Finance in the News, Class Discussion, & Video: Changes Come to Student Loans

Teaching Tip:  There are a couple excellent videos you can show in class that do a great job of explaining the changes in the student loan program.  One, done by ABC News runs about three and a hlaf minutes, while the other from PBS Newshour goes about 10 minutes.  Both are great.  The ABC News video is titled “Student Loan Forgiveness: Obama’s Debt Solutions,” while the one from PBS Newshour is titled “Obama’s Student Loan Relief Plan: How Helpful Would it Be?”

As total student loans approach $1 trillion, our government has made efforts to ease some of the pressure those with student loans.  In front of an audience made up of college students in Denver, Colorado, President Obama presented a new “Pay As You Earn” plan. The new plan would speed up the timeline for an already-approved loan repayment plan that lowers monthly federal student loan payments for Americans whose burden of debt is disproportionate to their earning abilities.

As you might expect, any time there are changes in a program, there is some confusion.  For example, are all student loans, both public and private covered?  What if you graduated in 2011 or earlier, will you qualify for the program? Let’s face it, when it comes to federal regulations, nothing is simple.  Fortunately, a New York Times article titled “Clearing Up Some Confusion About the New Federal Student Loan Rules” does a good job of explaining some of the detail.  There’s also a White House fact sheet that explains this program.

Discussion questions:

  1. Do you think this is a good program?  Be prepared to discuss this in class.
  2. Will this program help those who took out private student loans? Be prepared to discuss this in class.
  3. Why have student loans grown as much as they have? What do you think can be done?  Be prepared to share your views with your class.
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