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New Report Finds Student Loan Debt Increases by Over Ten Percent

report shows that student loan debt has increased 10.5 percent in just one year. According to The Project on Student Debt at The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), from 2011 to 2012, average student loan debt rose from $26,600 to 29,400. While a college degree is associated with a higher earning potential than almost any other factor, more and more students have to depend on loans in order to finance their degree. Nearly 70% of all graduating college seniors in 2012 had student loans.

In order to be successful in today’s global economy, prospective students need, and deserve, to be able to attend a quality institution at an affordable price. Especially seeing as simply having a  bachelor’s degree is associated with a lower unemployment rate: In 2012, 7.7 percent of college graduates were unemployed compared to 17.9 percent of those with only a high school degree.

Now, more than ever before, the majority of Americans believe that earning a college degree is very important. At the same time, since 1982 college costs have risen at four and a half times the rate of inflation. With this, it is imperative that Congress, state policymakers, and institutions of higher education work together to keep the cost of college low. Recent college grads like me worry that with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, we won’t have the extra cash to save for retirement, start a small business, or invest back into the economy. Even with income-based repayment plans (that everyone should look into taking advantage of), paying off student loans can be frightening.

Loans are a necessary evil for some in order to make it to graduation. But that doesn’t mean students should have to take on outrageous amounts of debt to pay for college.