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New College Cost Comparison Tool Helps Students See Potential Student Loan Debt

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education want to educate students about the financial implications of college.


The cost of college is up a whopping 439 percent since 1982, and the average student graduates with $25,000 in loans. Given that college graduates earn more than their high school peers, that might not seem like a bad investment, but if a graduate can't find a job that pays enough to meet the monthly student loan bill, that degree can start to feel like a burden. For current high school seniors pondering college acceptance letters, calculating how much they could owe in student loans after graduating from a particular school is a smart move to make.

As part of the recently launched Know Before You Owe project, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education have developed a new interactive cost comparison tool to help students evaluate the costs and risks involved in paying for school. The tool, which is still in beta, lets students enter up to three schools they're interested in and whether they're going for an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree.

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A Student Proposal Could Make a University of California Education Affordable Once Again

Students would be required to pay back 5 percent of their income for 20 years.


Back in the golden days of the 1960s and 1970s, students could attend one of the 10 University of California campuses for almost nothing. They graduated without crippling debt, enabling them to buy homes, start families, and live the California dream.

Today, the system is balancing its budgets on out-of-state tuition dollars, and students are so angry about the spiraling cost of attending a UC school that they've marched on freeways and occupied meetings of the Board of Regents. But one group of students, Fix UC, is moving beyond protest signs, presenting a plan to the Regents that might help solve the Golden State's higher-education fiscal crisis.

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Colleges Are Balancing Budgets With Out-of-State Students

Thanks to budget cuts, college recruiters are wooing out-of-state students and their tuition dollars.


It's college application season, which means campus recruiters are racking up the hotel reward points and rental car miles. For recruiters at public state universities, that travel increasingly takes them across state lines. Driven by the need to boost their schools' bottom line, many admissions representatives are jet-setting across the country in the hopes of luring nonresident students—and their extra tuition dollars—onto campus.

Socked with $650 million in budget cuts for this year and facing hundreds of millions of dollars more, the prestigious University of California system has been particularly upfront about plans to bring in out-of-state tuition dollars. In-state students pay a little more than $12,000 in tuition and fees each year, while nonresident and international students pay around $35,000. As a result, in-state enrollments at the three most selective campuses have declined significantly since 2006.

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