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Is Six-Figure Student Loan Debt the Norm?

Fewer undergraduates owe big bucks than extreme stories in the media would lead us to believe.

With total student loan debt topping $1 trillion, extreme stories of students being crushed under the weight of six-figure debt can start to seem like the norm. But how common is it to come out of college owing over $100,000? According to some data crunching (PDF) from Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, only 0.2 percent of undergraduate students leave school owing that much or more.

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How to Find the Best (or Worst) Deals for College

A new site, the College Affordability and Transparency Center, gives users clear data about the true cost of higher education.

Forget the venerated U.S. News & World Report college rankings. The list that cash-strapped prospective students and their parents will really be paying attention to this fall comes from the government. On Thursday the U.S. Department of Education unveiled the College Affordability and Transparency Center, a new website designed to provide clear data about the true cost of college.

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Want to Major in German? Good Luck With That

The end of the Eurocentric world view? The number of four-year colleges offering French, German and Italian as majors is on the decline.



Bad news for fans of European languages. According to a new study by researchers at the University of California at Riverside: Since 1970, an increasing number of schools have dropped traditional Romance languages— like French and Italian—from the choices of possible majors. And if you want to major in German, good luck finding a school offering it.

In 1970, almost 44 percent of four-year colleges offered German as a major. By 2006, that number had dropped down to just under 27 percent. As for French and Italian, 76 percent of schools offered those majors in 1970. Now only 59 percent of campuses offer them. And, since the study ends in 2006, before recession-induced budget cuts became the new normal, the number of schools dropping majors in the three languages is probably much higher.

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