Just over a month before I entered the graduate writing program at The New School I was struck by a car as I stepped into a crosswalk on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Along with minor abrasions, my left ear was mangled beyond repair, and as I faced a handful of surgeries in the months and years ahead, I worried how these might affect my expensive education. I would plan each surgery around a break from school so that I could miss the least number of classes possible. At the time this was how I connected grad school to my accident, along with the knowledge that I would have to get the hell over it; I had an M.F.A. dream to fulfill.
It seems like the best thing to do would be to try to apply any extra payments towards the principal of the 9% interest rate loan before moving on to the other two lower interest loans. So, is this possible and if so, how do I do this? — J.
Last month, we noted that Oregon's "Pay it Forward, Pay it Back" program was unanimously passed by its Senate and House. The program would essentially give students who attend college in the state free tuition in exchange for 3 percent of their incomes post-graduation for, according to one model, a 20-year period. In The American Prospect, Monica Potts reports that several other states have been inspired by the proposal and are rushing to implement similar programs in their own states, and some educators are worried about the rush to put a good-sounding, yet untested idea into place.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced recently that it would begin to supervise the seven largest "nonbank student loan servicers." I’m pretty sure I’m not the only student loan borrower who yelled "finally!" at her radio when the announcement was made.
The Academe Blog has a servicey post about how to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Act, which forgives federal direct loans for those who work full-time (at least 30 hours a week) in federal, state, or local government agencies or tax-exempt non-profit organizations after making 120 monthly on-time payments on your loans. You can read more generally about it at the Federal Student Aid site.
Three years ago, The New York Times profiled a then 26-year-old NYU graduate named Cortney Munna about her student debt, which at the time was nearly $100,000. I followed up with her to see how she's doing today.
Oregon is exploring an inventive way for students to fund their educations at community colleges and four-year public universities in the state: Free tuition in exchange for paying a small percentage of their adjusted gross incomes into a special fund for, according to one proposal, a 20-year time period.
Generation Progress (formerly Campus Progress) is putting together state-by-state factsheets about the student debt crisis. They've done six states so far, including California, where I went as an undergrad. State and local funding dropped by 25.4 percent in the U.C. system in the last decade, and in-state tuition has now skyrocketed by 114 percent, according to data from the College Board.
Garance Franke-Ruta uses her experience as a first-time homebuyer in D.C. in 2000—a time when the city was underpopulated and was enticing young people to buy houses with a homebuyer tax credit to help shore up its tax base—to put forward the idea that encouraging recent graduates to move to distressed cities like Detroit in exchange for a reduction in their student debt would not only be good for young people burdened by debt, but for distressed communities as well.
KG: I basically got tired of reading about how fucked we are. When I graduated in 2009, it seemed like every other week, there was a trend piece about how college graduates weren’t finding jobs or moving back home. I kept thinking, "This is the worst time to graduate!" But really, there is never a *good* time to graduate. Recession or not, having to find a job and pay back your debt and becoming a grown-up is a scary thing. But being scared is actually a very normal, healthy way to feel.