Part 1: Did You Know?

The path to a debt-free college degree begins with being informed. This is Part 1 of a 3-part series highlighting important information that every family should know, the steps to take to a debt-free degree, and how students can find help on their journey.

Most people are aware that college costs are rising, but what surprises many are the actual numbers and the impact they have had on student loan debt. Did you know that the average debt for new college graduates is approximately twice the amount it was 15 years ago? Even more alarming is the fact that many students are not getting value for what they pay.
 
Some interesting facts:

• The average tuition & fees and room & board for an in-state public college for the 2015-16 school year was $19,548. For a private college, it was $43,921. Over four years, that amounts to paying $78,192 for a degree at a public college and $175,684 at a private school. (College Board)
 
• The average student is graduating college with $35,000 in student loan debt. (Wall Street Journal)
 
• Students are woefully unprepared, with 4 out of 5 new graduates leaving college without a job. (Washington Post)
 
Only 56% of college students complete four-year degrees within six years, and only 29% of those who start two-year degrees finish them within three years. (Study by Harvard Graduate School of Education)
 
Students lack purpose and suffer from "a sense of drift, emptiness, ‘something missing,’ or a lack of joy, according to many educators, psychologists, parents, and other youth experts.” (William Damon, Stanford School of Education professor and psychologist)
 
The good news is, you don’t have to be a statistic! There are steps you can take to graduate career-ready, with purpose, and debt-free. Next, we’ll share some tips to help you on your way, regardless of where you choose to attend school.

Up Next: 7 Steps to a Debt-Free College Degree