student debt

Elisabeth Harrison

Recent college graduates in Rhode Island have some of the highest loan burdens in the country, according to a national study called the Project on Student Debt. At the same time, Rhode Island faces consistently high unemployment and a sluggish economy.

All that made me wonder what it’s like to finish college with significant debt, so I set out to meet some of the graduates facing this problem and the experts who study it. I’ve been amazed by the response to their stories.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

In the final installment of our series Paying For It: Rhode Islanders Struggle with Student Debt, education reporter Elisabeth Harrison visits the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority to speak with Executive Director Charlie Kelley. She asked him to walk through the payment system for a student who has borrowed $31,000, about the average for recent graduates in Rhode Island.

Thousands of colleges seniors receive their diplomas this month in Rhode Island and across the nation.  And thousands of them will soon have to start paying off their student loans. 

Rhode Island has one of the highest rates of student debt in the nation; the average burden on students in the class of 2012 was more than $30,000, according to a study by the Institute for College Access and Success.

As part of our series looking at what it's like to live with student debt, Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison spoke with Lauren Asher, the Institute's director.