Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Student Debt Increases

If you've recently graduated or entered college, chances are you took out a student loan in order to afford it. With the sky-high prices of higher education continually on the rise, it's no wonder that student debt has increased dramatically over the past several years. Although many advocate that educational debt is a worthy investment, the rapid rise of unemployment has been cause for some concern. No longer are graduates confident that they can find a job immediately after graduating from college. With that, a fear of possibly not being able to pay down student loans and other debt has rippled in those who find themselves in the midst of the economic crisis.

Funding higher eduction does not have include the multitude of debt that often accompanies it. However, since many parents have not adequately planned or saved for their child's future (or lost it during the recession), taking out a loan seems to be the only choice. Many students sign the documents without a second thought, thinking, surely they would get a job and everything would be ok once the loans entered repayment. Has this attitude created a disillusionment for our young students? Have they really weighed the costs of pursing a higher education?

There are ways, of course, to help battle the high cost of education and college expenses. One of these is to attend a local community college during the first year or two before transferring to a larger university. Students may elect to take general courses at a much lower rate this way and still transfer the credits at a different school. This takes the cost of dorming and food plans out- which can account for more than 2/3 of a student's total cost of attending a university. Living on one's own rather than in the dorms is another way to cut costs. Working a low-wage job for a year before attending school is yet another alternative and a way to save money for the high costs.

Sadly, many parents and prospective students view high education as an 'experience' (though it is rightly so), but neglect the most important factor- education. This causes them to enroll in expensive universities they cannot afford for the sake of not 'depriving' themselves of what all their friends will be doing. Many students simply take for granted the fact that they can attend such intstituions without weighing the costs- literally.

In order to lower the statistic of rising student debt, students and parents must come to realization that college is not free or a hand-out. Until then, expect the number to increase. And with the recession wearing many people thin, expect more people to default on payments.

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