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Another semester and deeper in debt: More than 70 percent of all college students reliant on aid

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

College students are an optimistic lot. They have the rest of their lives to repay their student loans, which according to a new report, is substantial. According to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, the federal government provided 71.4 percent of full-time college students with some form of taxpayer-funded aid for their education. These figures were for the 2011-2012 school year.  

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that 55.2 percent of full-time college students in the 2011-2012 school years took out direct federal student loans. In addition, 47.4 percent received a federal grant, and 10.5 percent were in some type of federally backed work study program. Essentially, most full-time college students received $10,500 in federal aid during the year - which could easily exceed $50,000 upon their graduation.

This appeared to be a recent trend. The average value of the direct student loans made to a full-time college student in 2011-2012 was $7,000, according to the report. The average value of the Pell Grants made to full-time students was $4,400.

While 71.4 percent of full-time college students received federal aid in the 2011-2012 school years, 24.0 percent got aid from state governments.

State governments chipped in, giving the full-time students they aided $3,300 during the year, with $3,200 of that being outright grants - gifts that are not expected to be repaid.

These figures arrive just as President Barack Obama was preparing to embark on a bus tour on which he intends to propose ways to "fundamentally rethink and reshape" the higher education system in the United States.

Here's the clincher: Since Obamacare was enacted, the outstanding balance on federal direct student loans has increased by 265 percent.

The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, one of the two bills, together with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which comprise Obamacare--included language terminating the program through which the federal government guaranteed student loans made by private lenders.

After enactment of Obamacare, all federally guaranteed student loans were made directly by the U.S. Treasury.

"Under the DL [direct loan] program, the federal government essentially serves as the banker--it provides the loans to students and their families using federal capital (i.e., funds from the U.S. Treasury), and it owns the loans," the Congressional Research Service explains.

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