Some Relief From The Heavy Burden Of College Loans07:00

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This week President Obama offered up a plan to help some Americans pay back their college loans and for good reason: The total student loan debt-load in the U.S. recently passed $1 trillion. It now exceeds total credit card debt, and is second only to what Americans owe on their home mortgages.

President Obama's plan also coincides with news this week that the cost of college is more expensive than ever. According to the College Board, tuition at the average private four year college is up 4.5 percent compared to last year. At public colleges, it shot up more than 8 percent.

The president's executive order will speed up changes that were already approved by Congress. The biggest change impacts low-income college graduates. Their federal loans can have monthly payments capped at 10 percent of discretionary income, and some of them can get their loans forgiven after 20 years.

"About 1.6-million Americans could see their payments go down," President Obama said. "That includes some of the students who are here today."

The plan could help graduates in and around Boston, home to dozens of colleges and universities.  But, it will only help students with federal loans, not those who have private student loan debt.


  • Michael Ryan,vice president, American Student Assistance
  • Sarah Kleinman, certified nurse midwife and graduate of Yale School of Nursing.


This program aired on October 28, 2011.