College Debt

Rachel Morello

The last time we heard from Sara Goldrick-Rab, her business cards read "professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison."

This time around, she has a different title.

Keith Cooper / Flickr

Tuition and other college costs have risen astronomically and grants and other forms of non-debt aid haven’t kept pace. It’s not uncommon for students across the country today to graduate with crushing balances owed to the federal government and to private lenders – the latter often at high interest rates.

Wisconsin hasn’t escaped the trend. According to Bruce Murphy, editor at Urban Milwaukee, the percentage of debt incurred by Wisconsin’s students rose sharply in the past decade – faster than all but 6 other states.

The interest rate on student loans is set to double Monday, if Congress fails to act. Right now, the rate on federal Stafford loans is 3.4 percent, but it would jump to 6.8 percent.