Category Archives: Student Debt

What students owe and why it matters.


Senate Democrats Call for Investigation of Student-Debt-Relief Companies

A group of 23 Senate Democrats on Thursday called on federal officials to investigate private “debt relief” companies, after a recent study found that some of those groups charged student-loan borrowers fees for free federal services.

Sen. Barbara Boxer of California and Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa led their colleagues in writing a letter to the heads of the U.S. Department of Education, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission. The letter states that the senators w…


Wilson College Details Unusual Loan-Buyback Program

Wilson College has released details of an unusual debt-buyback offer that is one of the keys to a plan its trustees adopted in January in an effort to attract more students and keep the tiny Pennsylvania liberal-arts institution in business. Under the offer, the college will pay back up to $10,000 of a student’s federal Stafford student-loan indebtedness if the student earns a degree at Wilson within four years, participates in new financial-literacy programs the college will offer, and takes pa…


Veterans Affairs Dept. Needs to Improve Management of GI Benefits, Report Says

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should do more to improve the management of its Post-9/11 GI Bill Program, which provides benefits to veterans who pursue a higher education, by cutting down on payment delays, working with colleges to give veterans more information about their financial-aid options, and taking advantage of outcomes data.

Those conclusions are among the recommendations in a report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which in 2011 also issued…


Obama Pledges Veto for House GOP Bill on Student-Loan Interest Rates

President Obama promised on Wednesday to veto legislation, currently pending in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, that would prevent interest rates from doubling on some federal student loans by switching to a market-based formula for setting the rates.

The bill, HR 1911, was approved last week, on a largely party-line vote, by the House education committee. Sponsors of the bill, including the panel’s chairman, Rep. John P. Kline Jr. of Minnesota, described the measure as a rar…


The Terror of Student Debt, in B-Movie Form

Ever get that tingly feeling that you’re being followed? Not by a turnip-wielding serial bludgeoner or an animated rocking horse—because those are just this reporter’s own personal nightmares—but by the specter of your student-loan payments? Then The Red, a new short film released online last week, is for you.

Borderline Films, the partnership behind the award-winning thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, directed The Red. All the classic tropes are in place: There’s a shivering, defenseless young …


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…