Student Loans Increase at UA and Nationally
UA students borrowed nearly $75 million in the last school year; nationally, college students borrowed more than $100 billion, according to school records and finaid.org.
In June 2010 national student loan debt surpassed $800 billion, and so far the rate of loans increases nearly $3,000 a second, according to finaid.org.
The number of student loans disbursed to UA students has increased each year since 2008.
From 2008 to 2009, 7,491 UA students borrowed more than $67 million from 2009 to 2010 students borrowed more than $71 million and from 2010 to 2011 students borrowed nearly $75 million, or an increase of nearly 11 percent since 2008.
Of the students who borrowed college money, the average debt after graduation will be a little more than $20,000, according to collegeboard.org.
This is lower than the national average, which is slightly more than $23,000, with a little more than 65 percent of students using student loans, according to finaid.org.
UA tuition was $7,174 for in-state students and $17,606 for out-of-state students. When room and board are added to the cost of tuition, one year at the UA would cost more than $15,000 for in-state students and nearly $26,000 for out-of-state students, according to Collegeboard.org.
The number of student loans has increased along with the number of students attending the UA.
Enrollment was 19,194 in 2008, 19,849 in fall 2009, 21,405 in fall 2010 and 23,199 in 2011, or an increase of nearly 21 percent since fall 2008.
The number of Arkansas Challenge Scholarship recipients has increased as well.
The number of Arkansas Challenge recipients from fall 2010 to fall 2011 increased from 4,001 to 5,449, or a little more than 36 percent.
This scholarship has helped one UA student avoid using student loans.
“I have the Arkansas Challenge, so that pays for most of my tuition,” said Karis Heinze, a sophomore psychology major.
Arkansas Challenge recipients awarded the scholarship in the 2011-2012 year receive $4,500 at a four-year school and $2,225 at a two-year school, according to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
Heinze lived at home for her freshman year and had a scholarship that disbursed $1,500 for one year since that time her father has agreed to help pay the remaining cost of her tuition if she attempts to find other scholarships, she said.
Heinze thought about going to college out of state, but that would have been much more expensive than the UA, she said.
“If I had looked to go out of state then I would have had to take out student loans, which means I would have had to have been more financially responsible,” she said. “That would have added a lot of stress to my life and could have caused me to struggle academically.”
Annual tuition at the University of Missouri was $21,784, the University of Oklahoma was $19,278 and the University of Texas was $32,506, according to Collegeboard.org.
Depending on the institution, Heinze saved more than $25,000 a year by attending the UA.
Even though the UA has scholarships for current students, Heinze said it was difficult to attain those scholarships.
“As a current student I feel it is hard to be in the know about scholarships, you really have to actively pursue it to know about them,” she said.
Heinze will graduate without student loan debt, but she still has to work during weekends to pay for living expenses, groceries and gas, she said.