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A Degree and a Pile of Debt; San Diego Mayor Makes Deal with City; Critics Still Want Filner Recalled; NCAA Denies Player's Hardship Waiver

Aired August 22, 2013 - 09:30   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: They're also weighing the possibility that the Fed might reduce its massive bond buying program. We'll keep you posted and we'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me today.

$1.1 trillion. Think that number has something to do with the deficit? Well, think again. It's the amount of student loan debt owed by more than 37 million Americans. Students buried in debt and now going online to tell their story. People like Sky Tischler.


SKY TISCHLER, RECENT COLLEGE GRAD STRUGGLING WITH LOAN DEBT : I'm Sky Tischler and this is my coming out video about my student loan debt.

In 2005, I graduated at the top of my class at a for-profit college and I had $51,777 in student loan debt. I immediately began working and in 2007 I lost my job and was placed on unemployment. In 2010, I defaulted on my private student loans and I am one of millions of Americans facing this problem today. As of today, that $32,964 in private student loans is now up to $126,964.44. And that is $36,164 in interest. This is more than I borrowed the entire five years I was at school in interest alone.


COSTELLO: Oh. Right now, President Obama will weigh in on student loan debt. Just moments ago, he left the White House, headed to New York. The first stop of a two-state bus tour where the president will talk about plans to cut the cost of higher education. Joining me now from Washington, Nate Tisa. He's a rising senior and undergraduate student body president at Georgetown. And from upstate New York via Skype, Sky Tischler, the woman you just saw, the recent college grad who was featured in that video.

That video, by the way, is part of a project called "Out with Student Debt" that encourages people to share their stories.

Good morning to both of you.


COSTELLO: Good morning.

And, Sky, I saw you watching your video and I thought you were going to cry again. I just can't imagine how it would feel to have that much on your shoulders.

SKY TISCHLER, RECENT COLLEGE GRAD STRUGGLING WITH LOAN DEBT: Oh, it's been a challenge. And I just really believe that eventually enough people will come together and that we'll be able to change it and that things will be resolved for us. So, I try to just carry on and be kind and give the world what I think it needs and not allow this to stop me. And, unfortunately, a lot of people are allowing it to stop them and it's allowing them to give up on their dreams and to give up on the system. And so hopefully by making this video, we'll be able to change that and people will have faith again that they'll be able to pay off their student loans.

COSTELLO: Nate, the president is going to outline his plan to bring college costs down. What do you want to hear him say?

TISA: Well, I think, like Sky just alluded to, I'm really happy someone's paying attention to this issue. It's something that affects students across the country, it affects our economic future. I want to hear him talk about how he's going to work with universities, with the federal government to keep the cost of college down. I mean it's increased over the past 20 years just an exponential amount and the economy isn't doing as well for young people as it was, you know, back in the '70s and '80s. So I want to hear him lay out some, you know, pretty bold ways to address this problem.

COSTELLO: Sky, we often hear people say, well, the cost of college is so high because some colleges have posh dorms, right, and they build like rock climbing walls in their gyms. In your experience, is that true?

TISCHLER: My student loans were for tuition and books only. I never paid for room or board or anything else. Sallie Mae dispersed the loans directly to my college and they handled all of the finances. I never saw any of the money.

So, I'm sure there are situation where dorms are great and fantastic. I worked three jobs and I put myself through college and I paid my way through college. I'm trying to pay back my student loans and the interest and penalty fees have literally taken over these loans to a point where they've refused payment unless I'm willing to settle with them an amount that I can't come up with each month.

COSTELLO: And, Nate, Sky took out private student loans, which charge a higher interest rate. But when we hear Congress talk about student loans, we always hear about government student loans and lower interest rates on them, but that doesn't really solve the problem, does it?

TISA: Right, it doesn't. You know, I was lucky enough, actually, to receive some pretty significant financial aid, but in addition to that, I'm going to graduate with about $25,000 in loans, subsidized and unsubsidized, from the government.

I think the problem is, we're not really investing in education, we're not really investing in the next generation. We're having students graduate from school with, you know, dozens of thousands of dollars in debt. Not getting jobs that are necessarily paying enough to get that money on the table immediately. And it's affecting what we can do after college. People are getting married later. They're not buying as much stuff right out of school. It's not good for anyone. And it places a burden on students, as well as their families.

COSTELLO: All right, Nate Tisa and Sky Tischler, thank you so much for joining us. And as I said, the president is going to speak in the next couple of hours about the student debt crisis and we'll see what he has to say. We'll hear what his plan is.

Also, tomorrow, an exclusive interview with President Obama. Chris Cuomo meets up with the president today as he hits the road on that bus tour for education reform. Chris' exclusive interview with the president tomorrow morning. That will air on CNN's "New Day."

We're back in a minute.


COSTELLO: The scandal that has consumed San Diego for 32 days might end tomorrow. That's when we'll hear details of an agreement between Mayor Bob Filner and city leaders. For the past three days, both sides have been in mediation, which has reportedly included talks of the mayor's resignation. Eighteen women have accused Filner of sexual harassment. Filner himself hasn't been at city hall for weeks until yesterday. This is new video. It was shot last night. It shows the mayor leaving city hall in an SUV with what appear it be boxes in the back seat. Casey Wian is in San Diego with more.

So what was he doing with those boxes, Casey?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Carol. We don't know for a fact that he was cleaning out his office, but certainly appeared that that was the case. You know, he had not been seen in public since he went into that behavioral therapy for two weeks, showed up at city hall for the first time yesterday afternoon while these mediation discussions were underway. And then they -- the mediators came out and said that they had an agreement in place.

We're waiting to hear details. But they said they could not disclose those details because, by law, they have to give this settlement, proposed settlement, to the city council to consider. And they have to give the city council 24 hours notice. So that's why we're not going to hear any details of this proposed settlement until tomorrow afternoon.

Meanwhile, one of his alleged victims was speaking out about the prospect of a settlement and the prospect of Mayor Filner stepping down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAURA FINK: I am glad that we've reached some sort of a resolution, or at least a step forward. Ultimately, that this behavior stop. And I think that removing the mayor from power is a huge part of that.


WIAN: And that was Laura Fink, the second woman who came forward to accuse the mayor of inappropriate conduct. The first woman who accused him, filed that sexual harassment lawsuit, his former press secretary. She and her attorney, Gloria Allred, have been steadfast. Many of the city council members also have been, that the way they want this resolved is for Mayor Filner to resign, to leave office. Hard to see how this ends up any other way, Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Casey Wian reporting live for us this morning.

And despite news of a deal between the city of San Diego and Mayor Bob Filner, though, volunteers will be out again today collecting signatures to try to force a recall election. Rachel Laing is the spokeswoman for that recall effort.

Good morning, Rachel.


COSTELLO: Good morning.

So, how's it going? How many signatures have you collected?

LAING: Well, so far we have in hand 11,000 signatures. Those are petitions that are actually in our office. We have about 10,000 more petitions out on the street with people collecting. So it could be -- it could be tens of thousands more signatures.

COSTELLO: You need like 101,000 signatures, though, right?

LAING: Right. It's a huge hurdle, but I have to say, it has been no problem whatsoever for any of our volunteers gathering these signatures. They have had people, you know, stopping their car, getting out, leaving the keys in the car saying, I've been looking for somewhere to sign this. I mean lining up. It's absolutely the most enthusiasm you've ever seen to sign a petition in your life.

COSTELLO: So, did you see those pictures of the mayor putting boxes in an SUV?

LAING: I didn't see the pictures, but I did hear that he was in the office and that a deal had been reached, yes.

COSTELLO: And do you think it's possible that that deal includes the mayor's resignation?

LAING: I think it's impossible to conceive of a deal that does not include his resignation actually.

COSTELLO: But you're still going to be out on the streets collecting signatures today?

LAING: You know, deals fall apart and that's what we're trying to remind our volunteers. Anything could happen between now and Friday and until the council actually calls the election to replace the Mayor, we're going to keep the pressure on.

COSTELLO: All right Rachel Laing, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

LAING: Thank you.

COSTELLO: We appreciate it.

LAING: Thanks for having me.

COSTELLO: You're welcome.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM now you see them, now you don't. We'll tell you how these cypress trees got sucked into a Louisiana -- look at that.


COSTELLO: Checking our "Top Stories" at 50 minutes past the hour. President Obama on the road again -- this morning he kicks off a two- day bus tour through New York State and Pennsylvania.

First stop the University of Buffalo. The President is expected to talk about curbing college costs, rating colleges and steering taxpayer dollars to high-performing schools.

And tomorrow an exclusive interview with President Obama. CNN's Chris Cuomo will meet up with the President as he travels on that bus. Chris' exclusive interview tomorrow on CNN's NEW DAY.

In Egypt, state media reporting a helicopter has just arrived to transfer Hosni Mubarak from prison to a medical center where he will face arrests. These are actually live pictures we're showing you. Egypt's central prosecutor says he will not appeal to keep the deposed leader behind bars. Mubarak was jailed in 2011 and convicted last year of inciting violence against Arab spring protesters.

Now some amazing pictures -- see these trees? And there they go -- officials in South Louisiana trying to figure out what caused a huge sinkhole to burp this week and swallow several Cyprus trees. The sinkhole is more than 300 feet wide and 50 feet deep. In one spot it plunges more than 400 feet. A mandatory evacuation order has been in place since the sinkhole formed last year.

Louisiana Republicans blame Barack Obama more than his predecessor for the botched response to Hurricane Katrina. That's despite the fact Obama was just a freshman senator in 2005, while Bush was on his second-term as President. The new survey by the left-leaning public policy polling found that 29 percent of Republicans surveyed blamed Obama; 28 percent blamed Bush; 44 percent were undecided. If you're thinking about selling your old iPhone you might want to act now, older iPhones hold their worth better than any other smartphone, selling for as much as $300. But resale prices tend to tank right before Apple releases a new version. The next big unveil is expected September 10th.

Here's what's all new in the next hour of NEWSROOM. As Hannah Anderson speaks out, tensions flair between families.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I would tell the DiMaggio family, I would tell them to shut up.


COSTELLO: DNA tests. Insurance surprises, what's next?

Plus -- shocking numbers out of Detroit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got 50,000 dogs running loose in the city. People move out, they leave their dogs behind. But when it gets cold, they turn them loose.


COSTELLO: Packs of stray dogs roaming the streets. The city too strapped to do anything. One neighborhood now called chihuahuaville. That's all new with the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: A college basketball player who already lost two family members now learns the NCAA won't let him on the court this season. Andy Scholes is here with "Bleacher Report." Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, good morning Carol.

Well Kerwin Okoro he lost his father and brother in the last year so he decided to transfer from Iowa State to Rutgers to be closer to home but the NCAA says he's going to have to sit out this season if he wants to play for the Scarlet Knights. Now this is another case of the wording of the rule getting in the way of doing what's right. You can get a hardship waiver to play right away if you have a sick family member, but if a family member dies you're out of luck.

Okoro tweeted about the rulings saying "I'll make the wise decision of staying off social networks today because if I express my feelings right now I might just say the wrong thing." Now Rutgers does plan on appealing the NCAA's decision.

Well Mike Tyson is back in boxing but he's not lacing up the gloves. Tyson is now a promoter in charge of Iron Mike Productions. His first event will be tomorrow night in New York. And Tyson may not be knocking anyone out anymore, but he still knows how to get people excited for a fight.


MIKE TYSON, BOXING PROMOTER: I'm a little nervous here but I'm just so excited about being involved with this whole establishment. And I don't know. I need some fighter to come over and say I'm going to kill him or something, and I want you to talk about his mother. Come on now we got to sell tickets, man. Come on, man.


SCHOLES: We've seen some awesome pool dunks this summer, but this one is going to be hard to top. The ball changes hands 11 times, there's multiple trampolines, kids on roller blades, a gorilla suit and Carol the dunker is wearing a go pro camera so we're actually going to get to see this dunk from his point of view.

COSTELLO: Ok, oh we're lucky.

SCHOLES: Yes the gorilla didn't even touch the ball. He was just a prop. He just jumped right through, and dove into the pool.

COSTELLO: I wonder how long it took them to do that.

SCHOLES: I think they had a blueprint, you know like "Home Alone" where he threw it up, and this was probably what they did here. Pretty, pretty cool stuff, though.

COSTELLO: Yes interesting use of a trampoline.

SCHOLES: There goes the gorilla.

COSTELLO: Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM after a break.


COSTELLO: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, Bradley Manning bombshell. The soldier sentenced to 35 years in prison now says he wants to live life as a woman.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say my $51,777 -- I owe $148,251.69.


COSTELLO: Students in crisis -- their loans is front and center today; the President promising help.

Thirty-two days, 18 accusers and one very pitiful fall from office. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner finally strikes a deal. Plus, 50,000 stray dogs roaming the streets of Detroit and just four city workers trying to round them all up. The second hour of NEWSROOM starts now.

Good morning. Thanks for being with me. I'm Carol Costello.

A bombshell from convicted Army Private Bradley Manning -- in a statement today to the "Today" show, the WikiLeaks source says he wants to live the rest of his life as a woman named Chelsea.