A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York states that student loan delinquency rates are much higher than previous estimates. Although conventional measurements indicate around 15 percent of student loan accounts are past due, the new report suggests that as many as one in four student loan borrowers might be delinquent in repayments. In addition, total student loan balances are now at $870 billion — higher than the nation’s credit card debt and higher than total car loan debt.
The value of higher education has been drilled into every graduating high school senior, so one can sympathize with students who view debt as an acceptable method to obtain a diploma. Still, the choices made by students will ultimately determine how much debt they accumulate. and a lot of bad choices are being made.
Many students begin their educations without a clear idea of what they want to do, how much money they will earn, and how much it will cost them to live as a responsible adult. They just know that they need a degree.
Educators in both four-year institutions and community colleges are smart, talented people who want to deliver a quality product. We encourage them to aggressively pursue new ideas to address the affordability of higher education. The issue is vital to the nation’s future.
The Grand Island (Neb.) Independent (March 14)