Keeping tuition prices at a minimum is the only way to control loan debt.
Students are struggling.
It’s not a new concept, but, as evidenced by Rachel Donahoe’s futile attempts to begin paying off her student loans in “Expensive money” on Page 1, college students start to struggle even more six months after graduation.
While some loan recipients at Temple are still waiting for the surpluses from their Stafford loans to be dispersed, they are might not be thinking about how they’ll repay that money. Instead, they’ll breathe a sigh of relief that they can pay for basic needs, such as rent and food. But by choosing to attend a higher-learning institution and accepting these loans, paying for tuition becomes the No. 1 need. Without tuition bills, students could simply work through life with no need for large student loans.
The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act does not change the fact that to be successful in the United States, a college degree is a must. The overhaul does not mean universities can charge their students less for tuition. To fund an education in a country where the per capita income in 2008 was $27,466, and the median family income was $52,175 – loans will always be necessary.
The only way to soften the blow to students’ pockets after they graduate is to keep tuition as low as possible.
Temple’s tuition currently hovers at approximately $11,834 for in-state students and $21,662 for out-of-state students – tuition figures depend on which college/school within the university a student attends – but come next year, this could all change dramatically.
Though Temple received $7 million from the state in stimulus money this year, the university’s state appropriations allocation will run dry next year. It will be up to the future governor to decide whether Temple and the other state-related universities will receive funds at all.
Signals from both campaigns aren’t telling. A spokesperson for Democratic candidate Dan Onorato told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in June 2010 he would “lobby the state’s congressional delegation to continue providing money until the national economy recovers.” Republican candidate Tom Corbett’s spokesperson told the paper, “Corbett believes state spending must be cut to deal with declining revenue and the loss of stimulus dollars.”
This year, Penn State was denied a request for additional state funds. It recently put in another request for $17.2 million in state money and is seeking approval to raise tuition by 4.9 percent for the 2011-12 school year.
As evidenced by Donahoe’s common story, new graduates cannot even afford to pay back loans derived from current tuition prices. Where will they stand if Temple is not allocated state funds next year? It’s a question both gubernatorial candidates should be prepared to answer.