More students taking out loans

Borrowing by Minnesota students is outstripping tuition increases, shows a report by the state Office of Higher Education.

Borrowing grew about 10 percent from 2009 to 2011. More students took out loans, and they borrowed more money.

But the state's student loan program has seen a decline. Student loans through Minnesota's SELF loan program decreased by about a third during that two-year period.

State analyst Tricia Grimes says that is because of 2010 federal regulations that made it more difficult for colleges to tell students about loans other than federal Stafford and PLUS loans.

"As a result, many students ended up borrowing more expensive federal PLUS loans rather than the less expensive state SELF loan," Grimes said.

PLUS loans carry a 7.9 percent fixed interest rate. Minnesota's loans at the time had a 4 percent variable rate.

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