College costs pose a challenge

Monday, December 16, 2013

New numbers about college costs and student debt provide a sobering reminder of the importance of planning for college and informing students about the realities of those costs. The numbers also provide a caution for college leaders to redouble efforts to hold down costs.

The average student debt of a graduating college senior in 2008 was $23,450, the Institute for College Access & Success says in a new report that looks at public and private nonprofit four-year institutions. By 2012 the average debt load for new grads had climbed to $29,400.

The indebted aren’t a small minority of those new graduates, either. Sixty-eight percent of U.S. college students finished classes with school-related debt in 2008. By 2012, that figure had risen to 70 percent. The 2012 figure for Nebraska students was 63 percent; in Iowa, 71 percent.

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