July 12th, 2014
11:36 PM ET

Where America Works: How Denver is tackling the student debt problem

Watch"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

When it comes to student debt in the United States, the numbers are truly staggering – in 2012, 71 percent of new bachelor’s degree graduates had debt, averaging over $29,000. Over the last ten years, student debt has quadrupled – topping $1 trillion.

Congress crafted legislation last month that would have allowed for refinancing of student loans at a lower rate, but it went nowhere – and President Obama’s recent executive action doesn’t full solve the problem.

Watch the video clip to find out how one city has been trying to solve the problem, and tune into the third installment of our Where America Works segment this Sunday on GPS.

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soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. svpyadav

    U.S Govt. suffered from students debts. because, Students debt fund not yet included in year budget and it was the Election stunt only, now it is face to very difficult. In any Govt. will solve this type problems only 50%. Regarding this issue Govt, was not responsible and in India A.P state T,. state also facing this problems.finally will take rsponse 50% govt and 50% parents, then this problem will solve.

    July 13, 2014 at 3:07 am | Reply
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    Government is not your Daddy.
    My refusal to incur debt as a student was founded in independence that helped me establish a career.
    Endure hardships as a young student, not when you're older and trying to support a family.

    July 13, 2014 at 6:56 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      PS: One major reason for the USA's failed economy today is that many college pupils in today's society will find my post above to be unreasonable.

      July 13, 2014 at 7:12 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      Northwestern
      TOTAL ANNUAL COST
      (includes tuition, fees, room and board and books; excludes grants or scholarships)
      $63,222
      TUITION ALONE
      $45,527
      This is for an ungergraduate degree.

      PS: One major reason for the USA’s failed economy today is that many septagenarians in today’s society will find my post above to be unreasonable.

      July 13, 2014 at 11:57 am | Reply
  3. Gary K Bennett

    I really like your program and especially liked your piece on the concurrent high school/college program at Aurora, Colorado. Students at Lake Havasu High School have been doing this for years, and in the last few years nearly 30 students per year earn their Associates Degree before their high school diploma. My own stepdaughter earned 43 college credits, but she only had 3 years. She had to take remedial English classes first after coming here from China. She has now completed her second year at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University and is 9 classes away from two Bachelors Degrees. I attribute her success to the participation of LHHS in concurrent college classes.

    July 13, 2014 at 10:58 am | Reply
  4. Judy

    In Indiana, BCSC high school was doing this program. High school students could earn 24 college credits before high school graduation. But the school system discontinued the program because it required high school teachers to have a Masters degree in their area. Indiana no longer requires high school teachers to have a masters degree. In fact, Indiana no longer requires their teachers to have a teaching degree.
    It is sad to see Indiana going backwards in education.
    This is a great program for students that want to take advantage of it. We need to educate the families on the benefits of programs like this AND encourage the families to support their students in the educational process.

    July 13, 2014 at 11:07 am | Reply
    • banasy©

      Yes, my niece graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2013 with a Bachelors in education, and is employed as a kindergarten teacher in downstate Indiana.
      I know what you mean, completely.

      July 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  5. chri§§y

    So by the looks of those numbers it appears that Education is taking a page outta the Big Pharma's playbook of financial scalping huh? Capitalizing on our present economic demise?

    July 13, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Chrissy,
      Here are some stats on what it cost to send my twin nieces to school:

      TOTAL ANNUAL COST
      (includes in-state tuition, fees, room and board and books; excludes grants or scholarships)
      $23,792.86
      Indiana University

      $25,511
      Purdue University

      The likelihood of getting full scholarship for 4 years is virtually nil for most students. The likelihood of being able to afford 4 years without student loans is also virtually nil.
      It is unrealistic to think that today's student will not incur some educational debt.
      I know of a young student who is living rent-free with relatives AND has a nearly full-time job and she will have student loan debt. It is an inevitable part of education in today's world. To think otherwise isn't realistic.

      July 13, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        @ banasy,
        I apologize for my age.
        Still, I disagree that the chances of full scholarships for most students who should attend their chosen schools are "virtually nil."
        I work with recent graduates of my field's two best USA schools, Juilliard and Curtis, and all except one attended on full scholarships. I think that Curtis is still exclusively by scholarship.
        I agree that tuition costs are absurd.
        We could solve that by returning to the former financial structure of modestly priced state universities for qualified residents of that state and country.

        July 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
  6. chri§§y

    Thats what i mean...the Education system is taking advantage of students in this economic recession that we are ALL experiencing! Theyve discovered the cash cow of our time much like big Pharma has!

    July 13, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  7. Gary Montgomery

    The University of California and the California State University system dramatically increased tuition and fees in response to decreased funding from the State of California as tax revenues to the state decreased during The Big Recession. The recession was caused by bank and mortgage fraud that has not been prosecuted. While some profited greatly by their fraud and the government bailed them out, my two children entered college as the cost sky rocketed. I couldn't allow them incur the debt as it would strangle any opportunity for them to prosper. My wife and I incurred the debt instead (approximately $100,000). My monthly loan payment to the US government is $1500 per month. The injustice is obvious. On top of it all, I can't refinance my debt to a lower rate. My finances are balancing on a knife's edge. Any relief from refinancing that I would receive would go right back into the economy as stimulus.

    July 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  8. chri§§y

    My heart goes out to you and your family @ Gary Montgomery. And as long as we have the present obstructionist losers in Congress sitting on their collective butts those very same banks will continue to milk us dry!

    July 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  9. chri§§y

    And they will be able to because they have congress in their pockets. Just as big Pharma has had them! The US needs to change the SOP that congress has been allowed for so long! We need to ban lobbiests and the practise of kickbacks for votes, and prosecute those that continue to do this! And term limits AND age caps on congress!

    July 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    • Timmy Suckle "The Medical Cartel Puppet"

      I kissed my way up to CEO at a health insurance company. Now I take over $1,000,000 of your health care dollars for NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. And that’s just me. Now think about how many other CEOs, VPs, Directors, Managers, etc. are at my company alone. Now multiply that by thousands of others at hundreds of other health insurance companies. From 10 to 25% of your health care dollars go towards administration that adds NO VALUE to your health care. But my company’s PAC dollars will continue to fool you little people into thinking that a single payer system will be bad. Little people like you are so easy to fool. Little people also don’t realize that a single payer system is the ONLY system that would allow little people (as an entire country) to negotiate better health care prices. Little people don’t realize that the Medical Cartels already know that. And that is the reason why the Medical Cartels spend so much PAC money from the hospitals and doctors lobbying against a single payer system. Some little people say that a single payer system would cost you little people more. But if that were true, then wouldn’t the hospitals and doctors WANT that extra money? Yes they would. So why do the Medical Cartels lobby against a single payer system? It’s because the Medical Cartels know it would allow little people to negotiate better health care prices. And that’s what the Medical Cartels are afraid of. Period.
      But us big wigs at insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies don’t ever need to worry about health care no matter what it costs. We get our health care paid for one way or another by you little people. And we get the little people that work at our companies to contribute to our PACs. And us big wigs say it’s to protect the little peoples’ jobs. But in reality it would be in the little peoples’ best interest to NOT contribute to the PAC. Again, little people are so easily fooled. I won’t ever have to worry about losing my job with so many little people being brain washed by the Medical Cartels’ PAC money. Not only that, the Medical Cartels’ PAC money is used to elect so many republicans that will never allow a single payer system. Republicans have always fought against any meaningful health care reform. But that’s what our Medical Cartels’ PACs pay them for. Politicians can be bought so easily.
      Pretty soon the only people that will be able to afford health care is us big wigs. And that’s the way it should be. We don’t want you little people using up the resources when we need them. And once again, I thank you little people for capping my SS tax at the $117,000 level. Now I only pay 1.17% SS tax and you little people pay 6.2%. Also, thank you for extending my tax breaks. I’m using the extra money on my vacation houses.

      July 14, 2014 at 10:35 am | Reply
  10. chri§§y

    Money lubricates political machinery that is otherwise stuck in gridlock – as in 2011 when a significant number of Democrats in the House united with Republicans to oppose regulation for for-profit colleges. Such bipartisan "exceptions to the rule" endow the political system with the features of plutocracy, as if a wealthy class effectively controlled the government. In the case of higher education this behavior ensures that shareholders and top management of businesses that benefit from student aid are represented, while the needs of ordinary Americans fail to gain attention!

    July 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  11. The GOP Solution

    The GOP Prayer/Mantra/Solution: Dear God...With your loving kindness, help us to turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then, with your guidance and compassion, we will whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. God...Grant us the knowledge to then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. God...Give us the strength during our speeches to repeatedly yell........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!..........and........GET RID OF SS AND MEDICARE!!!
    In your name we prey (purposely misspelled, or is it?)........Amen

    July 14, 2014 at 10:33 am | Reply
  12. chri§§y

    Student loans are big business, especially now. Theres a 2005 Wall Street Journal story by John Hechinger showing that the Department of Education was projecting it would actually make money on students who default on loans and would collect on average 100% of the principle plus an additional 20% in fees and interest. And that was BEFORE the economic recession! Its much greater now.

    July 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Reply

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