The Average Amount Of.Work A 20 Year Old Shouod.Be Doing Rising Student Loan Debt Testament to Decreasing College Affordability

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Rising Student Loan Debt Testament to Decreasing College Affordability

Over the last 10 years, not only have more undergraduate and graduate students taken out student loans to pay for school, but they have borrowed exponentially more.

While some authorities in higher education and financial aid attribute this trend to students becoming overborrowers — maxing out their federal college loans and adding private student loans just because they can — others say the increase in student loan dependency is due to the fact that universities affordability moved increasingly out of reach.

“10 to 20 years ago, if you went to a four-year public institution, had a low to moderate income, and worked a reasonable amount part-time in school, there was enough aid and public institutions were; better funded, so you could come out debt-free,” Lauren Asher, acting president of the Project on Student Debt, told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “That same student would now have to borrow to get their education.”

Tuition Continues to Rise, Students Continue to Borrow

College costs have soared in the past decade at both public and private institutions, with college students across the country subject to nearly annual tuition increases. In the last year alone, even as unemployment soared and retailers and service providers in every sector — from airlines to car dealers to clothing stores — cut prices in response to decreased consumer spending and contracting sales, tuition and fees at both biennials. and four-year colleges and universities continued to rise.

For the 2008-09 academic year, according to the College Board, in-state tuition and fees at four-year public institutions were increased, on average, by 6.4 percent to $6,585, compared to the previous school year. Out-of-state tuition and fees increased 5.2 percent to $17,452. Tuition and fees at public two-year colleges rose 4.7 percent to $2,402, and at four-year universities by 5.9 percent to $25,143.

Student borrowers had to adjust accordingly.

In 1993, less than half of graduating high school seniors took out student loans to finance their undergraduate education, according to the Project on Student Debt. By 2003, that number had climbed to more than 65 percent. For the students graduating with student loans, the average student loan debt amount more than doubled in those same 10 years, jumping from $9,250 in 1993 to $19,200 in 2003.

Today, about 8 percent of undergraduate students currently carry college loans in amounts more than double the national average.

Borrower Lacks Education for Student Loans

Part of the problem, financial aid experts say, is that many students pay little attention to their college costs and how much they’ll need to borrow in student loans to cover those costs, especially when it comes to attending their dream school.

“They want to be able to pay for the school they’ve wanted to go to for as long as they can remember,” says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org, a student financial aid website. “And they’re willing to do whatever it takes.”

And rarely are these students advised otherwise. Students receive little, if any, education from high school guidance counselors or financial aid administrators about financial aid or the realities of student loan repayment. Often students graduate without knowing what college loans they took out, how much student loan debt they have accumulated, what their student loan interest rates are or how much it will be possible to pay off their federal and private student loans. loans with work in their field.

Despite Disadvantages, Student Loans Remain a Worthy Investment

Despite this overwhelming increase in student loan debt, most economists and financial analysts maintain that the difference in lifetime earning potential between high school and college graduates more than outweighs the costs of college.

In 2007, the average college graduate earned about $57,200 a year, compared to the average high school graduate’s annual earnings of about $31,300—a difference of more than 80 percent. Over a lifetime, college graduates typically earn $1 million more than high school graduates.

A student who graduates with $20,000 in college loan debt should be able to earn back at least that amount within one to two years in the additional earnings provided simply by having a bachelor’s degree, says Sandy Baum, a senior analyst at the College. Board of Directors

The benefits of a college degree are even more notable in the current recession: Although job losses have hit both white-collar and blue-collar industries, the unemployment rate in May was 4.8 percent for 25-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree, compared to 10 percent for 25-year-olds with only a high school education diploma

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