Student Debt and the Class of 2014

Seven in 10 seniors (69%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,950 per borrower. Over the last decade—from 2004 to 2014—the share of graduates with debt rose modestly (from 65% to 69%) while average debt at graduation rose at more than twice the rate of inflation. Debt at graduation varies greatly by state and by college, and this report includes average debt levels for each state, lists of notably high- and low-debt colleges, and links to data for more than 1,000 colleges nationwide. It also includes policy recommendations for reducing the burden of student debt. 

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Take Action to Help Defrauded Students Get Debt Relief

Federal law provides for loan discharges when students are defrauded by schools like Corinthian Colleges that seek to profit from federal student loans, grants, and veterans benefits at student and taxpayer expense. However, until recently, this right has not been publicized and few borrowers have gotten the relief to which they are entitled. The Education Department has proposed new rules to clarify and strengthen some protections for defrauded federal student loan borrowers, and these rules will help curb bad behavior by predatory colleges. However, the rules would also roll back eligibility for relief in some cases and make it likely that many defrauded borrowers will get partial or no relief. 

The Department deserves praise for proposing regulations to better protect students and taxpayers from fraud and other misconduct by unscrupulous colleges, but the new rules need to make it easier for borrowers to get full relief, not harder.

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