Taking steps to avoid crushing debt upon graduation
College tuition is steadily growing at a national rate of 5 percent each year, but the amount of student debt for 2011 college graduates is 8 percent higher than last year’s. As counselors at Consolidated Credit get more and more inquiries regarding student debt, they advise incoming college freshmen to evaluate their budget and spending habits to avoid contributing to the upward-spiraling debt trend.
The 2010-2011 annual tuition for an in-state four-year public school is roughly $16,000; for out-of-state students it’s $28,000 according to a report from the College Board. For those students attending private institutions tuition is estimated at $36,000.
2011 college graduates are leaving school with close to $23,000 in debt – that’s the highest number we’ve ever seen. The students starting college this year, the class of 2015, are going to have to be very careful when choosing loans and fining funding for their education to avoid being victims of high interest loans and fees.
With the increasing cost of college, a growing number of students are forced to look at alternate methods of funding. More than 65 percent of students use loans to finance their education. As of December 2010, student debt has accumulated to $530 billion.
Consolidated Credit offers advice to incoming freshmen who wish to avoid years of paying back debt.
1. Off-campus vs. On-campus
For a double-dorm at many state universities the cost can run about $2,500 per semester. This means sharing a room with one other roommate, a communal restroom with 25 people and a kitchen with 50. Renting an off-campus apartment with two other people may cost $1,800-$2,000 a semester and each roommate would have their own private room.
2. Community college
More and more high school graduates are attending community colleges for the first two years of college before transferring over to a university. For example, one credit hour at South Florida Community College is $99.55 for residents and $375.58 for out-of-state students. For a public university near the same area, Florida Atlantic University for example, it costs $177.65 per credit hour for in-state and $657.17 for out-of-state students. Undergraduates are allowed to transfer to a university after 60 credits from a community college and finish their degree at a university (typically 60-64 more credits). In the end, the degree is certified from the university.
Textbooks cost from $500-$1,000 per semester for a full-time student (12-15 credits). The average cost of one textbook is $61.66. The majority of students will purchase used textbooks from their school’s bookstore, but not enough students take the time to check online for less expensive books. Multiple professors teach the same course, especially with general education classes. Each educator chooses which books, if any, to implement.