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Posted by Drunkenlilacwine - Sep 4, 2003 - 4:50pm
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Location: Bethany

Posted: Oct 12, 2013 - 9:24pm

Wasting Our Minds
by Paul Krugman
The New York Times
April 29, 2012

In Spain, the unemployment rate among workers under 25 is more than 50 percent. In Ireland almost a third of the young are unemployed. Here in America, youth unemployment is “only” 16.5 percent, which is still terrible — but things could be worse.

And sure enough, many politicians are doing all they can to guarantee that things will, in fact, get worse. We’ve been hearing a lot about the war on women, which is real enough. But there’s also a war on the young, which is just as real even if it’s better disguised. And it’s doing immense harm, not just to the young, but to the nation’s future.

Let’s start with some advice Mitt Romney gave to college students during an appearance last week. After denouncing President Obama’s “divisiveness,” the candidate told his audience, “Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”

The first thing you notice here is, of course, the Romney touch — the distinctive lack of empathy for those who weren’t born into affluent families, who can’t rely on the Bank of Mom and Dad to finance their ambitions. But the rest of the remark is just as bad in its own way.

I mean, “get the education”? And pay for it how? Tuition at public colleges and universities has soared, in part thanks to sharp reductions in state aid. Mr. Romney isn’t proposing anything that would fix that; he is, however, a strong supporter of the Ryan budget plan, which would drastically cut federal student aid, causing roughly a million students to lose their Pell grants...



California universities roll back tuition after tax hike passes
by Mary Slosson
11-8-2012 SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, eager to show quick results from newly passed twin tax hikes he promoted to avoid drastic education cuts, joined state university officials on Wednesday to announce an immediate rollback in tuition rates. Officials said new revenues from temporary tax increases approved by voters on Tuesday allows the 23-campus California State system, the nation's largest four-year state university network, to avert a $250 million mid-year budget cut. A 9 percent tuition hike, raising annual fees by $249 per semester for 2012-2013 academic year, was approved by the university's board of trustees in November of last year in anticipation of those cuts. But with passage of sales and income tax hikes in a ballot measure approved 54 percent to 46 percent, annual tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students in-state will now revert back to $5,472, the same rate as in the previous academic year. "The election last night was a clear and resounding victory for children, schools, and the California dream," Brown told a news conference. "Instead of the state borrowing, hat in hand, from our school districts, we're going to have enough money to fund the schools as our constitution requires." The smaller University of California system's regents had also warned that tuition at its schools, which include UCLA and UC Berkeley, with a total of more than 220,000 students, could have risen by as much as $2,400 per year if the tax measure had failed...

Ignorance Is Strength
by Paul Krugman
The New York Times
March 9, 2012

One way in which Americans have always been exceptional has been in our support for education. First we took the lead in universal primary education; then the “high school movement” made us the first nation to embrace widespread secondary education. And after World War II, public support, including the G.I. Bill and a huge expansion of public universities, helped large numbers of Americans to get college degrees.

But now one of our two major political parties has taken a hard right turn against education, or at least against education that working Americans can afford. Remarkably, this new hostility to education is shared by the social conservative and economic conservative wings of the Republican coalition, now embodied in the persons of Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney...


1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed

by Hope Yen
The Sacramento Bee
April 23, 2012

WASHINGTON — The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor's degrees.

Opportunities for college graduates vary widely...

Student Loan Debt: Wall Street’s Next Bubble?
by David Pritchard
Occupied Chicago Tribune
April 26, 2012

However, many economists agree that the major impact on rising tuition costs is on the demand side: A seemingly unlimited supply of student dollars, provided by an industry of lenders, is available to purchase a product that has never been in higher demand. Young adults seeking skilled employment have no choice but to enter this market; lenders have no incentive to deprive them of the funds to do so; and schools have no incentive to keep their tuition costs lower than what the market will allow.

Yet the demand for education does not tell the whole story. Total outstanding student debt in the economy has already surpassed credit card debt, and is approaching the trillion dollar threshold. But that is nothing compared the value of SLABS. That is, ‘Student Loan Asset Backed Securities,’ a repackaging of many loans into an asset backed security (ABS) that raises cash for the holders of loans so they can make more loans. A similar type of securitization in the mortgage market is widely blamed for the risk-shielding that led to the 2007 meltdown. The total value of the SLABS market at the end of 2011 was estimated to be $2.67 trillion. To compare, the total value of the mortgage securities market at its height in 2007 was $7.98 trillion, adjusted for inflation...

How students are painting Montreal red

by Zoltán Glück and Manissa McCleave Maharawal
Waging Nonviolence
May 26, 2012

On Wednesday night in Montreal, we shared a long dinner with student organizers, discussing everything from police tactics in Montreal and New York to the necessity of an anti-racist and anti-colonial framework for our movements. Our hosts noticed that, around the time that the nightly 8:30 p.m. march was supposed to begin, we were getting nervous about missing it. They laughed and said, “Don’t worry, it will go on until 2 a.m.” Or at least they normally do.

By midnight, after peacefully and joyfully marching through the city for hours, the police charged our march of about 4,000 people with batons and pepper spray. In a moment the scene became one of chaos and confusion. Many in the crowd turned around and ran, but there were police behind us, too, coming straight at us with their batons out as people were pepper sprayed and thrown to the ground. Eventually, we found our way out of the melée and asked our Canadian comrade what had happened to provoke the police. “Nothing,” she answered. “They just got tired of us.”

We had been lucky. Moments after the police charged us, they surrounded a group of 506 protesters and arrested everyone in what became the largest single mass arrest since the indefinite student strike began here in Quebec 103 days ago.

The student movement in Quebec is growing. On Tuesday, an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 students, workers and supporters took to the streets to protest tuition hikes and the passing of the new, draconian anti-protest law — Law 78 — as well as to celebrate the 100th day of the student strike. But state repression is also growing. Last night’s mass arrest and other forms of police violence bear witness to the new climate of fear and repression that the Charest government is trying to create in order to break the student movement...

The media in the United States have hardly noticed the Quebec student strike, despite it being the longest and largest in the history of North America...

Northern Light
by Chris Hedges
June 3, 2012

The carre rouge, or red square, has become the Canadian symbol of revolt. It comes from the French phrase carrement dans le rouge, or “squarely in the red,” referring to those crushed by debt.

The streets of Montreal are clogged nightly with as many as 100,000 protesters banging pots and pans and demanding that the old systems of power be replaced. The mass student strike in Quebec, the longest and largest student protest in Canadian history, began over the announcement of tuition hikes and has metamorphosed into what must swiftly build in the United States—a broad popular uprising. The debt obligation of Canadian university students, even with Quebec’s proposed 82 percent tuition hike over several years, is dwarfed by the huge university fees and the $1 trillion of debt faced by U.S. college students. The Canadian students have gathered widespread support because they linked their tuition protests to Quebec’s call for higher fees for health care, the firing of public sector employees, the closure of factories, the corporate exploitation of natural resources, new restrictions on union organizing, and an announced increase in the retirement age. Crowds in Montreal, now counting 110 days of protests, chant “On ne lâche pas”—“We’re not backing down.”

The Quebec government, which like the United States’ security and surveillance state is deaf to the pleas for justice and fearful of widespread unrest, has reacted by trying to stamp out the rebellion. It has arrested hundreds of protesters. The government passed Law 78, which makes demonstrations inside or near a college or university campus illegal and outlaws spontaneous demonstrations in the province. It forces those who protest to seek permission from the police and imposes fines of up to $125,000 for organizations that defy the new regulations. This, as with the international Occupy movement, has become a test of wills between a disaffected citizenry and the corporate state. The fight in Quebec is our fight. Their enemy is our enemy. And their victory is our victory...

Tuition hikes scrapped at first Parti Quebecois cabinet meeting
The Canadian Press 
Published Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012 4:02PM EDT 
Last Updated Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012 5:17PM EDT
QUEBEC — It's over — the tuition increase that triggered such social strife in Quebec has been cancelled.
The Parti Quebecois government repealed the fee hike, by decree, in its first cabinet meeting Thursday on its first full day in office.


How Quebec Was Won
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2012 by Shay O'Reilly

This is the story of the Maple Spring, and the battle for one of the last bastions of affordable higher education in North America.

I posted Feb 22, 2011 - 11:27am in Things You Thought Today—

This is very complicated...  Bill Clinton passed a bill in the early 1990's that made it impossible for borrowers to eliminate their student loans through bankruptcy— in other words, people who could not pay for the loan became serfs for life...  this is what is happening in the USA right now—  the pie has been shrinking for a long time now, and the rich are getting their bigger slice...  average people are becoming peons and serfs through debt for life with interest rates that are the cream for the rich...

a concrete example is the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which passed in 2005, when the Republicans, who represent the rich, held the White House, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court...  at the same time in power, they passed three tax cuts in which the lion's share went to the rich...

just look back at the tax rate for the rich under President Eisenhower...  this is all way beyond party lines—  this is the rich controlling the government through campaign contributions and lobbyists...  right now, we are in the thick of an elimination of the middle class in the USA... be careful not to become a debt peon paying interest to the rich for the rest of your life...

take a look at this, too—

Obama Student Loan Reform Bill Government Loans

Learn how the Obama Student Loan Reform Bill coincides with a college loan repayment program and how it affects student loans repayments for college grads...

The United States government is borrowing the money at an interest rate of 2.8 percent. The money will then be lent to students at a rate of 6.8 percent. The 4 percent profit that the government makes will be applied toward further funding of students loans as well as funding portions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

I am just trying to give you power though knowledge—  I am not telling you what to do...  just go into everything to do with money these days with your eyes wide open...  is the student loan debt worse than finding a job right now at a lower pay scale than you would have when you graduate?  It is different for each of us individually, but I do think tuition is too high now, just like real estate was, and I think student loans are being packaged into complex derivatives, just like NINJA loans were, and I think the bubble will collapse like real estate did...

but I am no prophet, so I might be wrong...  (I am tempted to make a pun on profit...)

all I can say for certain is just enjoy yourself the best you can whatever you decide to do...  good luck with everything, and don't hesitate to talk to these great folks here in Radio Paradise...  lots of good perspectives...

forgive me for babbling here...

I posted this forum link to review it—  I found this forum while I was researching on 11-14-2012 my old entries, and I need to go over this forum to see it there is anything I can use—

a forum called Student Loan Uprising
From the NYT in May, 2011— Employment rates for new college graduates have tanked. Are there factors other than the economy to blame? How can we do a better job of steeling young people for the cruel world? Read the discussion...

In a Wage Rut for Years

Till von Wachter is associate professor of economics at Columbia University.

Student Loan and College Funding Glossary

Georgia Facing a Hard Choice on Free Tuition
The New York Times
January 6, 2011

ATHENS, Ga. — Students here at the University of Georgia have a name for some of the fancy cars parked in the lots around campus. They call them Hopemobiles. But there may soon be fewer of them.

The cars are gifts from parents who find themselves with extra cash because their children decided to take advantage of a cherished state perk — the Hope scholarship. The largest merit-based college scholarship program in the United States it offers any Georgia high school student with a B-average four years of free college tuition.

But the Hope scholarship program is about to be cut by a new governor and Legislature facing staggering financial troubles.

The lingering effects of the recession and the end of federal stimulus funds have sunk many states into a fiscal quagmire. The seriousness of the problem, and a growing concern over how much worse it might become, have many states struggling to find ways to trim services or raise revenues.

In Georgia, that means taking a slice out of the Hope scholarship.

When it was begun in 1993, the program was covered easily by Georgia’s state lottery. Politicians enjoyed how happy it made middle-class constituents. Educators praised the way it improved SAT scores and lifted Georgia from the backwaters of higher education.

It was considered so innovative that 15 states copied it. And while the lottery-based scholarship programs in states like Tennessee are dipping into reserves to cover the costs, none have fiscal woes as big as Georgia’s.

Part of it is the program’s popularity. A majority of freshmen in Georgia have grades good enough to qualify for Hope, which covers tuition, some books and fees — but not housing costs — at any Georgia university or technical school.

And even though as many as two-thirds of Hope students let their college grades slip so much that they no longer qualify — “I’ve lost Hope,” they joke when it happens — Georgia still gives away more financial aid per student than any other state. Since the program started, 1.3 million Georgia students have received a total of $5.6 billion in educational support. The program offers as much as $6,000 a year for some students.

But the program has become so popular it cannot sustain itself. Lottery sales, which by law can pay for only the Hope scholarship and a free prekindergarten program, will be short $243 million this fiscal year and as much as $317 million the next, according to state budget estimates.

Last year, lawmakers had to pull millions of dollars from the state’s reserve fund just to cover the cost. But this year, there is nowhere to turn.

Like the other states that are facing the worst fiscal crisis in recent memory, Georgia heads into its legislative session next week staring at a budget deficit of as much as $2 billion. And that is after billions of dollars in cuts over the past two years that have reduced the state’s spending power to $17.9 billion for fiscal year 2011.

But trim the program that for years has paid to educate the children of the most reliable voters in the state?...


Last Plea on School Loans: Proving a Hopeless Future
by Ron Lieber
(Andrew Martin contributed reporting.)
The New York Times
August 31, 2012

PLAIN CITY, Ohio — It isn’t easy to stand up in an open courtroom and bear witness to the abject wretchedness of your financial situation, but by the time Doug Wallace Jr. was 31 years old, he had little to lose by trying.

Diabetes had rendered him legally blind and unemployed just a few years after graduating from Eastern Kentucky University. He filed for bankruptcy protection and quickly got rid of thousands of dollars of medical and other debt.

But his $89,000 in student loans were another story. Federal bankruptcy law requires those who wish to erase that debt to prove that repaying it will cause an “undue hardship.” And one component of that test is often convincing a federal judge that there is a “certainty of hopelessness” to their financial lives for much of the repayment period.

“It’s like you’re not worth much in society,” Mr. Wallace said.

Nevertheless, Mr. Wallace made his case. And on Wednesday, nearly six years after he first filed for bankruptcy, he may finally get a signal as to whether his situation is sufficiently bleak to merit the cancellation of his loans.

The gantlet he has run so far is so forbidding that a large majority of bankrupt people do not attempt it. Yet for a small number of debtors like Mr. Wallace who persist, some academic research shows there may be a reasonable shot at shedding at least part of their debt. So they try.

Before the mid-1970s, debtors were able to get rid of student loans in bankruptcy court just as they could credit card debt or auto loans. But after scattered reports of new doctors and lawyers filing for bankruptcy and wiping away their student debt, resentful members of Congress changed the law in 1976.

In an effort to protect the taxpayer money that is on the line every time a student or parent signs for a new federal loan, Congress toughened the law again in 1990 and again in 1998. In 2005, for-profit companies that lend money to students persuaded Congress to extend the same rules to their private loans.

But with each change, lawmakers never defined what debtors had to do to prove that their financial hardship was “undue.” Instead, federal bankruptcy judges have spent years struggling to do it themselves.

Most have settled on something called the Brunner test, named after a case that laid out a three-pronged standard for judges to use when determining whether they should discharge someone’s student loan debt. It calls on judges to examine whether debtors have made a good-faith effort to repay their debt by trying to find a job, earning as much as they can and minimizing expenses. Then comes an examination of a debtor’s budget, with an allowance for a “minimal” standard of living that generally does not allow for much beyond basics like food, shelter and health insurance, and some inexpensive recreation.

The third prong, which looks at a debtor’s future prospects during the loan repayment period, has proved to be especially squirm-inducing for bankruptcy judges because it puts them in the prediction business. This has only been complicated by the fact that many federal judicial circuits have established the “certainty of hopelessness” test that Mr. Wallace must pass in Ohio.

Lawyers sometimes joke about the impossibility of getting over this high bar, even as they stand in front of judges. “What I say to the judge is that as long as we’ve got a lottery, there is no certainty of hopelessness,” said William Brewer Jr., a bankruptcy attorney in Raleigh, N.C. “They smile, and then they rule against you.”

Debtors themselves struggle with testifying in their undue hardship cases. Carol Kenner, who spent 18 years working as a federal bankruptcy judge in Massachusetts before becoming a lawyer for the National Consumer Law Center, said that one particular case stuck in her mind.

The debtor had a history of hospitalization for mental illness but testified that she did not suffer from depression at all. “She was so mortified about the desperation of her situation that she was committing perjury on the stand,” Ms. Kenner said. “It just blew me away. That’s the craziness that this system brings us to.”

Debtors also stretch the truth in other directions. In 2008, a federal bankruptcy judge in the Northern District of Georgia expressed barely disguised disgust in deciding a case involving a 32-year-old, Mercedes-driving federal public defender with degrees from Yale and Georgetown. With nearly $114,000 in total household income, the woman’s financial situation was far from hopeless, despite her $172,000 in student loan debt.

No one keeps track of how many people bring undue hardship cases each year, but it appears to be under 1,000, far less than the number of people failing to make their student loan payments. In its most recent snapshot of student loan defaults, the Department of Education reported that among the more than 3.6 million borrowers who entered repayment from Oct. 1, 2008, to Sept. 30, 2009, more than 320,000 had fallen behind in their payments by 360 days or more by the end of September 2010. About 10.3 million students and their parents borrowed money under the federal student loan program during the 2010-11 school year.

One reason so few people try to discharge their debt may be that such cases require an entirely separate legal process from the normal bankruptcy proceeding. In addition, those who may qualify generally lack the money to hire a lawyer or the pluck to file a suit without one.

Nor is the process quick, since the lender or the federal government often appeals when it loses. And even if clients can pay for legal assistance, some lawyers want nothing to do with undue hardship cases. That’s the approach Steven Stanton, a bankruptcy lawyer in Granite City, Ill., settled on after trying to help David Whitener, a visually impaired man who was receiving Social Security disability checks. The judge was not ready to declare him hopeless and gave him a two-year “window of opportunity” to recover from his financial situation, saying he believed that Mr. Whitener had the potential to obtain “meaningful” employment.

Mr. Stanton did not see it that way. “It’s the last one I’ve ever done, because I was just so horrified,” he said. “I didn’t even have the client pay me. In all of the cases in 30 years of bankruptcy work, I came away with about the worst taste in my mouth that I’ve ever had.”

Those who do go to court face the daunting task of arguing against opponents who specialize in beating back the bankrupt.

They will often square off against Educational Credit Management Corporation, a so-called guaranty agency sanctioned by the government to handle a variety of loan-related legal tasks, from certifying students who are eligible for loans to fighting them when they try to discharge the loans in bankruptcy court.

On its Web site, the agency paints a picture of how much of a long shot an undue hardship claim is, noting that people “rarely” succeed in discharging student loan debt.

Some academic researchers have come to a different conclusion, however. Rafael Pardo, a professor at the Emory University School of Law, and Michelle Lacey, a math professor at Tulane University, examined 115 legal filings from the western half of Washington State. They found that 57 percent of bankrupt debtors who initiated an undue hardship adversary proceeding were able to get some or all of their loans discharged.

Jason Iuliano, a Harvard Law School graduate who is now in a Ph.D. program in politics at Princeton, examined 207 proceedings that unfolded across the country. He found that 39 percent received full or partial discharges.

His assessment of E.C.M.C.’s view of the rarity of success? “I think that’s wrong,” he said. While his sample size was small and he agrees that it’s not easy to prove undue hardship and personal hopelessness, his assessment of bankruptcy data suggests that as many as 69,000 more people each year ought to try to make a case. And they don’t necessarily need to pay lawyers to argue for them, as he found no statistical difference between the outcomes of people who hired lawyers and those who represented themselves.

Dan Fisher, E.C.M.C.’s general counsel, said it had no opinion on whether more borrowers should try to make undue hardship claims. As for the “rarely” language on its Web site, he said the company stood by its assertion that it was uncommon for an undue hardship lawsuit to end in a judgment discharging the loans in its portfolio.

Sometimes, getting any judgment is a challenge, as judges may delay a decision if the case seems too close to call or there is a possibility that the facts may change reasonably soon.

Radoje Vujovic, a North Carolina consumer bankruptcy lawyer, for instance, had more than $280,000 in student loan debt and just $23,000 in annual income.

When Judge A. Thomas Small, a federal bankruptcy judge in the eastern district of North Carolina, examined the case in 2008, he decided to wait two years before rendering final judgment, given that Mr. Vujovic thought his law practice might grow. “Must the cost of hope be permanent denial of discharge of debt?” Judge Small asked in his written opinion. “The answer to that question cannot be an unequivocal ‘yes.’ Hope is not enough to end the inquiry and, ironically, permanently tip the scales against a struggling debtor.”

The Department of Education, unhappy with the two-year delay, appealed before the period was up and persuaded a higher court to overturn the ruling. “I would stand by my decision,” Judge Small, who is now retired, said in an interview. “If you’re forced to make that decision, all you have is speculation, and speculation is really not good enough to overcome the burden of proof.”

Getting judges out of the speculation business, however, would require a new law or an entirely new standard, possibly from the United States Supreme Court. Neither appears likely anytime soon.

In the meantime, Doug Wallace, the blind man in Ohio, is nearing the end of his long wait for a ruling.

In December 2010, C. Kathryn Preston, a federal bankruptcy judge in the southern district of Ohio, tried to assess Mr. Wallace’s hopelessness by pointing to expert testimony that blindness does not necessarily lead to an inability to ever work again. But she also noted that because he lived in a rural area, he faced significant transportation obstacles. So she set a new court date for Sept. 5, to give him “additional time to adjust to his situation.”

The question for Mr. Wallace then became what sort of adjustments he was supposed to make aside from a court-ordered $20 monthly loan payment. His routine has not changed much. Aside from hernia surgery a few months ago, his days consist of sitting close to the television (he can just make it out through one eye that still has a bit of vision) and regular trips to the gym with his father. His college diploma hangs on the living room wall, and at night he sleeps underneath it on the couch of the rental house he shares with his father and sister.

Mr. Wallace’s sister, a community college student, is sometimes around during the day while his father works at a Honda factory. There are few visitors. “I’ve got friends around here, I’m sure, but they’ve got lives for themselves,” he said. “So I don’t really bother them.”

The judge did not explicitly order him to move closer to a training center, and his lawyer, Matt Thompson, said that doing so would set him up for certain failure. “I don’t think there is anyplace he could go in central Ohio and live on $840 a month,” he said.

Logistics aside, Mr. Wallace said that it was hard to imagine his overall situation ever improving and wondered who would hire a blind man in this economic environment.

“Do I think I’m hopeless?” he said. “Well, yeah, I mean, by looking at it you would think I am hopeless. Like it won’t get better for me.”

Debt Collectors Cashing In on Student Loans
by Andrew Martin
The New York Times
September 8, 2012

In all, nearly one in every six borrowers with a loan balance is in default. The amount of defaulted loans — $76 billion — is greater than the yearly tuition bill for all students at public two- and four-year colleges and universities, according to a survey of state education officials.

In an attempt to recover money on the defaulted loans, the Education Department paid more than $1.4 billion last fiscal year to collection agencies and other groups to hunt down defaulters.

This article has excellent data and a graphic picture I should use—

Student Loan Debt Is a Beast. Here Are Elizabeth Warren's, President Obama's, and the GOP's Plans to Fix It.
by Erika Eichelberger, Maggie Severns, and Brett Brownell
June 3, 2013



This is too weird... this is from Matt Taibbi in August 2013—

He asked that his name be withheld because he doesn't want to incur the wrath of the government by disclosing the awful punch line to his story: After he qualified for federal disability payments in 2009, the Department of Education quickly began garnishing $170 a month from his disability check.


From July 2, 2013—

The Congress of the United States has determined by inaction to let various people grift over America's college students, and the senior senator from Massachusetts would like to know why in the fk this kind of thing is allowed to happen.

How Colleges Are Selling Out the Poor to Court the Rich

A new report finds hundreds of schools are charging low-income students obscene prices, even while lavishing tuition discounts on their wealthier classmates.

Neat fact: If the federal government were to take all of the money it pours into various forms of financial aid each year, it could go ahead and make tuition free, or close to it, for every student at every public college in the country.

College Tuition's 1,120 Percent Increase
by Ilan Kolet on August 23, 2012 for Bloomberg News

9 Unbelievable Student Loan Horror Stories
by Mandi Woodruff
Business Insider
November 26, 2012

With the cost of college continuing to rise and the economy still stagnating, the student debt burden has swollen to a record $1 trillion.

Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb.com and FinAid.org, believes that one of the main culprits behind the student debt crisis is the private student loan sector.

"Students are following their dreams and don't pay attention to their debt," Kantrowitz says. "They sign whatever piece of paper is put in front of them, figuring they'll pay it back when they graduate."

Unlike federal loans, private loans usually come with variable interest rates that seem low at first glance but can skyrocket by 5 points over the loan's lifetime. They also offer far fewer options for cash-strapped graduates struggling with payments, such as deferment, lengthy forbearance periods and income-based relief.

And since it's next to impossible to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy, millions of students are left drowning in private debt they have no hopes of ever paying off...