I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit weary of news headlines at the moment. Of course, as a former journalist, I understand why they are so doom and gloomy. After all, we must be an informed citizenry and the unpleasantness going on the world is news. Since I like to keep up with current events I continue to scan headlines often.
A New York Times headline really caught my eye the other day – “Placing the Blame as Students are Buried in Debt” – and I immediately stopped what I was doing to read.
It was shocking. It tells the story of a young woman determined to get a degree from a top college, assuming it would be worth it in the end. Well, she now has a degree from New York University that cost her nearly $100,000, and a job in San Francisco that pays her $22 an hour working for a photographer. She attends night school to defer her loan payments while interest is accruing. How on earth she will ever dig out is beyond her.
And it is a tragedy, because who in life can start out with that kind of debt and terrible credit history?
Is it the student for continuously feeding the tuition monster of a private university? Is it her mother who co-signed for some of her daughter’s loans thinking the payoff would be worth it? The banks, perhaps, for still lending a student huge sums of money, or financial aid advisors? These are all worthy things to consider because I certainly don’t have the answers.
What I do know is that ultimately, while higher education is worth it, bankrupting yourself to achieve it is not.
There are scholarship opportunities out there, but it takes some due diligence to find them and apply. There are also Pell Grants and other federal aid that does not have to be repaid.
The cost of a degree from the College of Liberal Studies is broken down by credit hour. These rates fall far below that of a private or for-profit institution and, in my mind, the result is the same – a quality degree from a well-known university. When it comes to value, the Princeton Review ranks the University of Oklahoma in the top 10 in terms of academic excellence and affordability.
I feel an obligation to help students make knowledgeable choices about financial decisions. Help and assistance is out there, but you have to ask before you sign.
For information about assistance paying for school, please visit our scholarship page and keep an eye out for upcoming blog posts about your financial aid options.