Here’s an important point. We discuss the costs at the front end but not the myriad of ways to repay on the back end. How many people know the details of REPAYE — a new way for students to pay a portion of their income (discretionary income) over time and if after 20 years, the debt isn’t paid, the remainder is forgiven? Why don’t we discuss these options? Why aren’t they the default option? Why aren’t colleges and universities reaching out to their graduates post-graduation to help them with their debt issues? And there are other repayment programs — IBR, public loan forgiveness and the list continues. To be sure, there are too many options. But, the point is: students and then graduates need to see how many avenues there are for repayment. In essence, the amount borrowed needs to be valued in conjunction with the repayment options. We can’t sever borrowing and repaying. They are married.

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Author, Educator & Commentator; Former President, Southern Vermont College; Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept. of Education; Former Law Professor

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