Are students taking more loans?

By Kevin Durso
February 7, 2013

Student loans are one of many ways to pay your way through college. It sounds like a short-term solution: borrow the money needed for tuition, room and board, meal plans and so on and get a degree.

It is hardly that simple.

There are approximately 1,300 students enrolled at Cabrini according to the campus website. There are 25.5 million undergraduate students in the United States getting student loans to fund their college education.

But are more students taking out more loans or borrowing more money? Statistics say that neither has really increased all too greatly.

According to the College Board website, the first decline in nearly 20 years for total education borrowing occurred from 2010-11 to 2011-12. However, that total quickly rose again. The amount of $113.4 billion is 24 percent higher than it was just five years ago.

However, numbers also indicate that student debt is falling based on loans. Of students borrowing from 2003-04, only two percent had loans of more than $50,000. More than 40 percent of students at that time didn’t take a federal loan and another 25 percent borrowed under $10,000.

Debt upon graduation is still a problem and perhaps growing. In 2010-11, 57 percent of graduating students from public, four-year colleges had some form of debt. Their debt averaged approximately $24,000.

The numbers increased upon graduating with a degree from a private, nonprofit college. The average debt of a student at a nonprofit college was approximately $30,000.

In the last school year, 2011-12, students received an average of $13,218 per full-time equivalent.

But there has also been a sharp decline in loans as well. The growth rate of education loans has sharply decreased in the past decade. In 2001-02, the total growth rate was 150 percent. Within five years, that number decreased to 94 percent. Now it sits at 24 percent.

In that time, federal grants have nearly tripled, rising from 20 percent to 26 percent, and students are graduating with larger debts and struggling to find ways to pay them off in the early stages of joining the work force.

The numbers vary, however, in terms of situation. Students from private institutions are borrowing less frequently than students attending public colleges. However, graduates also have to default more, according to statistics. 9.1 percent of borrowers in 2009-10 defaulted on their payments of federal loans. This rate was the highest since 1996, but has also been higher in the past, reaching 22 percent in 1990.

The student loan system still causes great student debt, but a lot of that comes down to what is borrowed from the federal government and how students choose to manage payments or the amount of loans they choose to use for their college education.

Kevin Durso

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