(Washington Post) A majority of first-year undergraduates can't correctly estimate how much student loan debt they're taking on. More surprising, among college freshmen who have taken out federal student loans, more than a quarter (28 percent) don't think they have any federal debt, and 14 percent don't think they have any debt at all.
Those are the surprising findings of a new Brookings Institution report authored by Beth Akers and Matt Chingos. Akers and Chingos have argued in the past that claims of a student debt "crisis" may be overblown: the shockingly high debt loads that make for good media narratives are actually pretty rare. While it's true that more and more students are taking out loans to finance college, the median debt burden is generally not too bad, especially when you consider that the returns on a college investment have never been greater.