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October 13, 2011 10:00 AM Big Increase in Private Student Loans

By Daniel Luzer

According to a recent report issued by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, more students are now talking out private loans to attend college. Between 2003 and 2008, the percentage of undergraduates with private student loans increased from 5 to 14 percent.

While most students obtain student loans through the federal Stafford loan program, some students take out private loans, often with ruinously high interest rates and fewer protections, to pay for college.

As a general rule, financial experts don’t recommend that students ever take out private loans for undergraduate education. If you haven’t received enough financial aid from the college to allow you to attend, it’s too expensive for you.

The largest increase in private loan borrowing occurred from students attending for-profit colleges. Only 13 percent of students at for-profit colleges took out private loans in the 2003-04 school year. Four years later, 42 percent had private loans.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer