Is student debt really a problem?

Most college students and recent graduates are not saddled with oppressive educational loans, according to a report issued by the College Board today, reports U.S. News & World Report. But the report also documented a surprising and troubling increase in the debt loads shouldered by students attending the lowest-cost schools of all–local, public community colleges.
One third of all new bachelor’s degree recipients in June of 2008 started their working lives without owing a penny in federal or private educational debt. Only 10 percent of last year’s graduates owed more than $40,000, according to the lead author of the report, College Board researcher Patricia Steele. (She did not count credit card debt or other noneducational liabilities such as car loans.)
The median borrower graduated last year owing almost $19,999, a $1,026 increase from the typical debt load of 2004 graduates. "Most people would say that is a reasonable amount of debt to take on for a baccalaureate degree," especially if students stick with federal loans, which now allow borrowers to adjust their payments to their income, Steele says. The College Board, an organization made up of colleges, published the report to "take down a notch the sensationalist stories about students drowning in debt," Steele says…

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