Portland State Convenes
From Debt to Degree
Total debt from student loans across the United States now exceeds credit card and consumer debt. What can students, colleges and policy makers do to make college more affordable and reduce spiraling debt?
That was the focus of an interactive town hall discussion hosted at PSU on October 23, 2013, by Portland State University and KGW-TV. (See full video, below.)
The event, moderated by KGW anchor Tracy Barry, featured a talk by Mark Kantrowitz, a national expert on student debt and the founder of consumer websites FinAid and FastWeb, followed by remarks from Rohit Chopra, the national Ombudsman for Student Loans at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
A panel of current college students from Oregon State University and PSU discussed their own challenges in paying for college.
A recurring theme of the event was the shifting of the burden of college costs. Subsidies for higher education from state governments, particularly in Oregon, have whithered, leaving students on the hook for the bill. Many have in turn turned to borrowing the difference. This debt can create an unsustainable financial situation for new graduates or, even worse, for those students who drop out before completing the degree.
Panelists encouraged students to take advantage of the financial literacy resources available from the government and nonprofits, and to limit borrowing to no more than half of what you might earn in that first year after college.
NEW! Read the post-event report (PDF) for outcomes and next steps
EVENT MEDIA COVERAGE
- An editorial by The Oregonian's David Sarasohn, "For future, massive student debt is just borrowing trouble"
- Live coverage by The Oregonian's It's Only Money columnist Brent Hunsberger: "Live: Summit on Student Debt and Rising College Costs"
- An article by The Vanguard: "From debt to degree"
- And, this story from KGW-TV: "PSU advice on handling high cost of college" (VIDEO)
The event was part of PSU Convenes, a series of public events each year spotlighting important issues facing Oregonians.
Full Video: From Debt to Degree Event at PSU