U.S. Student Loan Debt Piling Up

As the cost of college tuition continues to rise, so does student debt.  A new report in the Wall Street Journal details the growing number of U.S. college graduates with more than one million dollars in federal student loan debt.  That number is now at 101, up from 14 just five years ago.  In addition, about 2.5 million graduates now have at least $100,000 in debt. 

While major universities like UT-Austin raise tuition rates and student loan money flows like a raging river, many young people coming into college don't get the full picture of what they are signing up for financially.  "There is so much that's kept in the dark by these schools," says Marty Nemko, higher education consultant and career coach.  "Not only the actual true cost, but the actual number of years it takes for students to graduate."  He tells KTRH that 40 percent of all college undergraduate freshman end up never graduating.

For those reasons, Nemko recommends young people attend junior college for their first two years out of high school.  "One gets a better education at a community college--at least spending your first two years there--than at a fancy research university that's very expensive," he says.  "At the community college, students are taught by professors who are paid exclusively based on how well they teach, rather than how much arcane research they can do."

Not only is starting at junior college cheaper, but it better prepares young people for university life and enhances their chances for success when they get to a big school, according to Nemko.  "You'll save money, get better education, and have a couple more years in the hot house with parental supervision, so you are more likely to graduate college later," he says.

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