A report popped up on the internet today from the ably named Project on Student Debt. Their findings were pretty staggering:
College seniors who graduated in 2010 carried an average of $25,250 in student loan debt. Meanwhile, unemployment for recent college graduates climbed from 8.7% in 2009 to 9.1% in 2010 — the highest annual rate on record for college graduates aged 20 to 24.
So I jumped to Texas, jumped to SMU, and checked out what they had to say. First off, the bad news. SMU was the most expensive college in Texas in 2010 (the year studied), coming in at $49,920 for tuition, room, board, and fees. The next closest was Rice, at $45,637. According to SMU’s website, that number’s up to $55,475 for the 2012-2013 school year.
But, there’s some light. The average students walks away with $24,569 in debt, slightly below the national average, and good enough for 19th place in Texas. UT-Austin checked in at $24,667, right above SMU on the list.
Only 14 percent of SMU students — the fourth lowest percentage in Texas, of participating schools — have received federal Pell grants.
So, the difference seems to be the financial well-being of the students to begin with, right? Eh.
I found this helpful diagram on SMU’s financial aid page.
Financial aid on campus breaks down like this:
Less than $5,000 — 3 % of students
$5,000 – $10,000 — 9 %
$10,001- $15,000 — 18%
$15,001 – $20,000 — 10 %
$20,001 – $25,000 — 7 %
More than $25,000 — 53 %
Fifty-three percent! I know I’m not an economist, but it seems like while SMU — like everyone in college education — is jacking up the cost of tuition, it’s also trying to keep pace with grants, loans, and scholarships. Or maybe I’m an idiot. I’m sure you’ll let me know in the comments.