11/11/2008 - Higher college costs and steep losses in college savings plans are forcing students and their parents to borrow more money -- if they can -- to earn bachelor's degrees.
Federal officials, fearing that the continuing credit crunch may stymie college financing efforts, tried Saturday to reassure families that funds would be available.
The Education Department extended legislation from last May that increases lending limits on unsubsidized Stafford loans from $23,000 to $31,000 per undergraduate and allows the department to purchase loans temporarily to boost lender confidence.
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A report by the Project on Student Debt, a Berkeley advocacy group that tracks student loans, found that last year's seniors graduated with an average debt load that was 6% higher than the previous year's grads accumulated.
The average debt of students graduating with loans in 2007 jumped to $20,098 -- up from $18,976 for those graduating in the previous year, according to the report released late last month. In California, the average climbed 2% to $17,215.
Read the full article Students Forced to Borrow More to Finance College Educations on the Los Angeles Times' Web site.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Project on Student Debt Web site or visit the The Project on Student Debt on PewHealth.org.