Students Graduate with Degrees in Debt

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09/28/2006 - If Renita Burns keeps it up, she'll graduate from Temple University with honors and more than $30,000 of debt, CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports.

"I think a lot of (us) don't think about how much we have until we graduate, and then it's like 'Eesh,'" she says.

Who would want to think about it? Burns is a junior, and she has more than $15,000 in federal student loans — an amount that doesn't even come close to covering a year at Temple. Her mom is a teacher, and her dad is a retired cop — so like a lot of students, she's too rich to qualify for most financial aid, yet too poor to pay for college without it.

"It’s like a circle, and you’re caught in the middle. It sort of feels like you've got to find another way," Burns says. She did.

Burns took out a private loan, the fastest-growing form of student aid. In 2004, lenders provided about $14 billion to students, an increase of more than 700 percent from a decade earlier.

Watch the full report at CBSNews.com.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Project on Student Debt Web site or visit the The Project on Student Debt on PewHealth.org.

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