Colleges encourage students to shop around as debt soars
STUDENT LOAN DEBT CONTINUES TO SOAR IN THIS COUNTRY. IT NOW STANDS AT A WHOPPING ONE-POINT-TWO TRILLION DOLLARS. GRADUATES OFTEN FACE YEARS OF LOAN PAYMENTS. AS STEVE BURGIN’S LATEST WLKY INVESTIGATION FOUND OUT, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ARE WORKING TO LET STUDENTS KNOW WHAT’S AHEAD. Steve Burgin says, In recent months, student debt in this country has been at the center of a national debate and for good reason, it tripled over an eight year period. 0113 13:08 James Ramsey/U of L President says, 50 per cent of our students graduate with no debt. 50 per cent have debt and average 20- thousand dollars. AND THAT’S BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, WHICH ACCORDING TO INDEPENDENT NON-PROFIT PROJECT STUDENT DEBT WAS 28-THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR THE CLASS OF 2013. THE AVERAGE FOR INDIANA SCHOOLS IS ABOUT THAT SAME AMOUNT. WHILE, KENTUCKY’S AVERAGE DEBT IS NEARLY 24-THOUSAND 700 DOLLARS. HENRY LUCAS AND HIS WIFE ELISE ARE SOCIAL WORKERS HERE IN LOUISVILLE. 7686 10:50:00 Henry Lucas/Attended U of L says, We are a little over 70- thousand dollars in debt as a married couple. I figure we will pay on that the next twenty, twenty five years. Maybe the rest of our lives. IN TWENTY THIRTEEN, THE LUCAS’ BOTH GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE KENT SCHOOL WITH MASTER DEGREES. LAST SUMMER, U OF L AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY WERE ORDERED TO PROMOTE A STRONGER COLLABORATION WITH STUDENTS WHEN IT COMES TO PAYING FOR SCHOOL. 4515 15:03:14 Jenny Sawyer/U of L Admissions Director says, The federal government actually requires institutions to use a tool for when students can actually see what it’s actually going to cost. What are going to be my direct costs to attend that institution compared versus costs. U OF L ADMISSIONS DIRECTOR JENNY SAWYER SAYS INCOMING FRESHMEN SHOULD SHOP FOR COLLEGE THE SAME WAY THEY WOULD SHOP FOR A CAR AND CONSIDER COMMUNITY COLLEGE AS AN ALTERNATIVE. BEN BLANFORD DID THAT BEFORE FINISHING UP AT THE UNIVERSITY OF INDIANA SOUTHEAST AND ACCUMULATING 20- THOUSANDS DOLLARS OF DEBT. AFTER FIVE YEARS OF MONTHLY PAYMENTS, BLANFORD DECIDED TO CASH IN HIS RETIREMENT ACCOUNT. 4247 9:56:43 Why did you decide to take that route? Ben Blanford says, I didn’t want to face that monthly payment, whatever it was 2- hundred over the next 20 years. If you spread all that with interest, you are almost doubling your debt. BLANFORD GOT A DEGREE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE. HE’S NOW A REALTOR. JOSH CLAUSER, WHO WENT TO A COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND A COUPLE OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS, SAYS HE IS NOW OVERWHELMED WITH STUDENT DEBT. 9095 15:03:52 Josh Clauser says, How mine got to ninety thousand dollars, I have no degree. I have absolutely no degree. Yes, I am hounded every day, every week by the federal government and people wanting me to repay these loans. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS CALLED FOR FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE TUITITION AS LONG AS STUDENTS MAINTAIN THE GRADES. U OF L PRESIDENT JOHN RAMSEY SAYS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE AVAILABLE IN SCHOLARSHIPS, INCLUDING THE SCHOOL’S CARDINAL COVENANT PROGRAM WHICH PROVIDES AID TO LOW INCOME STUDENTS. FINANCIALLY, HENRY LUCAS WISHES THERE HAD BEEN A DIFFERENT WAY. 7586 10:52:40 Henry Lucas/U or L Graduate says, For me, I’m the only one with any kind of college degree. So for me, looking back, there was no other and it was absolutely worth it. Steve Burgin says, Schools across Kentucky are getting ready to raise tuition on average 3 per cent. u of l is also planning a 3 per cent hike and just waiting for approval. The increases actually are the smallest they’ve been in more than a decade. Steve Burgin WLKY News.