More and more students taking out loans

Madelyn Otcasek

Students are taking more responsibility for their college education, according to data from the Student Financial Aid office.

Since the 2000-2001 school year, the number of students taking out federal loans increased 33 percent, and the average student loan amount increased by more than $300.

“(The) reality is costs have increased, (and) families don’t save as much,” said Connie Dubick, associate director of student financial aid.

Even though families might not be saving tons of money for their children’s education, they still try to contribute.

Thirteen percent of the students have parents who took out the parent PLUS loan, and the number of alternative loans taken out for or by students increased 197 percent.

Sophomore exploratory major Alicia Zaleha said her parents have paid for all of her tuition costs.

“My parents have been saving a long time for my college,” she said. “My mom’s dreading when my brother goes to college, because he’ll be a freshman when I’m a senior.”

Zaleha said her parents saved all her life for college, and she hopes to pay them back some day.

Many other students don’t have parents quite so generous.

Dubick said the number of students taking out loans increased from 15,489 in 2000 to 20,644 in 2004, which is 96 percent of the Kent State campus student body. She also said because college costs are increasing, the borrowing increases likewise.

Katie Cooney, sophomore fashion design major, receives an outside scholarship from Veterans Affairs, and has a private bank loan. She also pays for all her books and supplies without help from her parents.

Cooney said her parents would help “if I lost the scholarship … (my) mom would bend over backward to keep me in college.”

This isn’t just a trend here at Kent State.

According to The New York Times, many parents are giving their children limits of what they will spend for college, even if it means their students attend state school instead of a private university.

Dubick emphasized the importance of families starting to save for their child’s college funds earlier, as soon as middle school or even kindergarten. She said families should value education over material things such as new cars or new homes.

It is an investment in the rest of a student’s life. Education makes students valuable, she said.

Contact news aide Madelyn Otcasek at [email protected]