student debt

Jae Lee / WBAA News

It’s no secret what the biggest topic is on this edition of WBAA’s Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels.

We could easily have filled the whole show with the many lingering questions about Purdue’s deal to buy online educator Kaplan University.

We won’t, but we will ask Purdue’s leader why the deal doesn’t include provisos mandating more transparency, whether he was prepared for the backlash he’s received and whether that backlash creates more possibility that any of the agencies which still have to sign off on the deal will instead put the kibosh on it.

Congress is once again considering a bill to help pay off more student debt for veterinarians in high-need, rural areas.

The proposal has stalled in committee for the past several years – but advocates for Hoosier vets say it’s needed now more than ever.

Indiana’s two USDA-designated veterinarian shortage areas cover most of the west central part of the state – two districts made up of 17 counties, centered around the cities of Lafayette and Brazil.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

On a campaign stop at Purdue University Wednesday, Democrat Bernie Sanders said he’s staying in the presidential race to win it, even after his losses Tuesday make it increasingly unlikely for him to secure the nomination.

Sanders lost four of Tuesday’s five primaries.  But he says he’s in the Hoosier State to win, and he’s staying in the race to become the Democratic nominee for president.

“And with your help, super delegates may well reach the conclusion that Bernie Sanders will be the strongest candidate against Donald Trump or any other Republican,” Sanders says.

Matthew Kenwrick / https://www.flickr.com/photos/58847482@N03/5983596109

If you owe student debt, collectors are able to leave you automated messages on your cell phone – at least for now.

A federal budget law with language lifting a ban on debt collection robocalls to cell phones passed Monday. It conflicts with the Indiana do-not-call law’s ban on robocalls that aren’t for school or work purposes.

University of Hartford communication law professor Paul Siegel says ever since the technology came out, there have been reasons to ban all robocalling.

Keith Cooper / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cooperweb/8363160192

Even though the average American student racks up $35,000 in college loan debt, the vast majority believe it’s worth it.

That’s the key finding among the 30,000 college grads polled in this year’s Gallup-Purdue Index.

More than three of every four grads agree or strongly agree their college’s cost did not outstrip the value of a diploma later in life.

Brandon Busteed, who lead’s Gallup’s education polling, says he’s surprised only 50-percent strongly agree with that.

Claire McInerny / StateImpact Indiana

The way to a meaningful college education is becoming increasingly complicated. The nation’s job force is demanding a college degree at the same time it’s becoming more and more expensive to get one.

Tuition is increasing and grants and financial assistance aren’t keeping pace. Young people are taking out thousands of dollars to get just a bachelor’s degree.

Andrew Bossi / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thisisbossi/

Data released by the U.S. Department of Education shows Hoosier students have one of highest default rates on their loans of students anywhere in the country.

On average, 15-percent of Indiana students -- those at four-year, public, private and for-profit schools -- couldn’t pay back their loans after three years. Indiana is tied with Iowa for the third highest default rate in the country.

The average graduation rate here is 57-percent -- just above the national average.

Owen Parrish / https://www.flickr.com/photos/oparrish/3601673876

Indiana University senior Kathryn Johnson figured out last year that she wanted to be a nurse. Her dad was hospitalized and she was fascinated by what she learned from the nurses.

"The more I talked to them and how they radiate positivity even when everything seemed so dark and dire and serious I really appreciated how professional they could be and how uplifting they could be," Johnson says.

It’s obvious Johnson has the positivity she admired in other nurses. But get her talking about her student loans and that optimism vanishes.

Purdue University

Purdue’s two-year-old tuition freeze appears to be lowering the amount of debt Boilermakers are assuming.

In the 2010-2011 school year, students on the West Lafayette campus had amassed about $223 million in debt. Through the first month of this school year, that number is about $40 million smaller – an average decrease of about $1000 per student.