Just days before student loan rates are set to double for millions of Americans, President Obama and congressional leaders haven't reached an agreement on legislation to keep those rates at 3.4 percent.
The debate reflects the growing concern over the debt burden many take on to get a college education. About two-thirds of bachelor's degree recipients borrow money to attend college, and collectively, student debt has topped $1 trillion.
Kevin Carey, the director of the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation, believes the student debt crisis reflects larger, troubling trends in higher education — among them excessive spending by colleges and universities, which drives up tuition, and declining government support for public universities as state and local governments face budget crises.
In the past three decades, Carey says, college tuition has consistently increased much faster than both inflation and incomes.