In this day and age it seems that colleges and universities have turned into businesses more than state financed institutions of higher education. Ever since the recession started in 2008 enrollment has been on the rise which has led to colleges and universities almost fighting to get their share of the students, not caring how students paid for their education or how much debt they left their school with. With all of that going on it’s refreshing to see a school that is taking a stand and telling it’s students that it does care how it’s students pay for school and that it doesn’t want and in fact won’t allow it’s students to leave their campus in a financial black hole.
Most schools don’t care how students pay for their tuition which is why in 2010 college seniors graduated with student loans owed an average of $25,250, which was up five percent from the previous year. In addition to students leaving school with debt, parents have worked to help their children get through school and have found themselves with an average of $34,000 in student loans that they have taken out for their children.
In addition to the rising tuition costs students find themselves it a bit of a vicious cycle when it comes to their education. As more and more people have been laid off as a result of the recession, many of them returned to school to seek out higher education as an attempt to hide from the storm in hopes that by the time they were done getting the degree there would be a plethora of jobs waiting for them on the other side only to find that there aren’t any more jobs than there were when they went back to school but even worse there are now more
people just like them that are qualified degree holders who are now fighting for the same jobs.
In hopes of putting an end to this vicious cycle of debt The College of the Ozarks which is a private, evangelical Christian school in Missouri made news this week by no longer accepting applicants who need to take out student loans. When school officials were asked why they are no longer accepting these applicants Jerry Davis, president of the four-year school, told Reuters that “Debt is a big problem all over the country,” and that “Kids nowadays are not very sophisticated with money.”
While students being unsophisticated with their finances is an issue, it’s only part of the problem. The other huge issue is the rising increase in tuition costs. According to the U.S. department of education the average cost of a four-year college topped $22,000 for the 2010-20011 academic year which is almost triple what students paid just two decades ago.
While the College of the Ozarks isn’t cheap by any means, it’s below the average. Tuition for the 2012-2013 academic year is $17,900 which still seems like more than a student could handle on their own by trying to work part time and go to school full time. Even if they dedicated their entire summer to working full time it’d be difficult to earn enough money to cover tuition and living expenses for the entire year.
Even though it might be difficult to come up with the money, the school has taken a “tough love” approach when it comes to students seeking out loans. The schools president has said that, “This is a work college, not a debt college.” In addition to that the school’s president has said that it no longer works with students or banks in covering costs via loans, which is set to affect only about 99 current students because they currently carry private loans to offset some of their costs as far as boarding.
How do you feel about this schools approach to student loans? Leave your thoughts in the comment section down below.