NCL heralds results of Harkin Report on for-profit colleges – National Consumers League

July 31, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League (NCL) is heralding Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) for his HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee’s comprehensive report on for-profit colleges, a study that reveals that for-profit colleges are a dubious investment for students.

According to the Harkin study, which took two years to complete and was released Monday, associate degrees and certificate programs at for-profit colleges cost about four times as much as those from community colleges and public universities. The majority of the students enrolled leave the school before receiving these costly degrees; half leave within the first four months. When they drop out they are saddled with thousands in student debt and nothing to show for it. The report documents that 80 percent of the funding of these schools comes from the Department of Education, and that the schools put most of their resources into recruitment, rather than teaching. So to add insult to injury, taxpayers are underwriting the profits of these for-profit institutions.

Not only do for-profit college students have higher tuition fees and a higher dropout rate, but they are more likely to default on loans. According to Senator Harkin, “students in for-profit schools represent 13 percent of the nation’s total college enrollment, but account for almost 50 percent of all loan defaults.”


“This report suggests that the for-profit model of higher education is more concerned with making money than in providing a quality education for students or providing solid work opportunities,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of NCL. “We are hopeful that this report is the first step in cleaning up the exploitation of students by for-profit colleges, and thank Senator Harkin and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for their exemplary work in preparing this report and protecting and promoting the  rights and interests of both students and taxpayers.”


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Weighing in on NYC’s proposed soda limits – National Consumers League

By Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director

Last week I had the opportunity to testify before the New York City Board of Health in support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal amend the health law in New York City to limit sugary drinks sold by restaurants and movie theaters – not grocery or convenience stores – in New York City to 16-oz. servings.

That means thousands of restaurants across the city will need to reduce serving sizes for sugary drinks or face a $200 fine. Why this proposal from the Mayor? Because the obesity rates in New York – like the rest of America – are soaring (see NCL testimony) and calorie-laden drinks are ubiquitous and heavily marketed. They include typical soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sprite, and more recently bottled Ice Teas and lemonade, sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade, and so called “energy” drinks like Red Bull, Monster, and 5 Hour Energy filled with caffeine and sugar. These beverages are a major factor in the rising caloric intake of so many Americans and in the meteoric rise in Type 2 Diabetes (especially among children and teens) and heart disease.

NCL supports the Mayor’s proposal because we join with our public health colleagues and medical specialists in diabetes, heart, kidney and oral disease in blowing the whistle on the marketing of sweetened drinks to American consumers, especially the young. We’ve supported the Mayor in other health issues, like requiring that trans fat be listed on labels, posting calories on restaurant menus throughout NYC as of several years ago (and, having been in NYC this week, the info is very useful in steering calorie conscious consumers to healthier options).

Exempted under the Bloomberg amendment would be sugar-free drinks, beverages containing milk products (like Starbucks drinks for example), and the infamous “Big Gulp” drinks sold by 7-11 stores because they are not restaurants.

The New York Health Department in Long Island City hosted, and many of the Commissioners – all appointed by Mayor Bloomberg – were in attendance during the long afternoon hearing. I was surprised to see such a large turnout of interested parties signed up to testify. I especially appreciated and learned from the comments of so many prominent and outspoken medical academics and leaders of disease groups, like the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. There were ethnic group representatives from the Asian, Hispanic and Black communities who talked about the effects of obesity plaguing their communities. There were also prominent academics, like the head of dentistry at a local medical facility who noted that that, despite the fluoridation of NYC water, youngsters were coming in with unprecedented tooth decay from sugary drinks.

Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal has already had an impact. (Our statement described it as bold, but noted that the proposal calls for really what is a modest limitation on the size of sweet drinks sold in NYC restaurants and movie theaters – allowing establishments to serve 16 oz of 14 teaspoons of liquid sugar is not a ban!)

The New Yorker magazine noted that the purveyors of a 64-ounce bucket drink – the notorious KFC – were in the doldrums because the Mayor’s proposal was giving these sugary drinks a “bad name.” Yay! That is exactly what should happen. And there is a buzz about this proposal. The UK, whose citizens never had to fight obesity before, is now considering a similar ban. Tragically, over the last few decades, American companies have exported our junk food abroad – with all its salt, sugar, and fat—and this has had a big impact on obesity rates worldwide.

I listened to opponents and came away thinking their arguments were weak. They ranged from claiming the proposal inhibits so-called consumer choice to buy supersize, unhealthy liquid calories, to the argument that adults can make their own decisions about what they eat, to saying the proposal will make costs prohibitive for struggling small business, killing 8,000 jobs.

This last argument made no sense to me. There are hundreds of drinks that are exempted – including all diet drinks, all bottled water, any drink containing a milk product. And restaurants can still serve sugary drinks, but just in lesser quantities. So I don’t really see the argument that this will kill jobs.

Mayor Bloomberg deserves plaudits for his proposal. It is a certainty that other jurisdictions will adopt similar measures, for extreme circumstances call for bold measures. This one meets the test.

NCL applauds introduction of legislation to increase federal minimum wage – National Consumers League

July 24, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC–The National Consumers League (NCL) applauds the introduction of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 to the U.S. Senate (S. 3453) by Senator Tom Harkin (IA) and the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 6211) by Congressman George Miller (CA-7).

“This vital piece of legislation will benefit low wage workers and be equally important to tipped workers,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of NCL.  “Tipped workers, whose minimum wage is $2.13 an hour, have not had a raise since 1991 – 21 years.”

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would increase the federal minimum wage in three 85-cent steps over three years from $7.25 to $9.80 an hour.  After reaching $9.80 the rate would be indexed to inflation each year thereafter.  The federal tipped minimum wage would also receive a boost from its current $2.13 an hour. The bill would increase it in annual 85-cent installments until it reached 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

“NCL hails this critical bill which would help millions of working families make ends meet and help the economy flourish.  We thank Senator Harkin and Congressman Miller for their leadership and look forward to seeing it pass into law,” said Greenberg. 


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Curbing junk food marketing to kids – National Consumers League

Lili Gecker, NCL public policy intern

Marketing is no doubt a powerful, but often subtle, tool. We are bombarded with media everyday and navigate through logos and jingles to make decisions as consumers. But what about when marketing is aimed toward children, who cannot fully understand the power of advertising? And what about when these consumer decisions impact our health? One study demonstrated that when preschoolers were asked whether they would rather eat broccoli or a Hershey’s chocolate bar, 78 percent of the children chose the chocolate bar and 22 percent chose broccoli. When an Elmo sticker was placed on the broccoli, 50 percent of the children chose broccoli. This holds incredible weight for food marketers and the children’s entertainment industry.

In addition, food companies have found new and creative ways to market their products to children. Advergames are online games that food makers are increasingly putting on their Web sites as a way to introduce children to their products. It has been estimated that about 1.2 million children visit company Web sites that have advergames every month, and children spend up to an hour each month playing the games.

In great part to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, the epidemic of childhood obesity has been brought to the forefront over the past few years. Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past three decades, and today, nearly one in three children in the United States are overweight or obese. These numbers are higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40 percent of children are overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to several health problems, even later in life, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, as well as social and emotional problems.

The First Lady’s campaign, which aims to reduce childhood obesity by 5 percent by the year 2030, combines various strategies, such as prenatal health care, access to healthy lunches in school and exercise incentives. They also have an initiative to improve food marketing to children and youth. The Federal Trade Commission estimated that food, beverage, and quick-serve restaurant companies spent more than $1.6 billion to promote their products to young people in 2006.

The Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (IWG) comprised of representatives of Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Disease Control, United States Department of Agriculture developed recommendations for uniform standards for foods marketed to children ages 17 and under, as well recommendations for the media. They released voluntary standards in 2009.

Joining the self-regulating industry groups, Disney has created its own set of standards. The company announced earlier this month that over the next three years it will phase out junk food advertising on its TV and radio programming targeted at children. All foods marketed on Disney channel will have to align with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition, Disney launched a new “Mickey Check” symbol, which will be used to mark nutritious foods on menus and packaging. This will take a positive step in encouraging children to associate healthy choices with entertainment, and it will make the decision to choose healthy foods easier on the whole family.

The media giant was praised by many public health leaders including Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, the Partnership for a Healthier America, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Produce for Better Health foundation. First Lady Michelle Obama said in her statement of support, “they’ve realized that what is good for our children can also be good business.”

College kids and credit: making smart choices – National Consumers League

This time of year, many parents are thinking about giving their college-bound children a credit or debit card to help pay for living expenses. Once they get to campus, many students may be shocked at the costs they encounter and be tempted to open their own credit card accounts. For these young consumers and their families, abiding by a few simple rules could help them avoid costly headaches down the road.

Thanks to the 2009 Credit CARD Act, credit card companies can no longer swarm college campuses armed with marketing “freebies” like t-shirts, water bottles, or pizzas to give to new customers. In addition, consumers under the age of 21 can no longer open a credit card account without a co-signer (usually a parent).

In response to these restrictions (which NCL supported), many major credit card companies, such as Chase and Bank of America, then stated they would no longer target college campuses. However, cards are still marketed to college students in other ways, and many students may be carrying a prepaid debit card or a credit card belonging to their parents.

At an exciting and confusing time of their lives, college students may be unaware of the challenges and responsibilities that come with having a credit card. New cardholders must understand that credit cards are important to building up a credit history but the risks of misuse and abuse – which may cost them and their parents further down the road – are very real. Responsible use of a credit card can pay off in the long-term via lower interest rates when financing a home or automobile purchase.

The financial information blog, Charge Smart, recommends consumers take six steps before and after acquiring a credit card.

  1. Compare offers (specifically avoid 0 percent interest introductory offers because once the introductory period is over, you’re likely to be stuck with higher than usual interest rates)
  2. Set a budget for spending, and pay off as much as possible each month
  3. Read the fine print credit card contracts BEFORE signing on the dotted line. Fees and other costs often lurk in that tiny mouseprint.
  4. Pay on time: It’s important for building up your credit historyCredit limit: The best way to build your credit score is to charge no more than 30 percent each month and pay off the balance promptly
  5. Set up an online account, so it’s easier to pay on time

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently launched a powerful tool to help consumers compare cards: a searchable credit card complaints database. While the tool is still in its beta stage and a bit clunky to use, it can be useful for consumers to see what types of complaints a particular credit card issuer is dealing with. Too many unresolved complaints, particularly for a company you’re not familiar with, could be a sign that it’s time to shop elsewhere.

A consumer who has been taken advantage of by their credit card company can file a complaint, and the CFPB will investigate it. Filing a complaint is easy, and can be done online, by telephone, mail, email, fax, and referral from other agencies. The CFPB reviews each complaint and, if the complaint is complete and legitimate, sends the complaint to the credit card company for response. The company usually responds back to the consumer, who can take a further step in disputing the company’s response. Only about 16 percent of those who file a complaint with the CFPB take that action. The most common complaints are billing disputes, so consumers should always read their contract over extremely carefully before signing.

The CFPB also provides information on its Website about a typical credit card contract, as well as a glossary of common credit card-related terms. Credit card users of all ages can benefit from studying this information carefully before and after acquiring a credit card. If something does happen, don’t be afraid to file a complaint with the CFPB if the issuer can’t resolve the problem to your satisfaction.

Enjoy making smart consumer choices in college!

NCL comments to USDA regarding interim school lunch rules – National Consumers League

July 26, 2012

Julie Brewer, Chief
Policy and Program Development Branch
Child Nutrition Division
Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture 

RE: Docket ID FNS-2011-0025


Dear Ms. Brewer:

The National Consumers League (NCL), founded in 1899, is the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy group. Since its inception, NCL has worked tirelessly to protect and promote the rights of workers and consumers. NCL is pleased to have this opportunity to comment on the interim rule “Certification for Compliance with Meal Requirements for the National School Lunch Program Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” (7 CFR Part 210). NCL is pleased that the agency has taken such a strong stand to support the implementation of new and improved standards for school meals and strongly supports the interim rule. 

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) was enacted on December 13, 2010, as an update to the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA). This crucial update means that for the first time in nearly 30 years the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will have the ability to modernize the nutritional standards of meals served in schools. A Congressional report on the law stated that:

“The purpose of this bill is to address those needs in order that fewer low-income children have to go without food, and to ensure that more children from all income levels adopt the kind of healthful eating habits and lifestyles that will enable them to live longer, more productive lives.[1]

The new standards would increase the amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains served at lunch and breakfast. Additionally, they would set maximum calorie counts for the first time; historically school meals have only had calorie minimums. Phased-in sodium limits also will lower the amount of salt allowed in school meals. Given that one-third of American children are overweight or obese, these common-sense standards, which will improve the breakfasts and lunches of millions of children each day, are long overdue, especially considering that 32 million children eat lunch and 12 million eat breakfast at school each day.[2] Section 201 of the HHFKA amends the NSLA to provide an additional six cents of reimbursement for school food authorities (SFA) that comply with the new rules.

As part of the HHFKA, two new paragraphs were added to the NLSA. 4(b)(3)(D) states that “to be eligible to receive an additional reimbursement described in this paragraph, a school food authority shall be certified by the State to be in compliance with the interim or final regulations.” 4(b)(3)(E) says that any SFA not in compliance with the new rules by October 1, 2012 “shall not receive the additional reimbursement for each lunch served.”

NCL supports the agency’s decision to bolster schools in their transition to new meal standards by providing a six cent increase in the funding schools receive for each lunch served. NCL commends the agency for “strik[ing] the appropriate implementation balance to achieve both the goal of expanding participation and of raising nutritional standards of the school meals served to America’s children.[3]

We commend USDA on its dedication to help America’s children eat more healthfully and especially on the following aspects of the interim rule:

  • The establishment of a clear and transparent process for establishing whether or not a school is eligible for the 6 cent increase in reimbursement rates; and
  • The provision of guidance materials, training and technical assistance to school professionals that are both clear and timely.

Furthermore, we recommend that the agency take the following steps to ensure that the implementation of the certification process is fair and balanced.

  • All food service staff, especially those in smaller, rural or low-income schools, should receive adequate training as well as support as they carry out changes;
  • Schools that are likely to fail certification should be identified early on so that intensive interventions can assure their compliance before deadlines; and
  • Certification reports should be easily available to the public through an online portal so that parents, public health professionals and other advocates can access and assess them.

In conclusion, NCL supports the interim rule for performance-based certification. We urge the agency to ensure that this rule is implemented in a timely and even-handed fashion in all states. Ensuring that schools receive an additional six cents per meal in reimbursement will benefit children as it will allow schools to serve healthier meals. We appreciate this opportunity to comment.


Sally Greenberg
Executive Director
National Consumers League


[1] Senate Report 111-178, page 5.


[3] “Certification of Compliance With Meal Requirements for the National School Lunch Program Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.” Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 82. April 27, 2012, 25026.


About the National Consumers League 
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Whatever happened to P.E.? – National Consumers League

By Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director

As a kid I participated in the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. What did that mean? Well, my classmates and I were required to run the 50-yard-dash (I remember running past my gym teacher who stood with a whistle around her neck and a stopwatch in her hand – my time was disappointing), do a certain number of sit-ups (I surpassed my own expectations) and pull-ups (I could only do the girl version that allowed you to lean back with the pull up bar in front of you) and I can’t remember what else but the point was, the President thought our physical fitness was important and as a result, so did we.

Things are different today, according to the new CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) biennial report. There’s no more expectation from the highest office for the nation’s youth to be physically fit.

Nearly half of all high school students take no physical education classes. In California, while state regs say that elementary students must get at least 20 minutes of exercise a day, only 20 percent of schools are complying. At many schools, there is no gymnasium, and no gym teacher, and thus no opportunity for exercise. In New York, K-3 students are supposed to get phys ed class every day, three times a week for grades 4-6, and 90 minutes a week for 7 and 8th graders. But none of the schools that were audited for the report were complying with this regimen.

What has happened to the focus on physical education that came with the imprimatur of the President of the United States? Principals blame budget cuts and the need to prepare students for tests, but also a lack of attention to phys ed from the Department of Education as well as school boards and superintendents.

It seems like a disconnect to me. First lady Michelle Obama has championed her “Let’s Move” campaign, introducing dance and exercise into schools and the kids love it – dance and music is a really fun way to get exercise. The President should revive the Council on Physical Fitness and make it fun, blending it with Michelle’s Let’s Move program and bringing in classes like power dance, yoga, pilates, and zoomba.

Harvard professor John Ratey, author of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” says physical education helps promote better academic outcomes, but that phys ed teachers are fighting to hold onto their jobs and that it is dawning on educators that we’ve “missed the boat.” We’re facing ever-growing obesity among our nation’s youth; this CDC report is a wake-up call and a great opportunity for the President to step up and re-brand – Obama-style – what was once a priority for the American President: physical fitness.

Consumer group to testify in support of Bloomberg’s soda restrictions – National Consumers League

July 24, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323,

New York, NY–Today, Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization, will testify (read remarks here) at a hearing held by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to discuss Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to limit the sale of large sugary beverages in the city.

“NCL strongly supports Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to limit the portion size of sugary drinks,” said Greenberg. “In a nation where two-thirds of American adults and one-third American children are either overweight or obese, it is high time for leaders to enact measures to help combat the growing epidemic.“

In a move that acknowledges that sugary beverages are the single largest source of calories in the American diet, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed limits on the sale of sugary beverages over 16 ounces. “In the past, sugary beverages were consumed in relatively small portions and only as a special treat,” noted Greenberg. Today, portions may be as large as 64 ounces, a serving size that contains the equivalent of more than 50 teaspoons of sugar. 

NCL applauds the Mayor’s “bold effort to place modest limits on the consumption of sugary drinks.” Greenberg’s complete remarks are available here.


About the National Consumers League 

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Women, work… and making it work – National Consumers League

Lili Gecker, NCL public policy intern

Lili Gecker, currently a summer public policy intern at NCL, is a rising senior at Brandeis University where she is studying sociology. Lili’s internship was made possible through the Louis D. Brandeis Social Justice World of Work (WOW) Fellowship.

As a summer intern for NCL, I recently had the opportunity to see Professor Marian Baird from the University of Sydney speak at AFL-CIO on the topic of Gender Equality Bargaining. Australia’s National Employment Standards was able to gain many rights for workers, and their policies include rights and needs of women and families. The Fair Work Act 2009, which included 10 entitlements, sets a minimum wage standard each year, and also offers four weeks paid vacation leave, ten days paid sick leave, and the right to request accommodations if a worker is responsible for caring for a preschool-age child or a child under the age of 18 with disabilities, among others. This law provides a baseline and a safety net for all workers.  In addition, on Mother’s Day in 2009, workers gained the right to paid maternity leave. This includes same-sex couples, and adoptive parents.

The United States certainly has a lot of work to do. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, an organization that advocates on behalf of such issues, workers in 145 countries around the world have paid sick days, but not in the United States. In addition, we are one of only three countries (those being Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Liberia) that do not offer paid leave to new mothers. Although unpaid leave is available through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, (FMLA), it is only available to fewer than 50 percent of workers, and many cannot afford to take it.

Professor Baird explained the role unions can play in reaching gender equality and fair labor standards. Some factors that facilitate equality include:

  • Supportive union leadership
  • Union membership support
  • Negotiator abilities (on both sides)
  • Negotiator gender and age (younger may be open to more diverse ideas)
  • Intra-union cohesion
  • Setting common claims across and within unions
  • Arguing the business case/ building on HR policy
  • Alliances formed with community and other advocacy groups
  • The social and political contexts

Factors that inhibit equality include:

  • Low trust bargaining relationships
  • Delegates attitudes and posturing
  • Centralized union leadership
  • Lack of educating members about family pensions
  • Member minority v. majority interests
  • Organizations’ finances

With all the ways in which the United States is behind, it is no wonder that we are publicly debating if women can “have it all” (and concluding they can’t). A 2011 study by the Families and Work Institute showed that increased flexibility correlates positively with job engagement, job satisfaction, employee retention, and employee health. Other scholars have found that good family policies attract better talent, which results in raised productivity. Perhaps we can look to countries such as Australia as an example. Their use of organized labor and gender equality bargaining played a strong role in progressing their labor practices and transforming gender relations. While they will continue to fight for more progressive changes, such as paid leave for workers who have been victims of domestic violence, we in the United States have more than one job to do—fair and equal labor standards will take work, but it is time to catch up.

Sweetheart deal between banks and universities preying on students – National Consumers League

By Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director

U.S. PIRG released a report recently that reveals an unholy would even say sleazy – relationship between a huge number of well-known colleges and universities and banks that issue debit cards to their students. The colleges may provide student loans onto the cards and then get what amounts to a kickback – some percentage of the fees – when the bank takes fees from the students’ cards for things like overdrafts or for reloading their cards or depositing money on the cards at the ATMs.

PIRG found close to 900 card partnerships between colleges and banks or other financial firms at schools with over 9 million students, or over 2 in 5 (42 percent) of all students nationwide. Thirty-two of the 50 largest public 4-year universities, 26 of the largest 50 community colleges, and 6 of the largest 20 private not-for-profit schools had debit or prepaid card contracts with a bank or a financial firm. US Bank had the most card agreements, at 52 campuses with more than 1.7 million students. Wells Fargo had card agreements at schools with the most students; its contracts were at 43 campuses that have more than 2 million students.

A contract between Ohio State University and Huntington Bank includes $25 million in payments to the school over 15 years. It also includes an additional $100 million in lending and investment to neighborhoods surrounding campus. Fees to students include a variety of per-swipe fees, inactivity fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees, and fees to reload prepaid cards.

The PIRG report is very measured in making a series of recommendations about these practices, like suggesting relationships between banks and colleges should be disclosed so that the public knows that the school chose the debit card program that gives students the best deal rather than the one that gave the college the most money.

So what’s wrong with these programs? Don’t they provide schools with much-needed revenues while giving students the convenience of having their funds on a debit card that they can easily reload?

Plenty, that is what is wrong with these sweetheart deals between colleges and banks. Student debt has topped a trillion dollars. Tuition at colleges has gone up far out of proportion to inflation. (Tuition has seen an average annual increase of 6 percent during the 10 years prior to the economic downturn.)

Therefore students have to borrow heavily to finance their education. So now we have students getting loans put directly on a debit card and being charged predatory fees with their own colleges getting a cut of those fees. In every way, that is just wrong!

So we applaud US PIRG for its revelatory and important study and urge upon lawmakers and regulators the sensible recommendations provided in the US PIRG study. Someone has to take the side of students and their parents and say, “enough is enough!” US PIRG has given us all the evidence we need to do that. We just need the will to act.