Student Loans

/Student Loans

Question: How Much Debt Do Consumers Have?

A great opener to your Types of Credit unit. Start by asking your students to rank from largest to smallest the various types of consumer debt:

  • Credit Cards
  • Mortgages
  • Auto Loans
  • Student Loans


Answer and visual below (from Visual Capitalist and Equifax): $12.4 trillion (as of August 2016)

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Retired Bankruptcy Judge John Ninfo About His Passion For Financial Literacy


What does a retired bankruptcy judge do to fill his “golden years?” If you are Hon. John Ninfo, you write a weekly column and visit hundreds of classrooms in upstate New York to teach young people about what it means to be financially responsible. If that isn’t enough, he also created a non-profit, Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE), to bring bankruptcy professionals into classrooms throughout the U.S. to share their experiences. Storytelling has an important place in the personal finance classroom (it is personal after all!) and John’s years on the bench in western New York provide him with lots of material to share about the causes of financial distress. In this podcast, you will also hear from the CARE team of Anna Flores and Ian Redman about how you can bring CARE to your classroom. Enjoy!


What Do Students Know About Financial Aid?


Catching up on some reading over this break. Enjoying Sarah Goldrick-Rab’s Paying the Price which tracks six students in Wisconsin over six years and chronicles their triumphs and struggles in finding their way through college. She had a chart on page 56 that I found informative in highlighting what students know and don’t know about financial aid.

Here’s what the 2,100 students participating in the Wisconsin Scholars Longitudinal Study (WSLS) who answered their first-year survey knew about financial aid (number is parens is percentage who responded correctly):

By |December 19th, 2016|Case Study, Paying for College, Research, Student Loans|

Chart: How Do Debt Levels Differ By Age?

Here’s a meaty set of charts to include in your Types of Credit unit. I love it because it provides a more holistic view of the various types of debt that consumers have and how their balances vary over an adult’s life:


Hat tip to Sarah Tavel of Greylock Partners who included this chart in her excellent presentation “Saving people money.”

First, some orientation is in order.

Two Charts That Prove We Need To Teach Financial Aid in HIGH SCHOOL!

From GFLEC Policy Brief on Student Loans:


Question: What’s the Average Amount of Student Debt for Recent Grads?

Answer (from Project on Student Debt): $30,100 for 2015 graduates (68% of grads had student debt)

Hat tip to Lauren Asher of TICAS for sharing this information about their recent study. Wondering how students in your state compare to this national average? Go to this interactive map which has information on over 1,000 colleges:



Question: How Do You Decode A Financial Aid Award Letter?

Hat tip to NGPF Fellow Charles Kafoglis for pointing to this resource at (and thanks to my friend Kim Clark for producing it!). This site decodes financial aid award letters from six colleges and grades each one based on their level of transparency. Here is an example on how they decoded one of these letters:

Interactive: What’s the Value of A Graduate Degree?

Many experts say that graduate degrees are becoming the new bachelor’s degree as a competitive job market places a greater premium on educational qualifications. I stumbled across this interactive from Quartz, which allows students to see the value added from a graduate degree:


Here are the steps for students to use this interactive: