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The Cost of College, and Interest, Puts Students in Greater Debt 

Local Matters

U.S. - Got a college degree? If so, the Census Bureau estimates that you'll make $1 million more over the course of your lifetime than will someone with a high school diploma. But these days it's increasingly likely that you'll end up paying a big chunk of that to cover your college loans.

The cost of a college degree is only going up - the Campaign for America's Future estimates that it has risen 40 percent at the average four-year public university since 2001. And as tuition rises, so does the amount of money students are borrowing to pay it.

On July 1, the federal government raised the interest rates on Stafford loans from 5.3 to 7.14 percent on old loans; new loans are up to 6.8 percent. And that doesn't include variable-rate private loans, which are increasingly popular. The Project on Student Debt points out that undergraduate and graduate borrowing through private loans rose by 30 percent from 2004 to 2005.

This mounting debt load is making it harder for graduates to get on with their post-collegiate lives. A look at the state of student debt, by the numbers:

Under 50 percentage of four-year-college students with loan debt in 1993

66.4 percentage in 2004

$9250 average debt in 1993

$19,200 average debt in 2004

1.3 percentage of college graduates with loans greater than $40,000 in     1993

7.7 percent who owed more than $40,000 in 2004

45 percent of UVM grads with debt in 2001

60 percent in 2005

$21,330 projected cost of attending UVM for in-state students this year

$20,142 average debt of UVM grads in 2005

$18,875Average debt for all Vermont public college students

9 Vermont's rank among states for highest average debt at public universities

14 percent of grads nationwide who say they delayed marriage because of loan debt

30 percent who say debt has kept them from buying a car

38 percent who say debt has kept them from buying a home

21 percent who say debt has made them put off having kids

Sources: The Project on Student Debt, Campaign for America's Future, UVM website

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About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer is a former staff writer and currently an associate publisher at Seven Days, and is one of the organizers of the Vermont Tech Jam. She's also the Copublisher and Executive Editor of Kids VT, Seven Days' free monthly parenting publication.


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