Category Archives: Student Debt

What students owe and why it matters.


College Takes Steps to Make Sure Its Students Graduate Debt-Free

The College of the Ozarks, a Christian liberal-arts institution in southwestern Missouri whose students pay no tuition, has stopped certifying private student loans in an effort to ensure that its students graduate debt-free, the Springfield News-Leader reported. The college, which describes itself as offering the “Hard Work U” experience, has not accepted state or federal student loans since the 1990s. It does accept any grant aid that students qualify for. Students work on the campus to pay pa…


U.S. Is Said to Have Improved Complaint System for Student-Loan Debt Collection

The U.S. Department of Education has made “significant progress” in improving systems for borrowers who want to lodge complaints against debt collectors working on the agency’s behalf, though other concerns about the complaint process linger, according to a report released on Thursday by the National Consumer Law Center.

The report is an update of the center’s earlier review of student-loan debt collectors, which faulted them for not maintaining accessible and transparent complaint systems. The …


House GOP Asks Obama for Long-Term Fix on Student-Loan Interest Rates

Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce on Monday sent a letter to President Obama asking him to outline a long-term fix on student-loan interest rates that goes beyond the temporary one-year freeze enacted by Congress last summer. That extension, passed in June after months of disagreement, kept the interest rate on federally subsidized loans to undergraduates at 3.4 percent until July of this year. Even though Republicans and Democrats …


Tuition Increases, Then and Now

In 1978, Tufts University’s president, Jean Mayer, apologized for the “difficult burden” that a tuition increase of $350 would place on students and their families. In a letter sent to students’ parents almost exactly 35 years ago, Mr. Mayer explained that expenses were continuing to rise, and that “every possible avenue of restraining costs” had already been explored.

Any parent with a child in college now will probably find the letter, recently obtained by The Chronicle, strikingly familiar, a…


Analysis Adds to Data Showing the Economic Benefits of a College Degree

A new report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers offers further evidence of the value of a college degree in terms of future earnings potential. The report, “The Economic Benefit of Postsecondary Degrees: A State and National Level Analysis,” concludes that, despite substantial variations across states and disciplines, “postsecondary-degree attainment clearly results in higher earnings for the vast majority of individuals in all 50 states.” It also found that “almost without excep…


Few Families Benefit From 529 College-Savings Plans, Report Says

Less than 3 percent of American families saved money for college in a 529 plan or a Coverdell Education Savings Account in 2010, and those that did tended to be much wealthier than families without those accounts, according to a report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The report draws on data from the 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances, the 2007-8 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, and federal tax information from 2007 to 2010. The report estimates that th…


Benefits of Attending College Outpace Rising Costs, Report Says

Skeptics may be increasingly likely to question the value of a college degree, but the benefits of attending college are growing at a rate that outpaces spiraling tuition costs, says a report released on Friday by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project. The report examines tuition increases based on calculations from the National Center for Education Statistics and earnings data from the U.S. Census Bureau. “Even if we assume that all students actually pay tuition at the published rate…


Private-College Tuition Rises 3.9% as Student Aid Increases 6.2%

Published tuition and fees at private, nonprofit colleges rose 3.9 percent for the 2012-13 academic year, the lowest increase in four decades, according to the results of a tuition survey released on Thursday by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. In recent years, private colleges’ tuition increases have hovered in the mid-4-percent range, the association found, and this year’s increase is the lowest since the 1972-73 academic year. Meanwhile, student aid at the …


Many Colleges’ Net-Price Calculators Are Still Hard to Use, Report Says

Nearly all colleges that receive federal student aid have been required to publish net-price calculators on their Web sites since last October, but a year after that rule took effect, many of those online tools are still difficult to use, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Institute for College Access & Success.

The report, “Adding It All Up 2012: Are College Net Price Calculators Easy to Find, Use, and Compare?,” examined 50 randomly selected colleges’ calculators and found th…


13.4% of Students Defaulted on Loans Within 3 Years of Repayment, U.S. Says

More than one out of eight student-loan borrowers who entered repayment from October 1, 2008, to September 30, 2009, defaulted within three years, the U.S. Education Department announced on Friday as part of its first release of official data on cohort default rates for federal student loans measured over three years.

The new figure on overall default rates, 13.4 percent, was released as the department switches from measuring the rates over three years instead of two. For-profit institutions had…