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Ninety-four percent of students who earn a bachelor’s degree borrow to pay for higher education. This is up from the 1993 statistics that show only 45 percent of students borrowed money to pay for a bachelor’s degree. This borrowing includes loans from the federal government, private lenders and relatives.


1. Explain why Rajeev V. Date, deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, likens excessive student borrowing to risky mortgages. Do you agree or disagree? Discuss.
2. According to the article the average 2011 student debt is $23,300. Look at the interactive map and find your university. How does the 2010 debt for your university compare to this amount?
3. Go through all colleges for all years (2004-2010). What do you notice about the change in the distribution of the data over this period? Be as specific as possible.
4. Look at the related slide show about Kelsey Griffith ( How does her debt compare to the debt on the interactive map for her university?
5. Realistically, how much will Kelsey have to earn per month in order to live and pay back her student loan? What is the typical length of a school loan?


Staff (2012). Student Debt at Colleges and Universities across the Nation, Interactive Map – The New York Times, May 12 (Retrievable online at

Martin, A. and A. Lehren. (2012). A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College. The New York Times, May 12 (Retrievable online at

Bloomberg Video. (2012) Student Loan Debt.