Voice of America released an article April 23 discussing how much debt college students face. In today’s age, a college is vital for success in almost any profession, and unfortunately, students’ ability to attend college is greatly limited due to the high costs tuition. To manage the large price tag of a college education, students take out private or federal loans, and after graduation, students face paying off tens of thousands of dollars in loans back to their lenders.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank, students leave college with an average of $34,000 in debt and just 10 years ago the average was $20,000. These numbers show that the cost of a college education is raising annually, putting more students in debt for longer amounts of time. On top of rising tuition rates, many college students encounter difficulties in finding a good job after graduation that will help pay off their debt.
Some politicians are starting to take a closer look at the issue of student loans, and places like the state of New York are doing something about it. In early April, New York legislature approved a program titled the Excelsior Scholarship, which allows students from low income families to attend public and state universities in New York for greatly reduced prices. A New York Times article published on April 11, estimates that the average total cost for attending a four-year New York state university is almost $83,000. The Excelsior Scholarship could reduce that amount by as much as $26,000 over four years for families whose annual income is less than $100,000 a year.
While this is a good start for make a college degree accessible to those who cannot afford it, the Excelsior program only works as a last resort, on top of students’ grant and scholarships. It also will not apply to living expenses on top of students’ room and board as well as books and supply costs, which often are extremely expensive as well. Also, as it will only help a small amount of qualifying students, this program will not be making sweeping changes in New York college costs, but it is a step in the right direction.
New York’s Excelsior program has flaws, but many hope for it to be a model to other states in order to make a college education more affordable for those who wouldn’t be able to attend college without substantial aid.