Does the idea of attending a state school seem like a total no-brainer? Well, if you're up for drowning in a sea of student loan bills that will take YEARS to pay off, then check out this new report that lists the top ten schools with the most student debt.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, New York University leads the list of for-profit schools with over 659 million dollars of student debt (whichGawker has oh-so-helpfully pointed out is bigger than twelve other countries gross domestic product), while USC, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue, Rutgers, University of Minnesota, University of Texas, and Arizona State University make up the rest of the list.
While bigger schools obviously cost more money, we have some theories as to why the debt-to-student ratio seems so much higher than some private and famous Ivy League schools like Harvard:
1. Sucky Finacial Aid Offerings
Expensive schools attract well-to-do families, lower income, and minority students(who qualify for Pell Grants and Federal Aid). So where does that leave the rest of us? According to one Gawker.com poster, NYU offered him a measly eight-hundred dollars to offset his forty-eight thousand dollar tuition! Ridiculous as that sounds, some students are willing to take out huge loans just for the cache of saying they attended a well-known university or college.
2. It's All About Branding
Why would a well-known school with a famous rep bother with huge financial aid packages? They know they can attract those who can afford to pay, plus let us not forget these universities and colleges are FOR profit — meaning they're a business like everyone else and they need to make money to stay out of the red.
3. You Can't Fight the Economy
The term "less is more" has never been more apparent given the number of tuition hikes we've seen around the country lately. Families can't afford to send their kids to out-of-state schools, community colleges are experiencing double digit increases in enrollement, which means many students might not have a choice as to which college they attend. If your only option was an expensive in-state school with a stellar reputation or a so-so community college that didn't offer your major of choice, what would you do? A hundred thousand dollar student loan might not sound like a lot when spread over ten years, but add in a twenty-two percent interest rate PLUS an unemployment rate that's steadily climbing, and what you have is a recipe for disaster.
When it comes to college, you shouldn't have to gamble on an education to ensure a bright future. We say don't buy the hype and try to find some happy middle ground. While you may dream of going to a state school, it might be better to stick close to home for your first two years BEFORE you find yourself stuck in a neverending cycle of debt.