The high cost of college debt

One of the motivating issues of the Occupy Wall Street Movement is college loan forgiveness, as an increasing number of young people are confronting a mountain of debt once they graduate. That outstanding student loan debt will amount to about $1 trillion this year, surpassing what Americans owe on their credit cards. Two-thirds of all college graduates leave school with a loan provided by the federal government, private sources, or both. And in this time of high unemployment, paying back these loans has become a serious financial challenge for a growing number of young adults. In the last three decades, the cost of a college degree has grown faster than inflation, yet our society is built around the notion that higher education is the ticket to a decent career. To address this issue, the Obama administration rolled out a new student loan-debt relief plan — via executive order — that allows over 1.5 million students to cap their loan payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income beginning in 2012. Who does it help, how does the plan work and is it enough? Guest-host Tracey Matisak talks to RON LIEBER of The New York Times and PAULINE ABERNATHY of The Institute for College Access and Success.

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[audio: 110311_100630.mp3]

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