student loans

We all know that American college education isn't cheap. But it turns out that it's even less cheap if you look at the numbers more closely.

That's what the Wisconsin HOPE Lab did. The lab, part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducted four studies to figure out the true price of college.

To get a sense of student realities, researchers interviewed students on college campuses across the state of Wisconsin. But they also examined 6,604 colleges nationally and compared their costs with regional cost-of-living data from the government.

Rachel Morello

It’s no secret that student loan debt is a huge and mounting expense. In Wisconsin alone, the White House estimates residents owe more than $18 billion. And now, some of that debt has become multi-generational. 


Many UW System graduates must start paying back their student loans six months after leaving school. The average grad here faces about $30,000 worth of student debt. An effort is underway to persuade employers to adopt a new benefit for workers: help pay down student loans.

Tim DeMello is CEO and founder of a Boston startup by the name of Gradifi.

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.

xymm, flickr

Wisconsinites owe a bundle of money in student loan debt.

Around 70 percent of Wisconsin’s current college students will owe money on loans when they graduate, according to the Institute of College Access and Success.

Each side of the political aisle thinks it has the best solution.

Lendingmemo, flickr

A Waukesha man has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court  in hopes of having his student loans written off in bankruptcy court. The case calls into question the different standards used across the country.

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.

Wisconsin ranked 16th in the nation for highest average debt among students who graduated from a 4-year college in 2011, according to a study released by the Institute for College Access and Success.

Milwaukeeans Graduating into Debt

May 10, 2013
Faith Lenard

May is a watershed month for graduating college students. Another will approach in six months, when those entering the work world must begin repaying student loans.

Americans carry more student debt than credit card debt, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The UW System calculates the average undergraduate debt at more than $30,000.

Three UWM seniors realize they owe, although none seems sure of how much.

Whether you are in the process of paying back student loans or just beginning to figure out how to pay for college, there is no question it is expensive. The average cost of attending a four-year UW system school, including tuition, fees, room and board and books totals around $17,500 a year. The number of loans students have taken out over the past decade has tripled, and now account for more than a trillion dollars former students must repay. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis has learned about one specific factor that adds to the cost of a college education - students graduating with more credits than needed.