Our View: the cost is higher, education
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 17:10
From books, to gasoline, ramen noodles, college tuition and fees money can a point of contention at any university.
Student debt and the cost of education is a major national issue, and one that received plenty of attention this summer as congress passed legislation reducing the subsidized loan interest rate from 6.8 percent to 3.68 percent.
Thankfully Congress pulled through to solve the interest problem, but high interest rates on loans is just one factor of the extraordinarily high cost of higher education.
The state of Arkansas finds itself in the middle of the pack for student debt averages. According to College in Sight research in 2011, the state of Arkansas is ranked 34th out of 50 for average student debt, and is ranked 29th overall when it comes to the proportion of students with debt.
This average debt load comes in at a staggering $23,048 which is then shared by 56 percent of the student population. This simply means some students have a lot more debt than their classmates, and there students who have found ways to pay for school outside of student loans are in the minority.
When the debt is broken down into specific campuses A-State is slightly below the state average at $20,000 but the number of students with debt increases by 12 percent to 68 percent.
The irony of A-State’s student debt is how little money we save from the larger more expensive school in the University of Arkansas. At the University of Arkansas the average debt of graduates in 2011 was $23,111, only $53 more on average than A-State. The percentage of their student body with debt was also a lot lower, only at 45 percent, making A-States debt load spread on more students.
It is important to have a basic understanding of how much our university costs and how much student debt we should expect to accrue while attending. When we are focused on how much money we are spending on our education we should immediately become more inquisitive of our rising tuition and fees.
Just this year alone our university added two new fees which, to a surprise for some students, will help build our universities new indoor football field and Student Activity Center.
When students are trying to save pennies on date nights it seems ridiculous that we would not question our administrations building plans of non-essential state of the art athletic complexes.
Instead of trying to match the University of Arkansas’ football prowess let’s work on something to lower the cost of higher education for our student population.
The Chancellor, Tim Hudson’s Biography boasts, “He leads the campus as we strive for progressive excellence in academics, research, fiscal management and student life.” There is no mention of football, but the unspoken focus on athletics has distracted our administrations focus on their core goals.
I would be more proud of my university if we were known to give a world class education for a fraction of the price, then I would be if we bought ourselves another bowl game win.
“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of ASU.