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Student Debt

August 26, 2012 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I'm not sure whether I should be aggressively paying off the balance of my student loans or saving that money for a down payment for an apartment. I graduated from law school with $150,000 in federal and private loans. Over the last few years I've paid off most of that, but I still have about $50,000 in federal loans with a rate fixed at 3.75%. I fully fund my 401(k) each year, have an emergency fund of five months' bare-bones living expenses and another $35,000 in fairly conservative, mostly liquid investments.
October 26, 2008
Nice story on bankruptcy. ("Personal debt is public's problem," Consumer Confidential, Oct. 22.) While Mr. Shelbourn is coping with excessive credit card debt and medical expenses, he faces an enormous problem in coping with his student loans. Simply put, too many students, who are obviously quite young and naive when they start college, fail to measure their future economic potential versus the size of their future debt. Higher education is very expensive, and just as expensive, in undergraduate years, for future teachers as it is for future doctors and future corporate lawyers.
October 18, 2012 | by Walter Hamilton
College degree = heavy debt. That's the equation to be drawn from a new survey showing that the average student-loan borrower last year graduated with $26,600 in debt. That's a 5.3% increase from $25,250 in 2010 and the latest dreary statistic showing that student debt levels are continuing to spiral despite growing scrutiny of the personal and societal effects, according to the Institute for College Access & Success in Oakland. The average debt has been rising at a roughly 5% annual clip in recent years and now totals more than $1 trillion, according to some estimates.
October 17, 2012 | By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times
Despite protests about rising tuition at California's public colleges, students in the state graduate with one of the lowest average loads of education debt in the nation, according to a new study. The Cal Grant financial aid program and the relatively low tuition at the California State University system helped rank California as third from the bottom in the country for the amount of debt owed by 2011 graduates from schools here, said the report by the Oakland-based Institute for College Access and Success.
November 3, 2011 | By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times
You don't have to be a math major to understand this statistic: The average student loan debt of last year's college graduates topped $25,000 — the first time it's exceeded that mark. Seniors who graduated in 2010 had an average student loan burden of $25,250, up 5.2% from the $24,000 owed by those in the class of 2009, according to a report by the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access & Success in Oakland. Some experts had expected a bigger increase in debt given the gloomy economy, but increased financial aid at some schools partially offset the hit for low-income students and those at pricier colleges.
April 3, 2011 | By Mary Umberger
Although we might resist the implication that every aspect of our daily lives is mirrored in one demographic database or other, it's probably true. Cheryl Russell is a Beaufort, S.C., demographer who seems to have her finger on all manner of consumer behavior. She keeps track of not only what we buy but also why we buy it. The former editor of American Demographics magazine now is managing director of New Strategist Publications, which publishes demographic reference tools, primarily for libraries.
December 27, 2013 | By Walter Hamilton
Guess how many Americans correctly answered this basic financial question: Is the stock of a single company usually safer than a mutual fund? A) 100% B) 80% C) 60% D) None of the above. The right answer is D. Barely 1 in 2 people knew that a single stock is not safer than a mutual fund, which holds many stocks. The question, included in a survey by a pair of college professors, underscores a fundamental problem facing millions of Americans. At a time when the world of personal finance is increasingly complex - and when people are more responsible than ever for their own financial future - Americans' understanding of basic concepts is sorely lacking.
The letter writer did not mince words. "Have the faculty members who endorsed this decision been on the planet Earth since 9/11?" The object of her scorn: the law professors at Washington University. The reason: their decision to help pay off the student loans of graduates who take jobs serving the public--unless those jobs are in the United States military.
February 22, 2013 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Although the housing market is rebounding in many local markets, one important segment is not: First-time buyers are missing in action and represent a smaller proportion of overall sales activity than their historical norm. Whereas first-timers typically account for roughly 40% of sales, lately they've been involved in about 30% to 35%, depending on the source of the data. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Assn. of Realtors, estimates that there were 2.2 million fewer first-time buyers in the United States between 2008 and 2012 - a deficit of about 450,000 a year.
Jessica has racked up $60,000 in student loans. She's got the power suit suitable for the corner office, but for now her job is to take telephone messages for others. Still, her apartment looks nice--thanks to bargains she found at Ikea--and she can invite friends over for macaroni and cheese, "I've got 60 grand in deferred loans," the twentysomething actress playing Jessica tells the camera in an advertisement airing nationwide for the home furnishings chain. "I'm not about to defer my life."
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