Paying Student Loans

We’ll look at the new battle over student loans and what Americans pay.

In this Oct. 6, 2011 photo, Gan Golan, of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degrees," holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt, during Occupy DC activities in Washington. (AP)

In this Oct. 6, 2011 photo, Gan Golan, of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degrees," holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt, during Occupy DC activities in Washington. (AP)

Student loans are steamrolling a lot of Americans’ personal finances these days.  College costs a bundle.  Debt shows up way before the diploma.  The burden can crimp lives and last a lifetime.  This summer, the interest rate on a lot of federal loans is due to jump – double – from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Now that’s a political football.  But the whole thing is no game.  More student loan debt than credit card debt in this country now.  A trillion dollars.  For millions it’s a ball and chain.  Our new indebted servitude.

This hour, On Point:  the new battle over student debt.

-Tom Ashbrook



Claudio Sanchez, education correspondent for National Public Radio.

Heather Jarvis, a student loan consultant who runs the website

Sarah Stemen, investigative reporter with the Lantern, the Ohio State University student newspaper. She is a senior at Ohio State. You can find one of her articles on student debt here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Time “Every few weeks now a petition pops up in my Facebook newsfeed urging the government to forgive all student debt. The comment from the person posting the petition usually goes something like this, “Guessing this will never happen, but can’t hurt to sign on!””

Wall Street Journal “Total U.S. student-loan debt outstanding topped $1 trillion last year, according to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and it continues to rise as current students borrow more and past students fall behind on payments.”

Chicago Tribune “A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last month found that total student debt — a staggering $870 billion — was more than Americans owed on their credit cards. A more recent report, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, put that figure higher: Federal and private student loan debt have shot past the trillion dollar mark.”

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