By Duke Staff
Student loan debt and the mounting cost of higher education is often the source of self-deprecating jokes and existential woes that plague college students. Students here at Duquesne are no stranger to this phenomenon —as we have previously reported and the student body is painfully aware of, the university has increased tuition by about $9,000 since 2013.
While this is an issue that all college students face, recent data published by Lend EDU in a report from the Pittsburgh Business Times revealed that Duquesne students have the fourth -highest debt of all local universities, ranked far above neighboring schools like Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh and Point Park. Additionally, Pennsylvania has one of the highest national averages of student debt.
According to data from the U.S. Federal Reserve, the collective American student debt currently clocks in at $1.56 trillion dollars, with 44.7 million people contributing to that monster amount. In 2019, this is the highest rate of student loan debt in American history. As of 2017, the youngest sector of the population shoulders the largest amount of debt, with Americans 30 years old and younger owing a total of $16.8 million. In a recent article about the mounting total of college debt, Forbes categorized this as a “crisis.”
This systemic issue is only getting worse by the year, burying students with loans they cannot afford to pay back in a job market that is only increasing the obstacles for employment. Many entry-level jobs now require previous experience such as internships (many of which are unpaid) or a Master’s degree. All of which present even more economic hardships placed in the way of moving ahead with a career in any capacity.
In raising tuition rates every year and often not adjusting student scholarships to reflect the inflation, universities are not providing their students with the tools to succeed as they boast to intend; instead, the high cost of college is placing barriers in front of students being able to move forward with the career they paid thousands of dollars to cultivate.
Though Duquesne’s ranking probably should not come as a surprise, it is still a frightening feeling to know that the average debt a Duquesne student will leave the Bluff with is $43,673 dollars, according to Lend EDU. The climbing annual rise in tuition has not helped, either. Though it is a private school, and students who choose to forgo the price of in-state public tuition to pursue a private degree should prepare for the added expense, nothing can prepare any student for the nation’s student loan crisis that is, at this point, outrageously out of control.