Student loans and college finance: Take our quiz!

Butch Dill/AP/File
Students attend graduation ceremonies at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa last year.

Rising college costs have pushed America's student loan debt over the $1 trillion mark for the first time. That's just one sign of the challenges that students and parents face as they navigate a sea of how-to-pay complexities. The rewards of earning a degree remain as high as ever, some economists say. But the risks of going into too much debt are also high. Can you make the college-finance "honor roll"? Here's a quiz designed to test your knowledge ... and expand it.

1. For parents, using a "Section 529 College Savings Plan" is considered one of the best ways to save for college because ...

If you don't need to use the money for college, there's no penalty for putting it toward other uses.

It won't affect your eligibility for financial aid.

Your savings are tax free and portable to any college.

All of the above

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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