As the total dollar figure climbs, more and more attention is being paid to student loan debt in the U.S. Recent news revealed that from 2004 to 2014, the cost of higher education that college students are shouldering through loans has risen by 56 percent.
Many students, and others, are calling for free public college as one solution as well as forgiveness of current debt, both of which offer interesting research paper topics to explore in terms of their economic and societal impact.
Latest student loan debt figures
The thing about student loan debt isn’t that more college students are taking advantage of loans to pay for their education, it’s that the amounts they are borrowing are significantly higher. The figure cited above comes from the 10th annual report from The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), which also revealed that 65 percent of students took out student loans in 2004 versus 69 percent in 2014.
“2014 Graduates Had Highest Student Loan Debt Ever” posted by Lauren Camera on October 27, 2015, for U.S. News & World Report’s Data Mine blog, shared more results of the report. The TICAS study “found that nationally, the average debt for new bachelor’s degree recipients increased at more than double the rate of inflation from 2004 to 2014.” Sadly in some states the rate was even higher. The causes of this increase in educational fees from colleges, or the ways to slow down or halt this dramatic increase in cost are just two research paper topics to explore.
The cost of higher education
The amount of student loan debt has increased, yes, but unfortunately some are paying more than others. Featured in the Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), “Minorities and Poor College Students Are Shouldering the Most Student Debt” written by The Washington Post’s Danielle Douglas-Gabriel on May 24, 2015, shared more about the unequal nature of student loan debt.
The college students disproportionally affected are the ones who can least afford it. Douglas-Gabriel cited a report from the liberal think tank Demos that found “While less than two-thirds of white graduates from public schools borrow, four out of five black graduates take out loans for college. And black students who do borrow come out with more debt than their peers.” How are the higher costs of college, including increased student loan debt, affecting minority students’ completion of college is one of many research paper topics to consider in the intersection of race and the cost of higher education.
College students fight back
But college students today are starting to speak out and take action on what they see as the out of control cost of higher education. Curtis Skinner and Valerie Vande Panne wrote, “Students across U.S. to march over debt, free public college” on November 12, 2015, for Reuters.com about the steps some are taking to change the issue of student loan debt.
Thousands of people have signed up on Facebook groups saying they will participate in what is being dubbed the Million Student March, with events planned at college campuses across the country. The college students “are demanding tuition-free public colleges, a cancellation of all student debt and a $15-an-hour minimum wage for campus workers,” Skinner and Vande Panne wrote. According to the article, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that the total volume of outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has doubled since 2006, and now it stands at $1.2 trillion.
Do you have student loan debt? Are you worried about how you will pay it after you graduate? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.