Student loan debt in the United States will top $1 trillion this year, with most college graduates leaving campus owing more than the price of a good new car. Minnesota students are among the leaders.
According to the Project on Student Debt, the average Minnesota college student who graduated in 2010 had an average debt of $29,058, fourth highest in the U.S. Seventy-one percent of state students had college debt, the fifth highest percentage in the nation.
Yet President Barack Obama wants young people to believe he is making college more affordable by encouraging them, in effect, to take on bigger loans.
Obama was making the rounds of college campuses this week, attempting to whip up enthusiasm for his re-election among young people. His message was that a scheduled increase in student loan interest rates, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, should be prevented.
The president is assuming his listeners flunked basic math. Based on the White House's own figures, the average cost of the interest rate increase would be only about $8 a month for student borrowers.
Instead of playing the old smoke-and-mirrors game, Obama should be encouraging institutions of higher learning to hold down tuitions and fees.