My friend and business partner, Dr. Bob Holsworth, recently said, "Bill, come look at these numbers."
What I saw on his computer screen was a set of figures from the Project on Student Debt… a national review of how much students owe when they graduate from college. The information is both alarming and counterintuitive.
The Vice President recently visited Virginia to highlight this issue. While his support for college access and affordability seems to have been driven more by the availability of a "bully pulpit" than budget amendments, the issue of student debt is so critical that one economist recently called it the next "mortgage crisis."
UVA and William Mary average about $20K in debt for the 35%-40% of the students had to borrow to go to school. For VCU it increases to $25K for 60% of the graduates, and for VSU 92% of its graduates leave with $28K in loans.
The counterintuitive part is that 42% of UR students who have to borrow to go to school have about $23K in debt even though the tuition is more than double their public peers. For places like Harvard and Williams it is between $8K and $10K.
Talk about a lesson in regressive taxes… those who are least capable are hit the hardest! As for hikes in tuition and fees…it only drives up the student debt.
What counselors don't know and may not tell you if they did is that students who have worked hard and done well should always go to the most expensive school available…they will likely come out with less debt.