Ohio students are taking on more loans to pay for college, and graduating with more debt as a result than students in most other states.
A new study by The Institue for College Access and Success’s Project on Student Debt ranks Ohio as a “high debt state.” The study found that, on average, Ohio students gradate with $28,683 in student loans. The national average is about $26,600, a 5 percent increase from the previous year. The report said that kind of growth has been the norm in the last few years.
But officials at The Institute for College Access and Success were quick to note that high student loans shouldn’t scare people away from going to college. “In these tough times, a college degree is still your best bet for getting a job and decent pay,” said TICAS President Lauren Asher. “But, as debt levels rise, fear of loans can prevent students from getting the education they need to succeed. Students and parents need to know that, even at similar looking schools, debt levels can be wildly different. And, if they do need to borrow to get through school, federal student loans, with options like income-based repayment, are the safest way to go.”
StateImpact Ohio has reported on other studies that show getting a college degree is key to landing a good paying job, though much depends on the type of degree and job.
According to the Dayton Daily News, Ohio’s higher than average student loan rates can be attributed in part to dwindling support from the state.
Universities are relying more on tuition revenue because state support has fallen 18 percent in the last five years.
“Unfortunately, the increasing cost of tuition and fees to offset a continued decrease in state and federal support has left the student with a heavier financial burden,” said Sean Creighton, executive director of the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education. “However, students have a competitive advantage in the marketplace and are better positioned to earn higher wages because of their college degree.”
The Dayton Daily also noted that the student loan default rate in Ohio is “on part with the national average.”