Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Student debt: Where you attend college matters (Reuters)

A Reuters article found that graduates of flagship public universities carried more student loan debt than their Ivy League peers. This news is disappointing because many students attend state universities for cheaper tuition and living expenses. Not everyone can become admitted into an Ivy League institutions (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania). With their arge university endowments, this enables Ivy League institutions to provide more generous financial aid packages (public universities must rely on funding from the state governments). But it also creates a sense of unequal meritocracy that only the privileged--and extremely lucky--can afford to graduate with fewer student loans. It's common knowledge that Ivy League graduates tend to come from wealthier households than flagship public university graduates.
The student debt load of many top private university graduates is lower that the debt load of their peer graduates at top public universities, according to a recent Reuters report.

The report tallied the average debt load at the University of Michigan as about $27,000. Conversely, the average debt load at Princeton University is roughly $5,000, at Yale University is roughly $9,000 and at Harvard University is roughly $11,000.
Forty-four percent of U-M and University of California at Los Angeles students take out loans to attend, whereas less than 30 percent of Harvard, Yale and Princeton students acquire loans, according to the Reuters report.

"Thanks to generous financial aid policies and large endowments, students may find that an Ivy League degree, for example, often requires less borrowing than a degree from many much less expensive state schools," the report states.

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