Monday, June 12, 2006

Opposite Ends of the College Debt Spectrum

There's a depressing article in the Chicago Tribune entitled 'New college graduates get quick education about debt.'

  • The average graduate who borrowed for college leaves school with almost $20,000 in student loans and about $2,000 in credit card debt. About two-thirds of students borrow for school, said Sandy Baum, a senior policy analyst for the College Board.
  • People in their 30s are delaying home purchases and having children because their debts are too great.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's a really heartwarming story about Robert and Jill Car, a wealthy couple who are giving back to their community by sponsoring full tuition scholarships for 18 lucky eighth graders in Lockport, IL.

  • Carr calculates it will cost $720,000 to keep the promise each year. He said he and his wife plan to commit $100 million of their own money to get the program going. The funding has been placed in a charitable trust."When I ask myself, what in the heck does a person do with $250 million, my best answer is to help disadvantaged kids break out of their depressing lives one by one," he said. "We won't change the world, but we will change the world for a few kids--as many as we can afford."

I was the recipient of a similar grant through my father's employer - full tuition and fees (but not housing or living expenses) at a specific state university. Unfortunately, the foundation that awarded the scholarship mismanaged the funds, so the 'guaranteed' scholarship wasn't renewed in my senior year. As a result, I made the difficult decision to graduate from college a semester early. Needless to say, it was a hectic four months, trying to cram in the rest of my required coursework. But looking back on that experience, I realize that I was lucky. I graduated with pretty much zero debt because what the scholarship and part time jobs didn't cover, my parents paid for.

1 comment:

mapgirl said...

Lucky Duck! If any of my college was paid for that way, I probably wouldn't have had $20K at graduation.