Student debt

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: High school graduation time is here. But new statistics from the Department of Education show it's not all fun and games for graduating seniors. Those looking forward to college also have to look forward to a growing level of debt. Marketplace's Jane Lindholm runs the numbers.


JANE LINDHOLM: The Ed Department sampled a dozen states and discovered that two-thirds of all students receive loans to go to college, mostly from the government. On average, those graduates emerge more than $19,000 in debt.

That average could increase. New government loans will have a fixed interest rate of 6.8 percent, and students paying off old, variable rate loans, could see their rates increase to more than 8 percent.

Jennifer Pae is the Vice President of the US Student Association, a group that lobbies for students' rights in Washington.
JENNIFER PAE: We're seeing grant aid going down, as well as student loans taking up a large component of a student's financial aid package, making it considerably more difficult for students to not only get into college, but to stay in school.

But, Pae says, the report does give students more ammunition to fight back with.

PAE: Students are definitely using this as momentum to be able to make their voices heard at the ballot box this year.

I'm Jane Lindholm, for Marketplace.

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