Each year, it’s getting hard and harder for students and their families to afford college tuition. The economy has had a rough past decade, and the effects of that are evident in many ways: unemployment rates soaring, job position and salary cuts, inflation, struggling federal programs like public schools, and more. As the level of funding from state and federal governments goes down for public schools and universities, many universities and private schools are finding that they have to increase tuition prices just to keep their heads above water.
But that’s directly exacerbating another problem on the education front. Students and families are also struggling financially, which means that they can no longer afford to pay for school tuition on their own. Moody’s Investor Service, led by CEO Raymond McDaniel, announced Tuesday March 19th that more students and families are saving less and relying on private loans to pay for the cost of school.
“There’s a gap between family’s savings and the cost of a four-year degree,” said David Jacobsen of Moody’s. “Colleges are under a lot of pressure to grow their financial aid, the result of which is a weaker net tuition revenue growth.”
While last year saw a decrease in student loans taken out, there was a big increase in private loans—taken out by families and individual students. Now students will not only be coming out of school riddled with thousands of dollars in low-interest student loan debt, but they and their families will also owe on higher-interest private loans.
The total student loan debt currently exceeds the national credit card debt amount, with an estimated $1 trillion total—not counting interest. The average college graduate in 2011 had about $26,000 in student loans, according to NBC News. More and more, students have finances on their minds and consciousness. Many work while attending school full-time and are still unable to come out of school debt free.