Wednesday Linkpile compiles, for your information and delight, links to noteworthy news articles pertaining to all things online and higher-educational.
- "Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble...." An April 12, 2011 Huffington Post articles reports, "Student Loan Debt May Top $1 Trillion This Year." "Last year, the Project on Student Debt reported that the average student debt was $24,000, the highest figure ever recorded and a 6 percent increase from 2009."
- On April 11, 2011 The New York Times chimed in with its own omens and portents conerning student debt woes. "Burden of College Loans on Graduates Grows." "To be sure, many economists and policy experts see student debt as a healthy investment -- unlike high-interest credit card debt, which is simply a burden on consumers’ budgets and has been declining in recent years. As recently as 2000, student debt, at less than $200 billion, barely registered as a factor in overall household debt. But now ... student loans are going from a microeconomic factor to a macroeconomic factor."
- So massive has this debt load grown that it has come to affect American culture in a curious way -- or so reports an April 12, 2011 CBS MoneyWatch story, "Student Loans: The Anti-Dowry." "Student debt now surpasses outstanding credit card debt, and the balance will reach $1 trillion sometime next year. The aggregate student loan balance is growing $2,853.88 per second, according to Finaid.org. Check out the organization’s student debt clock here. It’s not as dramatic as the national debt clock. But the idea is the same. We’re digging a fast hole."
- Of course, these burdens aren't eased by the drying up of non-loan student aid. Towson University's student paper, The Towerlight, reported on April 11, 2011, "Pell Grant caught in Federal crossfire." "The Pell Grant, which more than 10 million college students depend on ... may become a casualty in the midst of the government’s efforts to agree on budget cuts. Unlike a loan, a federal Pell Grant does not have to be repaid."
- An April 12, 2011 Elmira Star-Gazette article offers a more comprehensive sense of the looming wipeout, of which the Pell Grant will be but one of many victims. "Federal budget deal threatens 40 education programs." "Details of the deal, which were released Tuesday, show it would eliminate programs such as Even Start, Educational Technology State Grants, Advanced Credentialing, Mental Health Integration, Exchanges with Historic Whaling Partners, Women's Educational Equity, Tech-Prep Education State Grants, Smaller Learning Communities, Thurgood Marshall Legal Opportunity Scholarships and B.J. Stupak Olympic Scholarships."
- Meanwhile, the federal government continues to slug it out with career colleges. "The Donkey Kicks: Democrats Pary Republicans' Move to Block 'Gainful Employment' Legislation." "InsideHigherEd.com reports that the 'Obama administration and Senate Democrats have rebuffed an effort by Congressional Republicans to use pending budget legislation to hamper the Education Department’s ability to implement regulations requiring for-profit colleges and other vocational programs to ensure that their students are prepared for "gainful employment."'"
- For more on this battle, see also: "Winning the Next Round: Career Colleges Fight Back." "Threatened with ['gainful employment'] regulation, which by upsetting their current business practices promises to harm shareholder value, career colleges have not taken news of looming regulation lying down. With [Rep. Nancy] Pelosi in their corner career colleges have a potent ally in their struggle, one who shows herself unafraid to defy her party’s expectations."