College Student Debt Getting Worse According To Reports

By
Fred Kight

Dateline
Updated Sun, Nov 18, 2012 6:44 pm

Nearly seven of 10 Ohio students who graduate from college have at least some student loan debt. 

The average amount for those who earned a bachelor's degree is more than $28,000. 
 
For Ohio University graduates, that debt average is about $27,000. 
 
This debt problem is getting worse, according to a recent report by the Project on Student Debt.
 
Valerie Miller, Director of Ohio University's Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, says more borrowing is brought on by higher costs. 
 
"Over the course of time, we've seen costs in education rising and that coupled with the economy and family savings for college being hit hard by that economy [has caused] students and families to turn to student loans to help bridge that gap," said Miller.
 
Miller says Ohio University is committed to need-based financial aid for students, which has helped students make better decisions about borrowing.
 
She says they've done this by putting indirect or direct costs on the award letters so that families can understand what they're getting billed for versus what they may want to pay for through a loan or a student employment position.
 
Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor has been pushing Ohio's public colleges to keep their costs down and he pledges to find ways to move students through school more quickly to reduce their debt.
 
Miller points out that college graduates for the most part are better employed than those without a college degree.
 
"The thing that we want to keep in mind for students coming into school is that it's an investment in your future to pay for those costs," said Miller.
 
Miller says that students should meet every year with the financial aid office to find out what would work best for them.  
 
Through its Gateway Award Program for freshman, Ohio University offers a range of assistance, from $500 awards all the way up to full in-state scholarships.
 
The Project on Student Debt recommends the federal government provide information to students and families to help them make wise decisions, such information as what the average debt is at all colleges that receive federal funding.
 
The report also says the government should increase need-based grants and tax aid, and require school certification of all private loans to curb unnecessary risky borrowing. 
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