Education Analysts Raise New Concern: Dropouts With Debt
May 29, 2012
Khimm, Suzy; Mui, Ylan Q.
Americans owe about $1 trillion in student loans, but education experts now say that many young people are burdened by debt even without a college degree. Nearly 30 percent of college students who took out loans dropped out of school, compared to less than 25 percent a decade ago, according to an analysis by think-tank Education Sector. College dropouts are four times more likely than graduates to default on their loans. These problems have raised questions about whether it is wise to have a public policy that focused on increasing access to higher learning without considering what happens to students on campus. Some experts suggest that it could be dangerous to start college, and use debt to pay for it, without a clear plan for a degree. An increasing number of students balance education with full- or part-time jobs, or take a reduced course load to save money, all of which increases the chance of dropping out. In recent years, the largest increase in borrowers who drop out of school occurred at private, for-profit colleges that recently were accused of predatory lending.
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