The U.S. just broke an unfortunate record in college affordability: About 8 million people defaulted on their federal student loans last year and 1.1 million of those people did it for the first time, according to data released from the Department of Education last week.

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Local governments placed tax liens on more than 1.6 million properties nationwide last year, but tax collectors from Illinois to Florida to New Jersey acknowledge there are few safeguards in local laws to prevent the private investors who bought them from taking advantage of distressed homeowners, according to a Washington Post study.

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