Citizens Bank released its “Millennial Graduates in Debt” survey of 501 college graduates across the country, aged 18-35 who have student loan debt. Anna Orso at Billy Penn writes:
… a whopping 57 percent of respondents regret taking out as many student loans as they did while more than a third say they would never have gone to college if they would have known how much it was going to cost them.
Citizens also found that young people are making significant tradeoffs in their personal lives in order to pay down their student loan incurred post-college. Here are some of the trade-offs they made:
54 percent have limited their travel …
40 percent have limited the amount they can spend on rent or mortgage payments
Takeaway: “…more than a third say they would never have gone to college if they would have known how much it was going to cost them.”
I think about numbers like these in the context of Penn State, where tuition has risen practically every year for decades resulting in a more beautiful campus and a larger research-focused institution, but has also resulted in the need for a $2 billion capital campaign largely focused on student scholarship support.
I’m involved with two fundraising efforts for Penn State scholarships at the moment, and I’m happy to be involved with both of them. But the biggest way that we can ensure students won’t ever graduate wishing that they “would never have gone” is to figure out the most reasonable way to freeze tuition more or less permanently, and genuinely do more with less.
(A small for-instance: as inflation causes salaries and related expenses to balloon, institutions should figure out ways to reduce costs through attrition and automation.)