Susan Tompor: Do the math before you borrow the money for college
News from Detroit Free Press:

One trillion dollars.

If you’re a parent or a student, dwell on that number like it’s one of the worst report cards ever. Student loan debt has hit $ 1 trillion, and it’s bigger than credit card debt and auto-loan debt.

By contrast, about 40 billionaires worldwide control a little more than $ 1 trillion in assets, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

So what does everyone else do?

College acceptance letters are hitting households now, and it’s essential to carefully read what’s being promised where and compare the real costs.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently created a student debt calculator as part of its “Know Before You Owe” initiative. See

The new calculator is in the draft stage but can be a big help when trying to work through the loan amounts, scholarship offers and savings needed to attend a specific college.

Odd as it seems, some college grads have absolutely no idea what they owe.

“The typical conversation I have with a borrower who is in trouble with their loans is as follows: ‘How much do you owe?’ ‘I dunno,’ ” said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and

What are the interest rates? What are the monthly payments?

Again, Kantrowi…………… continues on Detroit Free Press

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Student loan debt traps parents, too
News from Baltimore Sun:

Just as parents and their high school seniors are about to sign those college acceptance letters, there is news that unless Congress acts by July 1, the interest rate on federal student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

President Barack Obama has been touring college campuses (in swing states) and chatting up Jimmy Fallon to show his support for keeping interest rates on new loans low, and he talks about “the mountain of debt” he and his wife were under after law school. Republicans, of course, demand to know how he plans to pay for it.

The better question might be, how do students and their parents plan to pay for college?

Student loan debt in this country is higher than credit card debt — $ 867 billion versus $ 704 billion for credit cards, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And while the a…………… continues on Baltimore Sun

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