How much do you know about student debt?

Published: Sunday, July 28 2013 11:26 p.m. MDT


On July 1, interest rates on Stafford student loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent because Congress could not come to an agreement before the July 1 deadline.

According to a New York Times editorial, “This increase in costs comes at a time when college debt has already reached record levels, damaging the economy and hobbling young graduates. It also draws attention to the fact that the federal government is making quite a lot of money from the loan program. An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the new, higher rate would earn the government about $184 billion over the next decade, after taking into account program costs, including potential defaults.”

But Wednesday, by an 81-18 vote, the Senate approved a bill to tie federal college loan rates to financial markets and offer borrowers lower rates this fall, essentially rolling back the July 1 interest rate hike. The bill is expected to gain approval from both the GOP-controlled House and President Obama.

So how much do you know about the state of student loan debt in the U.S.? Take this quiz and find out.

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The Rock
Federal Way, WA

Government financial aid has eliminated any incentive for colleges and universities to control their costs. Simple fact of life: The more money available to spend on anything, the more it will cost.

When my grandmother got a social security increase, her rent went up by the same amount.
When my father-in-law go a union negotiated raise, prices at grocery stores, fast food restaurants and other stores went up by about the same percentage.

It's supply and demand. Cut financial aid and cut government funding to higher education and costs will go down.

Salt Lake City, UT

The article and quiz support my theory that education is a business, a big business that continues to grow in cost. The young people need education and training for the adult world, but that does not necessarily mean a four-year degree. Community colleges, Area Vocational Centers, the military in some cases, and even apprentice programs, where you can find them, will meet the need.

In my not so humble opinion, there are way too many people in colleges and universities struggling with no clear goals or futures and accumulating debt that will crush their lives for decades when an associate's degree or certificate would get them into the work world to get experience and with time clarify goals and objectives.

The higher education systems and government are in collusion in perpetuating the farce of a bachelor's degree as entry into the so-called "American Dream". Colleges and Universities are accepting marginal students to fill seats, charging more for remedial courses when they should have rejected their applications.

Elimination of athletic programs would reduce tuition costs greatly, but I digress.

Salt Lake City, UT

@The Rock
"Cut financial aid and cut government funding to higher education and costs will go down."

And without financial aid how will anyone suddenly be able to afford it?

Santaquin, UT

"'Cut financial aid and cut government funding to higher education and costs will go down.'

And without financial aid how will anyone suddenly be able to afford it?"

I am guessing you don't have any student loan debt.

Riverton Cougar
Riverton, UT

"And without financial aid how will anyone suddenly be able to afford it?"

Well, if costs go down, it is more affordable. Therefore more students will be able to afford it. There are lots of ways to pay for college, including working during the summer to save up for it, working during the school year, and scholarships.

First, I would recommend students go to a 2-year college first (Snow College is my recommendation). That way they save with the cheaper tuition and expenses while saving up for a 4-year university. In the meantime, it is easy to get scholarships to a 2-year college, saving even more money, and you can get good grades while at the 2-year school so you can get scholarship at the 4-year university.

There are good jobs for college students. Some summer jobs can pay enough for school, such as sales. Also, some school jobs (such as desk clerks or something of the sort) let you do homework in your downtime, saving time.

Finally, there are more than just academic scholarships. Take advantage of your skills!

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