Tuition Hikes Lead to A Large Amount of Student Debt
By: Dyan Pease, SCC Campus Representative
There were many interesting workshops at the CFT Convention in Manhattan Beach this year. One particularly useful session was about the student debt crisis. We all know that students at the community college level are not immune from the growing pile of debt required to gain an education in California. However, what surprised me were the numbers, as presented by Chris Hicks, a debt-free future campaign organizer working for Jobs with Justice. According to Chris, since 1978 tuition in the United States has increased 1,120%, the result of which is most students must take out student loans in order to pay for their education. Student loan debt was the only kind of household debt that rose through the Great Recession and now totals more than credit card or auto loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
As a matter of fact, in the U.S. today there is $1.2 trillion in student loan debt (public and private combined) held by approximately 40 million Americans, or 25% of the U.S. workforce. Of the 20 million current college students, 60% will take out student loans annually to pay for college related expenses. According to experts, this massive student loan liability is contributing to the widening of the gap between rich and everyone else. According to Chris, this is an equity issue as well since students of color are more likely to borrow to pay for school than white students.
Once finished with school, students face years of student loan debt repayment that often keeps them from taking on other types of debt, such as mortgages, and puts them behind when it comes to investing for their futures. According to Chris part of the solution will come from programs designed to ease the burden, such as income-based repayment (IBR). If this is a topic that interests you, read more about it at the Jobs with Justice Website at http://www.jwj.org .