This Week’s Report: “Student Debt”

College students have borrowed so much for their education that the cumulative bill eclipses the nation’s entire credit-card debt, staff writer Marcia Clemmitt notes in this week’s report, “Student Debt.”

Critics say the loan system is flawed, in part because repayment requirements are far less forgiving than those for consumer debt. Unlike car-loan borrowers, for instance, students can’t escape their college debt through bankruptcy proceedings. But others say the tough rules are justified.

Congress has taken some steps to make the loan system fairer for struggling families, including giving them easier payment options. Lawmakers also have shifted more money into federal Pell Grants for low-income students, among other steps. But advocates want more.

This report is must reading for classes on economics, consumer finance, income inequality and the history of higher education – and for any student attending college or preparing to apply.

--Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor