Iowa 6th for Debt Among College Grads

student-debtA new report, from the Institute of College Access and Success shows that Iowa’s college students are the 6th most indebted in the country, with 72% of graduates taking out student loans and an average debt of over $28,000.

While politicians in Washington D.C. argue over what to charge borrowers in interest, Republicans in the Iowa House know that the real problem with student loans is the overall price of higher education.  In an effort to keep that principal loan balance as low as possible, House Republicans voted for an education budget that froze tuition at Iowa’s three state universities, for the first time in over three decades!  House Republicans know that a college education is very important and will continue to keep costs down at our state schools, and make higher education as affordable as possible.

From the Des Moines Register

By Jens Manuel Krogstad

Iowa 6th for Debt Among College Grads

On average, a student in the state owes more than $28,700 in loans

Iowa’s college graduates are among the most indebted in the nation, and rank even higher in another dubious category: The percentage of students who take out student loans.

Seventy-two percent of college students in Iowa borrow to pay for school, fourth-highest in the nation, according to state rankings released Monday by College Insight, which compiles college affordability data. Iowa ranks sixth in average debt among college graduates — $28,753.

New figures that use average debt of 2012 graduates could be released in coming weeks by the Institute of College Access and Success in Washington, D.C.

Iowa’s three public universities have sought to keep tuition prices in check over the past year. The first tuition freeze in three decades took effect this fall. It allowed undergraduates from Iowa to pay as much as last year in tuition, after years of steady hikes.

Student government leaders are helping lead the push to freeze tuition for two straight years, said Katherine Valde, University of Iowa student president. To do so, the Legislature would have to approve a requested funding increase of 4 percent, under a plan proposed by the universities.

“This is where we can be most effective,” Valde said. “It minimizes the extra loans people have to take out.”

University of Northern Iowa student president Tom Madsen said he sees the toll of college loans every day. Busy students feel pressure to balance extra hours in a job, plus academic and extracurricular commitments. “I definitely see the pain around campus a lot,” Madsen said.

Students sometimes feel politicians listen to their concerns on the issue, but then fail to act on them, Drake University student president David Karaz said.

“Frankly, this issue is something that’s being avoided, which is going to cause more long-term problems,” Karaz said.

Karaz said he was disappointed Congress allowed interest rates on some government student loans to double on July 1. Congress later passed a bill that lowered those rates and President Barack Obama signed the bill into law.

Meanwhile, congressional efforts to further tackle the issue are stalled because of the federal shutdown. A House subcommittee hearing on how to make college more affordable by simplifying federal student aid keeps getting pushed back. The hearing was originally scheduled for Oct. 1.

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