Knowledge Bound: The RSC Blog

Visit the Knowledge Bound Blog regularly for news analysis, editorials and facts about education and financial aid.

Posted on Jun 24, 2013 - 08:10 AM | Student Debt | Comments (0)

It’s the dream scenario: moving from crowded college dorms and temporary roommates to a good job and a place of your own after graduation.

But too often, graduation just means different roommates or moving back in with mom and dad.

What’s causing student debt?

  • Skyrocketing tuition (up 300% since 1990)
  • Budget cuts to state and federal grant programs (Between 2008-2011, 43 states cut their higher education budgets)
  • Reductions in – or the elimination of – state education tax breaks
  • Increase in private and federal loans (35% of students took out Stafford loans. 70% have both subsidized and unsubsized loans)

In 2011, college graduates had an average student loan debt of $27,000, a debt compounded by high interest rates and an inability to find work.
It’s no wonder loan default rates have topped 15% and student loan debt is now higher than credit card debt.

Students Dropping Out or Digging In

The news routinely reports on college graduates who took out $50,000 or $100,000 or even $200,000 in student loans to pay for their education. These are students who dug in. They were determined to graduate even if it meant they might never pay off their student loans.

Most students take a different approach. They drop out after accumulating $10,000 in debt, never graduate, and feel like they wasted their money. They feel like they just put money down on a new car and then left the lot without it.

Good students fall somewhere in-between these extremes. In fact, the average college graduate borrows $9,000 less than the average non-graduate. It’s part of the reason they graduate. They were smart about their financing. They understood how to get more financial aid or work the system properly.

They didn’t let their college dream become a nightmare.

Being Prepared for Your College Dream

Good financial aid stems from parental and student savings, good financial aid advice, and college prep. RSC makes preparing for college an integral part of receiving merit-based aid, so that our student’s high-school classes match the colleges they want to attend and the majors they want to study. At the right college, their record stands out, and they stand a much better chance of getting that elusive merit-based aid.

After all, why be a marginal student at a reach school when you can be a star student at a match school? RSC works to get students more aid by helping them find the college that can help them most. If a reach school is your dream, then pursue it, but understand that you have options, too.

Our financial aid advice includes:
Complete financial aid handbook 
College-cost estimates (including your federal Expected Family Contribution, or EFC) 
Our annually updated handbook: Top Financial Aid Colleges.

Too many programs focus merely on financial aid forms, or on bits and pieces of the big picture. You want experts who focus on your specific needs and abilities.

RSC’s college prep experts are trained to do just that. We’ll help you utilize your strengths and current situation to see that you’re rewarded with good financial aid.

College isn’t a guarantee that you’ll wind up on Easy Street, but done right, it will put you in the neighborhood.


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