Got Student Loans? Find Out How Much You’ll Really Pay.

And let us know what questions you have.

More and more Americans are drowning in debt. About 44.7 million Americans currently have student debt, and in 2017 they owed more than $1.3 trillion in student loans—more than two and a half times what they owed 10 years earlier. Meanwhile, it takes them an average of 21 years to pay off that debt.

In our September/October 2018 issue, writer Ryann Liebenthal investigates the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program—and how some of its enrollees may never actually see their loans forgiven despite years of payments. It’s a rage-inducing story about America’s student debt machine and the ways in which borrowers are often cast aside by their loan companies.

One of the many issues with student loans is that borrowers often don’t get a sense of how much they’ll actually have to pay back. Interest rates, even at seemingly low amounts, can lead to borrowers paying back far more than they originally took out. We’ve built a calculator that can help you see just how much you might be paying in interest.

We would also like to hear from you: How are you reacting to these numbers? What questions do you have about your debt? We’ll work on answering some of these questions in a follow-up story. 

Adam Vieyra and Rowan Walrath contributed to the interactive.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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