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September 10, 2007

Living With Loans

LIVING WITH LOANS

On Friday, Congress gave final approval to legislation that will overhaul the federal student loan program. That's welcome news to many students and graduates who have been frustrated by unfair practices in the student loan industry. Earlier this year, it came to light that several student lenders were offering perks and kickbacks to colleges and alumni associations in return for being included on preferred lender lists.

Jason graduated from college in 2004 and now works for a large financial institution. He says he was sold on the dream that going to college would give him a middle class lifestyle, with a house and a white picket fence. Instead, he's living with his mother and working to pay off $30,000 in debt. Jason says when he was choosing a loan company to help pay for college, he selected from a preferred lender lists provided by his university's financial aid office. The loan he picked turned out to be a very bad deal.

Jason talks with Dick Gordon about what he wishes he had known sooner - and what it's like to work in the very industry that he thinks contributed towards his spiral into debt. He asked us not to use his last name so he could protect his job.

  • Read a book that features the stories of Jason and other young people like him

Ahmed's Diary

Last time we heard from Ahmed, the war had made its way into his neighborhood in Baghdad. He had found spent bullet casings in his backyard. Now Ahmed's attention has shifted inside the house - his brother Ali and his family have moved in. If the neighborhood gets even more dangerous, Ahmed wonders what will become of all of them if they lose their home.

Family Tree

A few weeks ago Dick asked for stories about the big storms that were ripping through parts of the U.S. The Pearson family wrote in to tell us about their experiences.

Carol Pearson loved the 105-year-old cottonwood tree on her property on the West Side of Chicago. She felt the tree had a spirit. It was huge - it provided shade for a number of properties on the block. Neighbors celebrated the solstice at the tree. A kid brought home his classroom bunny to have the tree bless it. Three weeks ago, the tree was taken down by a tornado.

Music

Under  a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner

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