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Debt remains a primary concern for college students


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In the current competitive job market, there can be little doubt that a college degree provides necessary leverage in the job search. While many employers expect prospective applicants to possess a bachelor's degree, this may be difficult for some applicants as the cost of attending college has never been higher. According to the Princeton Review's recent "Hopes and Worries" survey, this is a matter of concern for many students preparing for college.

An uncertain future
Key findings of the study revealed how students feel about higher education in relation to the current economy. More than 80 percent of respondents said the economy affected their decision to apply to or attend college, and 63 percent of students estimated they would spend more than $75,000 on tuition, room and board, fees and materials by the time they graduate.

Many students also indicated that financial aid was crucial to their chances of graduating successfully. Approximately 89 percent of survey participants said financial aid was either "extremely" or "very important" to paying for their education, with just 1 percent of respondents indicating student aid was not an issue.

Regardless of the high cost of a college education, 51 percent of student respondents cited getting a better job or earning a higher income as the biggest benefit of earning a college diploma. More than half of the parents surveyed felt their children had a better chance of attaining a good-paying job by graduating from college.

Balancing acts
Student debt and the cost of higher education has become one of the most urgent issues facing the U.S. in recent years. With stubbornly high unemployment figures marring overall economic growth, colleges and the federal government have faced increased pressure to make higher education more affordable and accessible.

Students have become increasingly reliant on student loans and other forms of financial aid. According to The New York Times, U.S. financial analytics firm Moody's estimates that the burden of student loan debt increased by 55 percent during the decade leading up to the end of 2012. For students preparing for college, this means choosing a school wisely, and seriously considering the cost implications of this decision as it affects both academic and career success.

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