How much will students pay?

Wisconsin State Journal, Madison: It won’t fix the soaring cost of college. But it will help.

Indiana University students just reduced their borrowing by 11 percent — far more than the national average — after the state’s system of seven public campuses made one simple change.

Indiana started sending letters to students detailing what their loan totals and eventual monthly payments would be after graduation. That led to a $31 million reduction in federal undergraduate Stafford loan disbursements at Indiana universities.

Wisconsin should give it a shot.

Besides sending letters with detailed loan and payment information, Indiana now requires returning students to confirm they want more loans on the school’s website. Reacting to rising default rates, Indiana also started a personal finance course, peer-to-peer advising and improved information on its website.

UW-Madison encourages students in person and online to check their loan details. But the Madison campus and other University of Wisconsin System schools don’t send letters detailing future payment amounts.

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