Wary of debt, workers give up on college

High school graduates 26 to 34 years old are wary of borrowing for college and may have dropped out for financial reasons, concludes One Degree of Separation, a Public Agenda survey funded by the Gates Foundation. Compared to young people with a certificate or degree, high school graduates are less likely to be on a promising career path. However, most believe they can succeed at work without additional education and say college has been oversold.

Those with only a high school diploma are more fearful of borrowing for college and much less knowledgeable about financial aid options, the survey found.

Here are the survey questions.

Once the bugs are worked out, net price calculators will help prospective students estimate how much they’ll pay for college, writes Bill Gleason on Chronicle of Higher Ed.

Using College Board’s net price calculator (sign in as “guest”) and declaring poverty-level family income, Gleason discovered that a low-income student would have to borrow $11.268 a year to attend University of Minnesota, where he’s a professor.

At the University of North Carolina, a student without financial resources would see a net cost of $2,700.

The U.S. Education Department is trying to make college costs transparent.

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  1. Laura Ritchie says:

    I have 3 daughters in college, the oldest a rising senior at UNC and the twins, rising sophomores at UNCC. I struggle with guilt because they have had to take out loans and I am unable to pay for it as my parents did for me & my sister.

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    I have a relation who is going to college one night course at a time. He’s paying as he goes which doesn’t lead to debt, but is an added expense. Partying doesn’t get in his way, as he has a family and a job.
    Might be the way to do it in the future.

  3. CarolineSF says:

    Thank you for pointing out the cost issue. It’s astounding how much discussion there is of college dropout rates, comparison of U.S. collegegoing rates to other nations’, and such that fails to note the cost of college in the U.S. (It’s generally negligible by comparison in other developed nations.)

    I assume most of this discussion is going on among people who either are so wealthy it’s not an issue or haven’t had a college student in their households in decades.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I have a huge problem with the promoting of a “net cost” of college, since this varies so much by individual circumstance and yet The Experts try to promote this as a single number as much as a “net price” that the average consumer pays for one’s car vs. the sticker price. The genuinely poor can often get a substantial amount of grants for college, the middle class get mostly loans (which are nonetheless subtracted to determine the net price, I presume), and children of the upper middle class are obliged to subsidize the others, despite a formula which, from what I can see, far too quickly increases far too much the amount that a family can “afford” to pay, and which leaves a student in an even worse situation the moment their parents are unwiling to pay.