Student-Loan Borrowers Average $26,500 in Debt: News of the Day
A new report out today from the Project on Student Debt at The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), found that students who borrowed for college and earned bachelor’s degrees in 2011 graduated with an average $26,600 in student loan debt, up from $25,250 in 2010. The New York Times has more:
While a college degree remains the likeliest route to employment and good wages, Lauren Asher, who heads the student-debt project, said that at a time of rising tuition and low employment rates for young people, fear of debt might stop some students from getting the education they needed.
The TICAS report includes several “common-sense policies to help students make more informed choices about where to go to college and how to pay for it, how to borrow wisely and reduce the need to borrow, and how to keep loan payments manageable.” Recommendations from TICAS include making sure students take advantage of policies that Congressional Democrats and President Obama enacted in recent Congresses to make higher education more affordable. For example, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), which was authored by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) in 2010, put a college education within reach for students who rely on grants, student loans and access to community college for their degree. SAFRA indexed the Pell Grant to the rate of inflation, ensuring that the grant will rise with the cost of college for the first time. SAFRA did this at no cost to taxpayers by ending unnecessary subsidies for banks and instead investing those dollars directly in students’ education. A key recommendation from the report is to protect funding for these critical investments. Congressional Democrats also championed income-based repayment options to ensure graduates can manage loan repayments and created new consumer tools to help students and families shop for a good deal. Among other things, the TICAS report recommends promoting greater awareness of these repayment and data tools, to ensure more students take advantage of them.
More work needs to be done to address college costs. But rather than working in a bipartisan manner to keep college within reach for every American, House the House Republican budget, authored by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), slashes vital investments in our nation’s college students- making a higher education more expensive for millions of American students. The Ryan-Republican budget cuts more than 400,000 students from the Pell Grant program and allows interest rates on need-based student loans to double for more than 7.5 million low and middle income students. While we must address our nation’s long-term deficits, the Ryan-Republican budget offers the country, and students seeking access to higher education, a very bleak vision for our nation’s economic future.
For more information on how the Ryan-Republican budget harms our nation’s future and economic recovery, click here.
For more information on steps past Democratic Congresses have taken to put college within reach for every American and help students manage their loans, click here.