student loan

User: Max Lib / Flickr

New federal data shows Washington now holds more than $1.1 trillion in student loans taken out by nearly 40 million people.

And that dollar amount is up by more than 112% since 2007.

But should student debt get blamed for a wide range of economic troubles?

Beth Akers says maybe not. Akers is a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy.

In her article, Akers says there are a lot of narratives about how student loan debt is potentially creating a huge drag on economy through reduced consumption, depressed home ownership, and lower rates of entrepreneurship. But she says it's hard to back up that blame. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of new Michigan college graduates entered the workforce in the past month.

Many can relate to the findings of a new poll on student loans.

A new poll by a credit counseling group shows people with student loans believe by a two to one margin that borrowing money to pay for college was a good investment. But most people in that same poll would not recommend taking out a student loan now.

Older people were more pessimistic than younger college grads.

This Week in Review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry talk about how Rand Paul thinks Detroit should lower it's tax rate in order to stabilize, what's behind Governor Rick Snyder's 36 percent approval rating, and how the average Michigan graduate has $29,000 in student loans.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new report shows Michigan college students are carrying a lot of student loan debt.

The Institute for College Access and Success says Michigan college graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2012 owed nearly $29,000 in student loans.

Debbie Cochran is with the institute. She blames the recession and declining government support for forcing students to borrow more to pay for college.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Governor Sndyer's approval rating is up

Governor Snyder's approval rating is at it's highest since the summer of 2012. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval rating has ticked up to 35.6% according to a new State of the State Survey from Michigan State University to be released today."

College grads in Michigan have an average of $29,000 in debt

A new report finds the average Michigan college graduate in 2012 has nearly $29,000 in student loans. Ferris State and Lawrence Technological University graduates have the highest debt in the state.

Lawmakers get bigger budgets

"Lawmakers in the Michigan House will see their office budgets rise 5 percent in 2014. Lawmakers took a 10 percent pay cut in 2011," the Associated Press reports.

Everybody pretty much hates baby boomers, the most numerous, obnoxious and self-indulgent generation on the planet. I should know: I am one. Well, if you are a college student, or recent graduate, here is one more reason to resent us: The cost of higher education.

In my time, it was possible to get a good summer job, live at home and almost make enough to cover the next year’s tuition and room and board. To make up the difference, scholarship money was far easier to come by.

I don’t remember people graduating saddled with debt. Law and medical school grads got out owing sizable student loans, but those degrees were viewed as a license to print money.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Govenor signs hunting and fishing fee increase

"Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law Michigan's first hunting and fishing license fee increases in more than 15 years. The revamped fees will kick in March 1 and generate more revenue for wildlife, fisheries and habitat programs. A new "base" hunting license will cost $11 for in-state residents, with lower rates for youths and seniors," the Associated Press reports.

Amash will not run for US Senate

"West Michigan  Republican congressman Justin Amash won't run for the US Senate seat opening with the retirement of Democrat Carl Levin. Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is the only declared Republican candidate," the Associated Press reports.

Adrian College plans to pay student loans if students don't get jobs

"Adrian College is planning a new loan repayment program that offers to pay all or part of students' loans if they are unable to secure a well-paying job after graduation," the Associated Press reports.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Rally held in Detroit for Trayvon Martin

More than a hundred protesters rallied in Detroit's Grand Circus Park yesterday in response to the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. Rally goers described a desire for overall social change regarding civil rights issues like education, mass incarceration and gun violence.

Oil pipeline worries Michigan environmentalists

Environmental groups have rallied to call attention to an oil pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac, the area linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. Critics say the 60-year-old pipeline at the bottom of the straits is aging and risky.They also fear Enbridge will pump heavy tar sands oil through the line, although the company says it has no plans to do so. It says the line is safe and regularly monitored.

Student loan debt higher for less expensive colleges

College students who go to pricier state schools are graduating with less student loan debt than those from supposedly less expensive state schools. On average, graduates from Michigan Tech, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan University all have more student loan debt than those from Michigan State or the University of Michigan. Debbie Cochrane, research direction at the Institute for College Access and Success, says because of the amount of financial aid that might be available, the high sticker price of a larger school might actually end up costing less than a supposedly more affordable state school.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Congress could act this week to roll back an interest rate hike on a student loan program that many Michigan college students use.

The interest rate doubled for federally subsidized Stafford loans on July 1st.   

The rate went from 3.4% to 6.8%.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says the federal government will make a $50 billion profit from the student loan interest rate hike.

LinkedIn

College students in Michigan got some unwelcome news over the past week: tuition is going up at many universities and colleges, and interest rates on some of their loans will double.

This one-two punch of soaring costs and rising debt is being felt in many homes around Michigan.

There are more than 300,000 students in Michigan with federal loans. And the number of people taking out student loans and the amount they borrow continues to climb.

We wanted to get behind these headlines and look at just what this means to a typical college student in our state.

Do you trust your government? What about your government? Do your elected leaders trust you?

Disapproval rates of Congress are at all-time lows - gridlock, and indecision. Can we change the dynamic, and what does it mean going forward?

And census results show a surprising trend: the state's male population is growing. We took a look at what's behind the numbers.

Also we spoke with Michael Narlock, head of Astronomy at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, about the best places to go in Michigan for stargazing this summer.

And Darrin Camilleri, President of the Michigan Federation of College Democrats, joined us to talk about increasing tuition and raised interested rates for student loans.

Also we continued our week-long series of stories from immigrants about what America means to them.

Today we heard from Linda Steinke, whose family came to the U.S. from Iran in the 1970s when her father had the opportunity to work in the auto industry.

First on the show, the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has filed language with the Secretary of State to put another petition on the 2014 ballot. The group wants to ban wolf hunting in Michigan.

If the language is approved, the group will try and collect more than 160 thousand signatures to put the question to voters.

Rick Pluta, the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network joined us today.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

A push for change in Michigan term limits

There are efforts underway to change Michigan’s term limits amendment. Representative Joe Havemen (R-Holland) says the current lifetime limit of six years to serve in the House and eight years in the Senate are too short and consequently, legislators are lacking experience. Term limits were approved by Michigan voters ten years ago, and changing that amendment would also require voter approval.

Town hall to be held for road repairs

Lawmakers are expected to discuss how to pay for improvements to the state’s roadways at a town hall meeting tonight in Grand Rapids. Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith reports, "the public will get a chance to weigh in on Governor Snyder’s proposal to raise more than a billion dollars a year. Snyder wants to raise vehicle registration fees and the gas tax to cover the costs, but the Legislature passed a budget last week that only included a fraction of the money he wanted."

Michigan faces class action lawsuit from students

The state of Michigan may be facing a class action lawsuit over a student loan program. Starting in 2003 the Michigan Students First program provided a subsidy to people after they paid their first 36 loan payments on time, but that subsidy ended in 2010. Attorney Jeff Hank says that left thousands of Michiganders with much more to pay on their student loans. Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports that the lawsuit could end up costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is facing a potential class action lawsuit over a student loan program.

Beginning in 2003, the Michigan Students First loan program offered college students an interest rate subsidy after their first 36 on-time loan payments, effectively reducing their interest rate to zero.

But in 2010, the subsidy was ended.

Attorney Jeff Hank says that left thousands of Michigan college students having to pay more in student loans than they had originally planned.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Juniors and seniors at Rockford High School will be able to earn up to 30 credit hours at Ferris State University for free in a pilot program announced today.

Say you’re taking calculus at Rockford High School, when you get to college, you could test out of calculus but you wouldn't get any credits.

The pilot program differs from dual enrollment programs.

If a student passes a single calculus class, it will count toward both their high school diploma and their college degree.

Michigan House Democrats

 As new grads drift out of Ann Arbor after last weekend's commencement, where will they go?

Degrees in hand, they're on the job search - which doesn't mean they're staying in Michigan.

State Representative Andy Schor, D-Lansing, is the sponsor of House Bill 4182, which would provide tax credits to college graduates of public or private four-year colleges and universities in Michigan.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Senate votes to keep film incentive money

"Michigan’s film industry wouldn’t lose a dime of the $50 million currently set aside for state incentives under a proposal in the Legislature. The state Senate voted to reject Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to cut the incentives in half," Jake Neher reports.

Proposed bill would give tax credits for student loans

"State tax credits could be given for student loan payments if a new bill in Lansing becomes law. The tax credit would equal half of a student's annual loan payments, if the graduate stays in Michigan," Chris Zollars reports.

Bill would make Michigan online retailers charge sales tax

"Michigan lawmakers are looking at how to get online retailers to collect state sales taxes. Currently, shoppers are supposed to report any sales taxes they owe on online purchases, and pay them with their income tax, but most people don’t. A proposed bill at the state capitol would put the responsibility on the online retailer," Steve Carmody reports.

Student loan payments may be applied as tax credits if a new bill in Lansing becomes law. Democratic State Representative Andy Schor is sponsoring the legislation. 

He says “it’s the start of keeping that talent here and reversing the brain drain as we create some of the places where they want to be.”