The national student debt numbers are scary. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates that Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student loans.
And about 3.6 million Americans, or approximately 1 in 6 borrowers, are defaulting on their student loans and haven’t made a payment in at least a year, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Department of Education.
To get a student loan at Broward College, one of Florida’s largest community colleges, you first have to sit through a two-hour financial lesson with Kent Dunston.
It’s a little like Scared Straight, the 1978 documentary designed to keep kids from ending up in prison.
Dunston’s lesson, though, is about scaring students into making good financial choices. Nationwide, student loans total more than $1.2 trillion. And schools now face punishment — even closure — by the federal government if the rate is too high.
You’re not going to borrow more than the amount of money you need to attend, Dunston tells the students. “You’ll be offered more. You don’t need it.”
In a huge victory for opponents of for-profit schools, a federal panel voted Thursday to shut down the largest accrediting agency of private sector colleges and universities amid intense criticism in recent years for loose oversight of educational institutions.
More people have more student loan debt than at any time in history. Average student loan debt has tripled since the mid-1990s. Last year, the average student debt for a college graduate was more than $35,000, according to Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert at Cappex, which connects students with colleges and scholarships.