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College Debt

How College Debt is Putting the Squeeze on Families

Total outstanding college debt is estimated at $1 trillion dollars — and with costs still soaring, the burden on students and their families shows no signs of abating. We're examining how the complicated system of college debt is putting the squeeze on families.

Nothin’ but Debt: Which NCAA Tournament Schools Give Low-Income Students the Best Shot?

Instead of basketball skill, our bracket is based on five factors that measure each school’s ability to graduate low-income students with little debt.

Updated Debt by Degrees

Use our interactive database to search federal data on almost 7,000 schools in the U.S. to see how well they support their poorest students financially. Now updated with data from the 2014-2015 academic year.

Federal Government Finally Forgives Billions in Debt of Students Who’ve Become Disabled

The move comes after a ProPublica investigation that documented how the government was making it hard for disabled borrowers to get their loans forgiven.

Debt By Degrees

Use our interactive database to search new federal data on almost 7,000 schools in the U.S. to see how well they support their poorest students financially.

Reporting Recipe: How to Investigate Student Debt at Your College

Here are five stories you can do using ProPublica’s interactive database, Debt by Degrees. Each one comes complete with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.

New Data Reveals Stark Gaps in Graduation Rates Between Poor and Wealthy Students

For the first time ever, the public can see the graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients at over 1,000 schools.

As Pope Pushes to Help the Poor, Catholic Universities Leave Them Behind

Many Catholic colleges leave low-income students with big debts. And wealthy Catholic schools that provide generous support don’t enroll many poor students.

Colleges Flush With Cash Saddle Poorest Students With Debt

A ProPublica analysis of newly available federal data shows that some of the nation’s wealthiest colleges are leaving their poorest students with plenty of debt.

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Q&A: Elizabeth Warren on Spiraling Student Debt and What Should Be Done About It

The professor-turned-lawmaker talks about why people should care and what Congress should be doing to help ease the burden on borrowers.

As Parents Struggle to Repay College Loans for Their Children, Taxpayers Also Stand to Lose

New Department of Education data shows rising default rates on federal loans to parents.

After Years of Troubles, Largest Student-Loan Servicers Get Stepped-up Oversight

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced increased oversight of the companies that act as go-between for student borrowers and lenders.

Public Universities Ramp Up Aid for the Wealthy, Leaving the Poor Behind

Chasing prestige and battered by state funding cuts, many public colleges and universities with a historic responsibility to provide access to an affordable education have turned to "financial aid leveraging," offering wealthy or high-scoring students discounts on tuition.

Families Shoulder Heftier Burdens as College Debt Swells

Student debt is putting a strain on students — and their parents. Meanwhile, federal programs to make student loans more affordable won't bring relief to all.

For Grieving Father Struggling With Dead Son’s Student Debt, Resolution Comes Four Years Late

A California gardener lost his son but was saddled with a crushing debt — and it was difficult even to learn who owned that debt. Four years later, he's finally reached a legal resolution.

Education Department Adopts Crucial Reform for Disabled Borrowers

After our investigation and public pressure, the department has conducted a sweeping overhaul of its troubled disability review program.

Another Way Student Loans Are Like Mortgages: Subpar Servicing

The companies handling private student loans — much like those handling mortgages — sometimes add to the frustration and even the debt load of struggling borrowers.

How Financial Aid Letters Often Leave Students Confused and Misinformed

The Department of Education has a model financial aid award letter. It's very different from what schools are actually sending.

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