Dear Ms. Kamenetz,
I am working in a grassroots effort to help students avoid massive college and student loan debts. I would appreciate very much if you could provide me with source information for the following statements from your article on higher education in the Sept 09 issue.
"College tuition has gone up more than any other good or service since 1990, and our nation's students and graduates hold a staggering $714 billion in outstanding student-loan debt. Once the world's most educated country, the United States today ranks 10th globally in the percentage of young people with postsecondary degrees."
Thank you very much. I have been concerned with escalating costs, as well as the need for recreation or reform in the higher ed industry, for years. I purchased the domain name collegedebtsucks.com three years ago and have always put off the project for tomorrow. Well, tomorrow has arrived!
Facts such as those you have stated above deserve to be repeatedly shouted from millions of students (and parents!). Please feel free to visit my website or contact me at any time. I would like to use this information, promote your article, and give the issue more attention on my blog.
For the 1990 figure, see the post below.
For the total amount of outstanding student loan debt, this is based on $590 billion of outstanding federal student loan debt and the rest private student loan debt. Mark Kantrowitz of Finaid and FastWeb, in this recent article, gives a slightly different figure of $730 billion--$598 billion in federal student loans and $132 billion of private student loans.
For America's relative world standing, this is a recent study (pdf) .