There is growing concern about the amount of student loan debt in the U.S, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warning that more than $1 trillion is owed on outstanding loans. The reason behind this record amount of student debt is tied to the rising cost of college and the increase in college enrollment.
While a college degree is still a worthwhile investment, the debt today’s graduates accumulate can impede their financial stability for decades after they leave school. In fact, it can leave many young people with the impression they can’t afford to take a job in public service, such as teaching, because it doesn’t offer a salary high enough to pay off their loans. This reality drives talent away from public service, and is one of reasons the CFPB and others are trying to raise awareness of loan repayment and forgiveness options (See: Public Service & Student Debt).
According to the CFPB, the cost of attending a public university in the U.S. has increased 42% in the last ten years, and for private universities the cost rose 31% for the same period.
Yet even in the face of rising costs, more people are attending college. In the last 20 years, college enrollment has risen from 13.8 million to 21 million. Pew Research now estimates 19%, or one out of five, American households owe outstanding student debt as of 2010.
As worrying as the cost of a college education may be, there is still value in it. Last year (more…)