President Obama to Students: Be Smart, Not Cynical

President Barack Obama joined David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, for a live chat about student debt Tuesday. One-third of Americans who applied for an educational loan this year also have a Tumblr account, said Karp, who fielded questions about educational costs submitted by Tumblr users. Here’s what POTUS had to say to today’s students.

My student debt was manageable, unlike yours.

Obama said that when he graduated with an undergraduate degree he was able to pay off his student loan debt in a year with a job that wasn’t particularly high paying. But today student loan balances average about $30,000.

Interview With a Person Who Paid Off $48,000 in Student Loans in Four Years

Marnie Gallowy! The Internets told me that last week—eight years after you graduated from our ol' alma mater—that you paid off the last of your $48,000 in student loan debt. IS THAT TRUE? Are you a wizard?

Making Extra Student Loan Payments So You Pay Down That Principal

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.

‘Auxiliary Enterprises’ and the Rising Cost of College

At the Washington Post, Dylan Matthews has been writing a series called "The Tuition is Too Damn High" (his previous columns are conveniently listed in a box) and yesterday, he looked at how updating facilities to lure students with deep pockets may be contributing to the rising cost of college. Of course, this kind of argument has been made time and again, but at least Matthews considers some data this time around.

A Father-Daughter Duo Answers Your Questions: How Generous Can a Medical Student in Debt Be?

My question is this: how do I approach donating money to good causes (friends' marathons, NPR fund drives, projects for teacher friends, etc.) when it feels like my money is not my own? Part of me feels like it's unwise to donate even small amounts of money with such hefty interest rates, but it's certainly not as if I don't spend that money on every other type of purchase (everything from books and gas to happy hour and birthday dinners).

Perhaps My Nightmare Experiences With My Student Loan Servicer Will Finally End

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.

Public Service Workers—Get Your Federal Student Loans Forgiven

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.

‘Pay It Forward’ Gets Interest From Other States

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.

An Accident Paid Off My MFA Debt

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.

The Student Debt Crisis, State-By-State

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.

Another Take on “Pay It Forward, Pay It Back”

At Jacobin, two members of Strike Debt, Ann Larson and Michael Checque, argue that "Pay It Forward, Pay It Back" is a the "neoliberal solution" with lots of problems to figure out, and what we should really be fighting for is free education for all with no strings attached.

It Gets Better? Dealing With Student Debt a Few Years Down the Line

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.