Uncovering the billions of dollars in student debt you never heard of

There’s a whole world of student debt that no one is talking about. In fact, most people don’t even realize it exists. Millions of students have racked up billions of dollars in debt owed directly to their own colleges and universities. 

And because these debts lack the safeguards that come with federal student loans, they can be especially damaging. 

We’re investigating this hidden debt. 

The perpetrators include for-profit colleges that offer loans directly to students, knowing full well that many won’t be able to repay them, as well as public institutions that withhold transcripts from graduates who owe as little as $25, making it impossible for them to land the jobs that would allow them to pay back the debt.

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$4 billion

Minimum estimated amount colleges have loaned directly to students 


Amount of debt that can prevent a student from getting a transcript from certain public universities

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