This week Patricia Sanders, a freelance financial writer offered to contribute a story about the student loan debt load problem.
How severe is student loan debt condition in our nation
Decades ago, college education cost was affordable for most of the students in our nation, but now the situation has changed. Presently, completing higher education is a matter of huge financial cost and next to impossible without taking out student loans.
As per recent data on student debt, almost 69% students, who completed graduation from public and non-profit colleges in 2014, have student loan debt. The debt amount was an average of $28,950 per borrower. From 2004 – 2014 the percentage of graduates with debt remain 65%-69%, but the average debt burden at the time of graduation has increased significantly.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York , in our country, students owe nearly $1,232 trillion debt over the past decades. As per the latest report, issued in the month of May 2016, Americans added nearly $29 billion student loan debt in the last quarter. Whereas, they added $120 billion in mortgage debt and $7 billion in auto debt respectively. However, the good sign is that, in the last quarter, Americans lowered their credit card debt by $21 billion.
The impact of student loan debt
There’s a big question people are raising in our nation: Is college a fruitful investment? Is the standard of education worth the total costs and the effort? Young adults are becoming concerned because the cost of college education is rapidly becoming beyond their means.
So, most middle-class students have only one option- taking out student loans.
Unfortunately, graduation doesn’t guarantee a good job. The Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2015 shows that students are graduating with a mean debt burden of
Shocking news is, during an online survey held on July 2-July 19, 2016, about 1,220 recently graduated students agreed that the huge student loan debt is preventing them from fulfilling their dreams.
They are unable to buy a home, find a good job and start a new family. The list doesn’t end here, the huge debt load is influencing their employment plans, forcing them to accept a job outside their field, and to work in their leisure time as well.
Why is student loan debt increasing excessively?
One of the most significant reasons is, the government support for higher education is insufficient for increasing college costs. As a result, the burden of paying college cost has shifted from government to families. States have significantly cut back on support for their public college’s and universities, formerly a good low-cost option for students.
Secondly, family income hasn’t increased since the year 2000. A student has no other choice than borrowing more money to pay college cost. Many students choose low-cost community colleges and might settle for 2-year degrees which don’t prepare students as well for the job market.
Best ways to tackle the rising cost of college?
Awareness always works best. So, increasing national awareness of rising college cost is important. Colleges and Universities should track the debt burden on their alumni immediately after graduation and in later years. This information should be published so incoming students can use this to compare schools. All students who take loans should be provided counseling so they understand the impact of the debt burden they are taking on.
Creating a fully balanced system is also recommended. To make it happen, student loan forgiveness programs take the lead. A borrowing limit should be set for the students. Thus, a student must know what career path they need to choose to qualify for loan forgiveness.
In this context, colleges should be provided tools to set a borrowing limit. They should set criteria to qualify for borrowing student loan. For example, students who are enrolled full-time should be able to borrow a higher amount than students who are enrolled half-time. However, college administrators must be given permission to set this criteria.
Finally, experts also suggest that a student should understand the difference between loans and grants in college aid packages. College financial aid offices should take proper steps to help them understand the distinction in a better way. Thus, the future scenario of student loan debt can be different from today.
This post is contributed by Patricia Sanders who blogs and writes for the Debt Consolidation Care Community