Apparently, the average college graduate's debt amounts to $17,600. The NYT ran an interesting proposal for making student loans work for students rather than lenders... which seems vital right now, as the Pell Grant program is woefully behind inflation. For most of us, the Pell Grant is really just a tiny drop in the bucket, not the empowering force necessary to help working class students feel that they can afford a college education.
"It's thus no surprise that lawmakers are apt to protect lenders and not students. On Oct. 26, Mr. Boehner's committee approved more than $14 billion in cuts over the next six years, which would be the largest reduction in the history of the federal student aid program. Mr. Boehner defended the cuts by saying they mostly came from corporate subsidies to Sallie Mae, Bank One, Citibank and the rest. But that gets to the heart of what is wrong with this program - and the way to fix it. The best way to reverse the shocking trends in debt and educational attainment would be to switch from loans back to grants. Given ballooning deficits, though, that's a nonstarter. Instead, why not cut off subsidies to banks and give that money to needy students?"