Five Proposals to Solve $1 Trillion College Loan Crisis - USATODAY.com
A college degree is supposed to pave the way to a better life. It didn’t work out that way for Judith Tuck.
Tuck graduated from the University of Arizona in 1996 with a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and $44,000 in student loans. She had every intention of keeping up with her loan payments, but after a series of low-wage jobs in her field, her debt began to snowball. Tuck, a 73-year-old widow, now owes more than $136,000. Her wages have been garnished and she faces losing everything, including her home.
“The only good thing about student loans is that the day I die my children will not have to pay for them,” she says.
Outstanding student loans topped $1 trillion last year, exceeding the total amount of credit card debt. Thousands of borrowers are postponing getting married, buying a home or having children until their debts are paid off. Defaults are rising, which typically leads to larger loan balances. And the problem isn’t limited to young adults. Some borrowers are older adults who went back to school. Others are parents who co-signed loans for their children.
There’s widespread agreement that student debt is a problem, but there’s little consensus on how to solve it. Here’s a look at five proposals to provide relief for existing borrowers or prevent the crisis from getting worse: