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Student Loan Debt In The United States
The nation is still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, even though economists are reporting that it is over. The jobless rate is still hovering around 9%, the economy is the main concern for more and more Americans, and political pundits are predicting a tough re-election campaign for Barrack Obama if things don’t change soon.
One of the major sectors in the country taking a hit is students graduating from debt-ridden four-year colleges as they enter their careers. And with the economy as it is, many students cannot find jobs or high-paying jobs, so debt becomes even more of a burden that can last for years. Many graduate students may find themselves in default on their loans. It’s not a very good way to start your adult life.
The average cost of a four-year public college for a student who lives in the state is $7,605 per year. The average cost of a four-year public college for an out-of-state student is $11,990 per year. And the average cost of a four-year for-profit college is @27,293 per year. And that’s for classes and room and board. There are other costs related to school attendance that are not covered. These include indirect costs such as books, supplies, travel, personal expenses, off-campus meals, etc. All of this increases the burden on the student.
As a result, many students graduate from college with $20,000 in student loan debt. This would represent a 108% increase in just 10 years. Even students graduating from a two-year technical school end up with $10,000 in debt. Additionally, graduate students trying to earn a law or medical degree are saddled with debts of up to $100,000. Earning potential in the fields of medicine and law is said to be directly related to their debt. Yet these graduate students begin their careers doing what is called grunt work as residents or as assistants to established attorneys. You can’t expect to make enough money to tackle debt early with jobs like this.
The US Department of Education recently released a report that indicates recent student loan default rates have increased nearly 2% from the previous year. According to the report, for every student who graduated and started repaying a loan in October 2008, 8.9% were in default on their loan by the end of 2010. This represents a 7% increase in students who stopped repaying their loan in October 2008. comparison with 2007.
Some who are familiar with this problem say that one of the main reasons it happens is that students who get loans simply don’t understand the loan process. In short, they are financially illiterate 18-year-old high school students who don’t know how to finance their studies. As a result, they take out expensive and confusing loans.
A major topic at a recent Florida Association of Student Financial Aid conference in Naples, Florida discussed ways to educate students about borrowing money. In addition, the process of obtaining a student loan is becoming increasingly difficult. Fewer high-need students are reported to be able to secure Pell Grant loans as the current economic situation and resulting tighter budgets cause groups like Pell to offer fewer loans. States are also feeling the crisis. For example, in Florida, the Bright Futures scholarship program had to reduce the scholarships it offers. Students in the first group of recipients will receive $3,030 next year for a 30-hour course load. This is a decrease of 19% compared to the previous year.
And all of this is about to have a negative impact on schools. New federal government rules just announced could block many colleges from accessing student aid money in a so-called crackdown on schools that leave their students dry with too much debt and do nothing to improve their job prospects. The new rules include regulations that for-profit schools must follow to access federal financial aid. If graduates owe too much of a percentage of their income or if too few graduates of a given school repay their loans on time, that school could lose access to Pell Grants and other federal student aid. As a result, the schools concerned will find it more difficult to attract students. This could be a blow to a school as it is said that up to 90% of a school’s income can come from government aid. Under the new rules, schools will be able to receive federal financial aid if at least 35% of its alumni repay their loans. Additionally, the estimated annual loan payment for a typical graduate should not exceed 30% of the graduate’s Discretionary Income, calculated as 12% of their total earnings.
Many believe such rules will make it harder for minorities and students from low-income families to access funding options and thus limit the schools they can afford to attend.
There are scholarship programs that will prevent a student from falling into the debt trap. There are grants available which are categorized as student-specific, subject-specific, degree-level, and minority. Common sources of grants include federal and state governments, colleges and universities, and public and private organizations.
Federal grant programs to check include the Pell Grant, the Academic Competitiveness Grant, and the National Science and Mathematics Access Grant to Retain Talent. State grants include state-administered grant programs. For example, Michigan’s grant programs are designed to help a cross-section of students, including general undergraduates, academically gifted students, low-income, and non-traditional mature students. Florida offers scholarships to underprivileged, disabled, Hispanic, and “college-talented” individuals.
Minority organizations also offer grants. There are scholarship programs for African American students, Hispanic scholarship programs, Native American scholarship programs, and Asian American scholarship programs. There are also scholarship programs for women.
Additionally, some groups offer scholarships in a broader general category, including low-income and disabled students, scholarship programs for graduate and doctoral students, scholarships for undergraduate students, and scholarships for college students. soldiers and families.
Finally, there are subject-specific grants, grants to get an education in a high-need area like health and teaching.
In conclusion, if you need finance to go to college or graduate school, find out about the student loan process before you get started, and once you have a good idea of how things work, research and study the options, including scholarship programs that provide you with money that you are not expected to repay.
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