Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; College Debt Continues to Be a Burden

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; College Debt Continues to Be a Burden

Article excerpt

Surprise, more young adults are living with their parents than during the recession.

Almost one-third of Americans 18 to 34 live with their parents compared to 27 percent during the recession, reported the U.S. Census.

Blame the high cost of college. Young people are marrying and having children later in part because they are financially independent.

Many of their parents were not faced with exorbitant college debt.

The sad fact is that tuition at a public university costs four times more today than it did in 1974, reports The New York Times.

For the typical middle-class student who doesn't receive much financial aid, it means going into debt and then living with the parents after graduation.

So what happened? State government support for higher education has plummeted at the same time that states went on prison-building booms.

Also, a college education is becoming the new minimum credential for a promising future.

At the end of World War II, just half of all Americans had a high school education. From 1900 to 1980, every generation of Americans had more than two years or more of schooling than the one preceding it.

The United States was the world's most educated country. That has changed. Now the U.S. ranks No. 14 for college attainment among those 25 to 34.

The amount of outstanding student loans has skyrocketed 76 percent to almost $1.2 trillion since 2009, reports The Los Angeles Times.

Almost 40 million consumers have student loans and the average debt was $29,000, reported Experian.

So it's no surprise that parents say paying for their children's college education is the top worry of parents, reports Gallup.

Frankly, it's too easy to obtain student loans and too difficult to pay them off.

Students ought to receive credit counseling starting in high school that lays out their options.

Should they commute? Attend a community college? Apply for a work-study program? Take as many college credit courses as possible in high school?

A program available in the Duval County public schools is the best deal around - a high school student can graduate from high school with an associate's degree. If a student is pursuing a career that will require a master's degree, then save the college debt for postgraduate school.

The worst deal of all is to drop out from college with a load of debt and no degree. That often is the result of being unable to pay for it. Also, some four-year schools have better graduation records than others. The elite schools, for instance, have huge endowments.

Some colleges do a better job with guidance and support. That is why smart students and parents choose colleges wisely.

Some state university systems have cumulate graduation rates below 50 percent (Arkansas, Montana and Alaska), The New York Times reported. …

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