarship prize was won by Campus Progress for its innovative Debt Hits Hard videos in Huffington Post’s Contagious Festival.

The best entries will be available on the Campaign for College Affordability website beginning in late May. Students can enter by clicking here.


The Judging Process

The judges will choose one winner from the top five entries, which will be selected by the organizations that make up the Campaign for College Affordability. Essays will be judged for their content, visibility, and potential impact. Winners will be announced on November 13th, 2007.

topics

All entries must address one or more of the following issues:

  • College Access – Each year many qualified students must forgo a college education because of rising costs and inadequate student aid. Others must settle with their second, third, or fourth choice of school, or are forced to work long hours, live off campus, or make other decisions that may have a negative effect on their academic performance.

  • Student Debt – Each year students graduate with more and more student debt, and this debt is becoming harder to manage. Many recent graduates are making career choices based not on their talents or preferences, but as a result of large debt burdens. Fewer and fewer young people are choosing careers in lower-paying public service fields, such as social work or teaching, and those who do find themselves terribly financially strapped. Increasingly students are taking out costly private loans either to make up for a gap between their aid package and the cost of their education, or because they were misinformed by marketing campaigns touting fast, easy, and cheap loans. Private loans have higher interest rates and fewer borrower protections, which make a borrower’s debt burden more difficult to bear. Student debt is also causing borrowers to delay major life decisions like buying a home, buying a car, or getting married.

  • Fair Lending – Recent investigations by attorney generals and advocacy groups have revealed a pattern of rampant conflicts of interests in financial aid offices across the country. Lenders have offered revenue sharing deals, staff time, stock options, and even Caribbean vacations to financial aid offices or their employees so that they will be recommended favorably to student borrowers. If there private lenders are allowed to participate in federal loan programs, they should be forced to compete in a way that benefits borrowers and taxpayers. CurrentlyCurrently, because lenders get unnecessarily large government subsidies for every student they sign on, they try to quash competition by wooing financial aid administrators to steer students to their loans even if it’s not the best deal. . Have you been discouraged from shopping around for the best deal or from consolidating your loans with a different lender? Some of the money currently going to subsidize lenders should be used to make college more affordable. Campus Progress has released a guide to investigating the conflict of interest problem on your campus.

Though we encourage complete creativity, we want to remind you that the Campaign for College Affordability is comprised of non-partisan, non-profit organizations, and, as such, is prohibited from partisan political activity. Therefore, we won’t use submissions with an overwhelmingly partisan message, or that focus on particular political candidates.

Entry Process
  • Write an essay on one or more of the topics above
  • Submit your work to any campus, local, or national publication.
  • If your work is published, click here to enter the contest!
  • If your essay was published, but is not online, you can mail it to:

    College Affordability Essay Contest
    Campus Progress
    1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
    Washington, DC 20005
  • Please be advised, we will be unable to return entries to participants.
    • You MUST fill in ALL of the fields in the form to be eligible.
    • To be eligible, you must submit your entry by 11:59 p.m. EST on October 29, 2007.
    • To be eligible you must be a current undergraduate or graduate student, or a former student with at least $2,500 in educational debt still owed.

    Anyone can submit their essay for possible posting on our campaign website, but in order to win the prize you must not currently be an employee, consultant, or intern of any of the member organizations of the Campaign for College Affordability. This prohibition does not include non-staff contributors to Campusprogress.org, or volunteers and chapter members of any of the member organizations of the Campaign for College Affordability.

    The Rules

    By entering the contest you agree to the contest rules, as contained in this announcement, and you are registering with Collegeaffordabilitynow.org. Selection of contest winners is in the sole discretion of the judges and the Campaign for College Affordability. Each entrant consents to the Campaign for College Affordability publicizing his or her actual name. Void where prohibited. Void outside of the U.S. 50 states and the District of Columbia. Void in Arizona because their state law on contests is too complicated. Prizes are non-transferable. Not affiliated with any other essay contest.

    By inputting Submissions to this site, you are certifying that you are not violating copyright, trademark, or other rights of held by third-parties.

    You can review our privacy policies governing the collection and use of your information here.

    Claims of Copyright Infringement. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the "DMCA") provides recourse for copyright owners who believe that material appearing on the Internet infringes their rights under U.S. copyright law. If you believe in good faith that materials hosted by American Progress infringe your copyright, you (or your agent) may send us a notice requesting that the material be removed, or access to it blocked. Notices and counter-notices must meet the then-current statutory requirements imposed by the DMCA; see http://www.loc.gov/copyright/ for details. Notices and counter-notices with respect to the Site should be sent to:

    By Mail: Debbie Fine
    Counsel
    Center for American Progress/American Progress Action Fund
    1333 H Street, NW
    Washington DC 20005
    By email: copyright@amprog.org

    Jurisdictional Issues; Governing Law. The Site is controlled and operated by American Progress from the District of Columbia, U.S.A., and is not intended to subject American Progress to the laws or jurisdiction of any other state, country or territory. These terms of use are governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the District of Columbia, United States of America, without regard to its conflict of law principles. You agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of any court located in the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, United States of America, and waive any jurisdictional, venue or inconvenient forum objections to such courts, in any matter arising out of or related to the Site or these terms of use.

    Disclaimers; Limitation of Liability. THE SITE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY. NEITHER American Progress, THE Campaign for College Affordability, NOR ANY OF OUR AFFILIATES, DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES OR CONSULTANTS ARE RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, PUNITIVE OR OTHER DAMAGES UNDER ANY CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHER THEORY ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING IN ANY WAY TO THE SITE AND/OR MATERIALS CONTAINED ON THE SITE, ANY LINKED SITE OR ANY CONTENT OR SERVICE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SITE.

    Entry Form


















    * denotes required field
    I have read and understand the contest privacy policy.

    Subject:


    Dear Congressperson,

    In order for this message to be successfully delivered to the appropriate target(s), all fields are required.

              Title   
    First Name *
    Last Name *
    Email *
    Street *
    Street 2
    City *
    State/Region *
    Zip/Postal Code    *
    Optional Member Code


    Join students across the country and bring this campaign to your campus. Find out what's going on at your school by emailing organize@campusprogress.org.



    If you take action we will send your message to your US Senators. We will also add your e-mail address to our Campaign for College Affordability mailing list, which is maintained by Campus Progress / Center for American Progress. You can unsubscribe from the Campaign for College Affordability mailing list at any time by following the instructions included in each message you receive from the campaign. We will use your information in accordance with the Campus Progress / Center for American Progress privacy policy governing the collection and use of your information. You can review the policy by clicking here.