Paying for College

Is $30K Debt for Four Years the Norm These Days?

Question: My daughter has been accepted at our state’s flagship university and at another university out of state. She wants to attend one of these two, even though it will mean that she graduates with about $30,000 of debt. She has received merit scholarships at smaller schools which would allow her to graduate debt-free, but she doesn’t want to go to these schools. Is it “normal” for students to owe $30,000 after four years. It sounds crazy to me!

Sadly, $30K of debt is roughly the national average these days for students who borrow for four years of college (which is about 70% of all U.S. undergraduates).

But if it were MY daughter and she had merit-aid offers that would allow her to attend college without loans, that’s where I’d be directing her. Presumably, your daughter liked the merit aid colleges well enough to apply, so even if they aren’t her top choices, she did pick them out of thousands of schools so they shouldn’t be too heinous for her to attend!

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