As financial burden rises, college students question value of education


At a time when the burden of financing a college education is getting more costly for students, a growing number of undergraduates don’t think the value of the instruction they are getting is keeping up with the exorbitant price.

That’s the grim takeaway from a new study from Ascent, a private student loan provider.

Roughly 60 percent of undergraduates between ages 18 and 24 enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program that have taken out student loans say they are responsible for covering more than half of the total cost of their education, the survey found.

However, more than half (51.7 percent) said they do not think the “value of a college education has kept up with the cost.”

And the cost of tuition and room-and-board for both public colleges and private ones continued to rise in the 2017-2018 school year, according to the College Board. The average tab at a four-year in-state public college rose 3.1 percent to $20,770, and the cost at private institutions jumped 3.5 percent to $46,950.

Not only are students paying for a bigger part of the bill, 47.2 percent said they will need to cover more of their college costs than they originally thought, the Ascent survey found.

More: Piggybacking on good credit: Things to consider before co-signing a student loan

More: How some students are lowering or avoiding college tuition and student loans

The combination of higher costs and students who think they are getting less return on their college investment is a double whammy.

“People now regularly view education as an expense, rather than an investment,” said Ken Ruggiero, chairman and CEO of Goal Structured Solutions, the administrator of Ascent Student Loans.

Other survey findings:

  • More than one-third (33.9 percent) of student said between $20,000 and $49,999 would be a “reasonable amount” of student loan debt to have upon graduation.
  • Only one out of five (21.1 percent) know that the average monthly payment for student loans is “more than $200 a month.”
  • Just 32 percent know that interest begins accruing on the date the loan funds are disbursed.

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