The $1.5 trillion problem

File Photo
Today’s students are turning to cost effective means by which to obtain their college educations.

■ Chronicle News Staff

In an online article written by Senior Contributor, Personal Finance, Zack Friedman on the Forbes website writes:

Student loan debt in 2019 has reached a record high. The latest student loan debt statistics for 2019 show how serious the student loan debt crisis has become for borrowers across all demographics and age groups. There are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone. Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category behind only mortgage debt. And, higher than both credit cards and auto loans. Borrowers in the Class of 2017, on average, owe $28,650, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

Imagine graduating with a debt load roughly equal to an entry-level annual salary?
And, the group most severely affected by this financial condition are those between the ages 19 –29. This age group is one trillion dollars in debt, the majority of which is attributed to the rising costs of tuition and housing associated with earning a two or four year degree. As cited in College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing,” students at public four-year institutions paid an average of $3,190 in tuition for the 1987-1988 school year, with prices adjusted to reflect 2017 dollars. Thirty years later, that average has risen to $9,970 for the 2017-2018 school year. That’s a 213 percent increase.
The difference is stark at private schools, as well. In 1988, the average tuition for a private nonprofit four-year institution was $15,160. For the 2017-2018 school year, it’s $34,740, which is a 129 percent increase.
So this begs the question: is a college education an investment in one’s future? Should students knowingly go into debt to secure a job that pays a significant ROI? Students on average still believe so, as the numbers can attest. Employers still use the criteria of a degree as a measure of commitment to a career path, thus determining the success of the potential employee as well. Most employers still hold the common belief that, they too, are investing in the employee when they hire someone right out of college.
However, entry-level salaries have not increased at the same rate as tuition and housing. In fact, during that same 30 year span, entry-level salaries have only increased by 5.9 percent per year.
Still, there is significant information available to suggest that having a college education leads to higher salaries throughout a person’s career. Today’s students are turning to cost effective means by which to obtain their college educations.
Mostly everyone is familiar with online colleges such as University of Phoenix, Ashford University and Purdue Global. These online options are becoming ever more present and ever more popular in our increasingly technology-driven society. However, even without a brick and mortar facility adding to the cost of an online education the costs of these programs are still relatively high. The annual tuition for each of these schools is anywhere from $11,250 to $14,395 respectively.
Without assistance from family or scholarships and even working part-time, students are finding it increasingly difficult to fund their educations. Contrast this to Hemet’s own College for All four-year program. Annual tuition is $5,988 with a scholarship. Students can start the program at any time of the year with a combination of classroom and online courses. They offer dual enrollment, so high school and middle school students can earn college credits while still in school.
College For All is recognized by the College Board as a certified CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and DSST (Dantes Subject Standardized Test) testing location. Testing locations are found in most major cities around the world. Students enrolled in the College For All program can study remotely and test at any certified testing location for greater flexibility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *