UMassD takes on student debt

By Alex Kerravala, Staff Writer

As most know, financing for college is no easy thing, with tuition and fees costing an outrageous amount for people who just leave high school, with the numbers increasing. Though there are alternative methods of payment, such as scholarships and the military, the vast majority bite the bullet and decide to deal with student loans and pray they will be able to pay them off with their career they aren’t even guaranteed out of school.

Of course this is a terrifying reality, with total student loan debt in the United States hitting a remarkable $1.4 Trillion, with the average student loan balance at just over $34,000, and about 70 percent of graduates with bachelor’s degrees leave with debt.

This is all even more frightening recognizing that college tuition and fees increase each year. Not only this, but the new Republican Tax Plan proposed by congress could prevent students from deducting parts of their loans, so both college and taxes would cost more.

This becomes even more of an issue when the average net price of college is almost $30,000 a year, and more than half of college students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree get it in six years, and only 46 percent of college students end up actually graduating.

Its no surprise that even with the seeming necessity of a college degree, the number of incoming freshmen is decreasing.

You’re probably wondering where UMass Dartmouth comes in this regard, and whether positive or negative is for you to decide.

UMass Dartmouth has the 14th lowest tuition cost of the 84 universities in Massachusetts, and is the cheapest of the UMass colleges. However, this begins to look slightly less than positive when you include fees, room, and board. The net cost of UMass Dartmouth students, including everything previously mentioned, is just slightly under the average at just over $26,000 for Massachusetts residents, just over the average at $31,000 for New England residents, and significantly above the average at $41,000 for out of state/international students.

Perhaps these numbers aren’t as daunting as they originally appear, however. UMass being a state and federally funded university, there are plenty of opportunities for financial aid, whether they be scholarships or work study. About 87 percent of full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid from the school, saving students from the private loans offered by banks.

The benefits of UMass Dartmouth do not end there. A 2014-2015 study found about 51 percent of college students are able to find full time work post-graduation, but the average for UMass Dartmouth ends up being 61 percent of students finding full time work, plus an additional 22 percent finding part time work. Even if the tuition is expensive, it shows to be paying off for UMass.

College is a challenge, and financing a college education is its own separate monster. Thankfully, though, UMass Dartmouth has its perks. No college is perfect, nor is paying it off easy, but at least UMass Dartmouth tries.

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