American parents' concerns are rising over the ability to pay for college educations despite assistance by financial services, but as some families are entering debts that exceed tuition and basic living expenses, others are part of networks that are taking steps to provide education that doesn't call for years of debt repayment.
College costs are far-reaching
Gil Smart graduated in 1989 with a total of $20,000 in student loans, according to his editorial in the Lancaster New Era. Even 24 years ago, this debt was so burdensome on the young post-grad that he was forced to go under deferment for some time, but eventually he was able to pay lenders back. Today he is not confident that his children will be able to do the same regardless of his family's financial plan, as he noted that the College Board reported the average annual tuition of four-year public colleges is $8,655 for the current academic year – more than a third of the total payment Smart was responsible for after earning his degree.
Smart knows the costs his family will face when planning for college are immense, and the emergence of new developments in student housing stacks on even more potential costs parents will have to consider when budgeting higher education. The Wall Street Journal recently noted that parents with extra income are not the only people putting their college students up in luxury housing developments close to campus: Student loan businesses are providing advances for the payment of rents that can reach high hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month.
The problem with this, the source claimed, is that many of the young people signing debt contracts are not aware of the long-term financial consequences associated with borrowing money for more luxurious means of living through college. It is all at the profit of property development businesses, the Journal noted, but parents and students often agree that the experience of college should be one that goes beyond reality.
Local officials work to change patterns
Although many Americans continue to spend more than they have for their children's college experiences, Connecticut's Norwalk Community College (NCC) is working to expand the school's campus so that potential students in the city of Stamford can attend classes.
Moira Lyons, government and community relations director of the school, told Connecticut lawmakers at a meeting scheduled specifically for this initiative that providing incentive for low-cost college tuition is necessary for the growth of the state's younger population, The Hour reports.
"If we want to keep our young folks in Connecticut we have to provide an education that's accessible and affordable," she said,
Plans to expand NCC's campus to Stamford stems from 40 percent of the school's students currently commuting from the area, which requires travel costs and loss of time that could be put to better use by the scholars. The source also noted that bringing NCC offices to Stamford would create jobs for local residents, preventing unnecessary spending by the general public in addition to students.
Projects like the one proposed in Connecticut could be increasingly important to U.S. citizens hoping to send their children to college over the next 10 to 20 years. Smart, for instance, has a two-year-old, who he cannot fathom sending to a university – private or public – if costs continue to rise at the rate they are today. Taking out loans in large amounts to pay for ventures that are not absolutely necessary is contrary to expert financial investment advice, Smart believes, and the rate of this practice is a troubling trend that may only be realized as debtors experience major financial problems related to overspending.