Almost a third of student loan borrowers in repayment were delinquent at the end of last year, up from about a quarter in 2008 and 20 percent in 2004, according to a report on household debt and credit released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The amount of educational debt, which includes federally backed and private loans taken out by students and parents, has almost tripled in the past eight years to $966 billion, the bank said.
Mobile free riders
Starting in March, Pandora Media will cap free mobile listening at 40 hours a month as it confronts skyrocketing royalty costs for music.
Listeners who exceed the mobile limit can pay 99 cents for unlimited mobile use for the remainder of the month.
Pandora One subscribers, who pay $4 a month or $36 a year to skip commercials, will not be subject to the cap.
• British American Tobacco said it may sell an alternative nicotine product in the United Kingdom as early as next year as Europe’s largest cigarette maker moves to counter tougher global restrictions on smoking.
The maker of Lucky Strikes is expecting approval for a “tobacco inhalation device” that is not an electronic cigarette by the end of this year and it could be “ready to launch sometime in 2014, if not 2015,” a company spokesman said.
• The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s smoking and health office said the increased use of electronic cigarettes underscores the need for regulation. A study released Thursday shows nearly six in 10 adults in the U.S. are aware of the battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution and create vapor that users inhale. The CDC report also said about one in five current smokers reported having used an electronic cigarette.
Mortgage rates drop
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage declined to 3.51 percent from 3.56 percent last week.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage slipped to 2.76 percent from 2.77 percent.
About 4.2 million borrowers who went through foreclosures will hear from Rust Consulting within 31 days to outline their compensation under a settlement with 13 mortgage servicers, according to U.S. bank regulators.
Hospital readmission rates for Medicare patients are dropping after more than five years of growth as the U.S. begins levying penalties for excessive numbers of repeat patients.
The drop illustrates that the Affordable Care Act is working to rein in costs, Jonathan Blum, a deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said Thursday.
Readmission rates for Medicare patients dropped to 17.8 percent after averaging 19 percent for the past five years.
| Star news services