Student Debt

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For the Day of Conversation - Student Debt

Student Debt Fact Sheet

Student Debt Overview, links to resources and conversation guide for the day of your conversation.
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College students leave school with more debt today than any previous generation. With the increasing costs of both public and private colleges and universities, loans have become increasingly common as a way to finance education. Average loan debt has increased by 25% between 2008 and 2014. Given these difficulties and the availability of more and more online education, people have begun questioning the value of a traditional college education. Recent attempts to provide free tuition for qualified students have left many questioning the resulting costs to taxpayers. So what is the right balance? What might be done?


Rounds/Questions: The Living Room Conversation Starts Here
A Living Room Conversation is designed to flow through 6 rounds; 5 rounds with questions and the closing. During some rounds, each question will be addressed. In other rounds, the multiple questions are intended as conversation starters and you need only respond to the one or two that matter the most to you. In the event the conversation wanders off track, we will refer to this Conversation Guide to get it back on track.

Round One: Getting Started / Why Are We Here?
● What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round Two: Core Values
Answer one or more of the following:
● What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
● What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you “tick”?
● What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country now and long-term?

Round Three: The Cost of Student Debt
Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals.
Answer one or more of the following:
● Does student debt affect your life, and if so, how?
● What is an acceptable and reasonable amount of debt for college education?
● Is it important to have a significant number of young people attend college, including young people that are going to require loans to afford college?
● How have the opportunities in the job market for someone with a degree changed in the last 10-50 years?
● How do you think college debt is affecting our economy and community?
● Where is this issue on your top 10 list? Why?

Round Four: Reflection
Answer one or more of the following questions:
● In one sentence, share what was most meaningful / valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation.
● What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on this topic?
● Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

Round Five: Accomplishment and Next Steps
Answer both of the following questions:
● What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
● Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

Closing – Thank you! Please complete the feedback form (attached) to help improve Living Room Conversations.