Students face hefty loans

DEBT College often accompanied by heavy financial burden.

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According to a recent report, students graduating from UND will have more debt than the average student in the U.S.

The Accountability Measure Report put out by the North Dakota University System for 2012 provides an overview of student loans in university system.

The report stated in 2011-12, undergraduate and graduate students in North Dakota borrowed an average of $4,467 per year. The national average borrowed in 2011-12 was $4,760.

The average cost of a degree at a North Dakota university was $60,603 — 3.6 percent higher than the national average.

In 2011, two thirds of college graduates nationwide had student loan debt, averaging $26,000. However, the average 2011 UND graduate had $31,746 in loans to pay off.

“I have around $30,000 that I’ll need to pay in loans. I don’t really feel impacted by them now, I’ll just have to budget once I graduate,” UND junior Christine Moe said. “Or I’ll have to marry a rich guy.”

Moe, however, knows she’s not alone.

“It’s pretty average to have as much to pay in loans as I do,” Moe said. “I think about it sometimes, but it makes no sense to worry. I’ll have to pay it off one way or another.”

Loans also will be harder to pay off, since the interest of undergraduate federal loans recently increased from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. According to American Student Assistance, about 17 percent of people with student loans are over the age of 50. With higher interest rates, there will be more money owed in the long run, which in turn will take longer to pay for.

Some students have managed to avoid the stress of student loans.

“I have some scholarships and work during the summer to pay for school so I don’t really have loans,” UND junior Adam Alshalan said. “It takes an enormous stress off knowing that I don’t have to pay them off. It allows me to focus on school and my potential future.”

Larry Philbin is the news editor of The Dakota Student. He can be reached at lawrence.philbin@my.und.edu.