Ohio State Undergraduates Floundering in Debt

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit calls it the “higher education bubble” and I’m inclined to agree with him. More than half of the financial aid going to Ohio State undergraduates is consisting of loans. I spent a few years at The Ohio State University and I would’ve been counted in those debt-accruing students. This is a major problem:

Loans make up more than half of the financial aid to Ohio State University students, and a greater number of graduates are struggling to pay them back in a weak job market.

The biggest burden falls on thousands of middle-income students. In the 2010-11 school year, loans made up 80 percent of the aid for in-state undergraduate OSU students who reported that their parents made $75,000 to $149,999.

In 2010-11, OSU students borrowed more than $217 million, a 24 percent increase over five years earlier, according to a Dispatch analysis of more than 500,000 student financial-aid records at Ohio State’s Columbus campus from 2006-07 to 2010-11, the latest available figures. The data did not include student names or other personally identifiable information.

The fact is, something needs to be done about the cost of higher education. Schools are becoming increasingly expensive while the financial payout from obtaining a degree is declining as more and more students (worthy or not) are pushed into getting degrees. It’s a two-pronged problem, the first part consisting of rapid inflation and the second part consisting of an “everyone should go to college” mentality that diminishes the prestige of a degree. Instead, the question is now whether you have a graduate degree, which involves even more debt and time out of the workforce.

We have a higher education crisis in this country, but the problem isn’t availability; it’s cost. An entire generation, myself included, is mortgaging its future to get something that may or may not actually help us become more prosperous. Where’s the leadership on this issue?