The Deepest in Debt

Doug Lederman:

There’s a subtle debate unfolding among financial aid experts and advocates for students about just how much student loan debt is too much. While some recent studies have declared a crisis in student borrowing, citing the growing number of student borrowers and the amounts they owe, the College Board, in a report released Monday, seeks to reframe the discussion by focusing on those deepest in debt.
It’s not that the authors of the College Board report, Sandy Baum and Patricia Steele, don’t think there’s a major problem with student loan debt; they do, and their report, “Who Borrows Most? Bachelor’s Degree Recipients With High Levels of Student Debt,” offers plenty of troubling data. But in an era where grant money is usually insufficient to meet ever-rising tuition costs, it’s not borrowing per se that’s the problem, they argue; it’s the amount and types of loans that are likeliest to land borrowers in significant financial trouble.