Column: College's high cost reflects shift in values


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Here are a couple of horror stories: Last week, National Public Radio interviewed two recent baccalaureate graduates from American universities. One owes $150,000 for student loans. The other, unemployed, owes a staggering $300,000.

Fortunately, few cases are as seemingly hopeless as these are outliers. According to an analysis on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average student-loan debt after four years of college was more than $23,000 in 2012. But 10 percent of borrowers owed more than $54,000, and about 167,000 former students owed more than $200,000.

According to several sources, total student debt is closing in on a trillion dollars, a figure that, according to motherjones.com, has quadrupled in the last decade and now exceeds total credit card and auto loan debt. Many students are having a hard time paying this money back.

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