More college enrollment, more student loan debt

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – For those who started Purdue University in 2012, tuition freezes will allow them to study all four years for the same price. Still, 60 percent of Purdue students take out student loans to pay for college on average borrowing $29,000 by graduation.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said right now a tuition freeze does not solve student loan debt.

“We know it’s just a start toward affordability, but I hope it’s made Purdue’s deep concern about this issue clear,” Daniels said.

“You know it doesn’t change so much for people who couldn’t afford it before, still can’t afford it,” said Ted Malone, Purdue executive director of the Division of Financial Aid.

With more students enrolling in colleges around the country more than ever, student loan debt is more than $1 trillion.

Malone said the amount Purdue students borrow is on track with the rest of the nation.

This week the federal government tried to help ease student loan debt in the forms of an executive order and a senate bill, which was defeated by senate Republicans on Wednesday. The senate bill would allow people to refinance their loans for lower rates by imposing minimum tax rates on millionaires. Malone sees some merit in refinancing.

The executive order would expand the Pay as you Earn program, allowing rates to be at 10 percent of your monthly income.

Malone said that may not affect Purdue alumni much.

“Our current students are pretty much already covered under it,” Malone said. “Students who borrowed prior to 2007, which is what it looks like it will extend to, Purdue wasn’t lending under the Federal Direct Loan program at that time.”

Malone said he would like to see one program for grants and loans instead of having students borrow from different entities.

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