Student loan debt is at best, an unpleasant fact of life that ranks somewhere along the lines of a root canal. But at worst, and for many, student loan debt can be ruinous. If that sounds overly dramatic, you don’t have student loan debt. Congratulations.
For those considering college but discouraged about losing any chance at financial freedom later in life, there’s some good news. Belmont Abbey College just announced it’s restructuring its finances, marking down its yearly tuition by 33 percent.
The school’s new price is by no means “bargain basement,” but it’s still more reasonable, dropping from about $28,000 per year to $18,500.
This revamped tuition rate will be available to incoming freshman and transfer students starting in 2013.
For the cynical and suspicious, the most obvious question is “Why?”, especially when schools almost seem to make a sport out of hiking up fees and tuition to unfathomable new heights. (Yes, looking right at you, NYU.)
As Belmont’s president, Dr. William Theirfelder, explains on the school’s website, school administrators want to “burst the private education tuition bubble,” effectively opening up the opportunity for more than the country’s most financially privileged to take advantage of a private school education.
This kind of help can’t come soon enough. Recently, TakePart reported that student loan debt is quickly approaching the $1 trillion mark, and for the first time in history, more people are delinquent in their student loans than they are in their credit card payments.
The problem extends beyond a simple solution of making better financial choices. Unlike buying a car or house, students don’t have much of a choice in whether or not they go to college because in all but a very few cases, degrees are necessary to work in sustainable careers. Logic would dictate then that students simply choose cheap schools. But with average tuition costs for even overcrowded state schools rising at about twice the rate of inflation, there are no more “cheap” schools. There’s expensive, and more expensive, which is why the average amount of student loan debt for today’s graduates is almost $27,000.
And they carry that debt, along with its interest, boldly into a job market that’s so bereft of opportunity, more than ever are moving right back in with mom and dad after graduation.
With the deck stacked against them, colleges like Belmont Abbey are at least a start in alleviating some of the burden. And if Belmont’s plan works to encourage a wider base of student applicants, other universities may follow. Fingers crossed…
Would you be in favor of more drastic measures for curbing tuition rates, like government-enforced caps? Let us know what you think in the Comments.
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A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and medical writer. In addition to reporting the weekend news on TakePart, she volunteers as a webeditor for locally-based nonprofits and works as a freelance feature writer for TimeOutLA.com. Email Andri | @andritweets | TakePart.com