For many, college can be the best four years of students’ lives. And then they graduate. Suddenly the harsh reality of college loans creeps up, Mom and Dad say goodbye and the unreliable job market beckons.
College tuition varies from school to school, but overall, it’s safe to say that college is expensive. According to U.S. News & World Report for 2005-2006, Marquette University’s tuition and fees totaled $23,346 while room and board was $7,720, totaling $31,066.
To the average college student, 30k seems a bit steep, but compare it to Marquette’s biggest public school competitors in Illinois and Wisconsin and the price is outrageous. Instate costs at the University of Illinois-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin-Madison were $15,800 and $12,720, respectively, while out-of-state costs were $29,886 and $27,860, respectively. Prospective Marquette students looking for a private education might also examine St. Louis University, $33,158, and Loyola University-Chicago, $32,896.
The amount of financial aid awarded, however, can greatly affect the cost of attending college. Marquette offers $150,000,000 to students a year. Daniel Goyette, director of student financial aid at Marquette, stated that around 90 percent of Marquette students receive some type of financial aid. The four types of financial aid available are scholarships, grants, loans and work-study awards.
Unlike scholarships and grants, loans must be repaid. Of the graduating seniors from Marquette’s 2005 class, 53 percent had debt from loans, said Goyette. In fact, the average amount of debt that year was $26,345. These figures rose from 2004’s average incurred debt per student of $23,830 (U.S. News & World Report 2005-2006).
When compared to the other schools Marquette students considered, Marquette had the highest amount of average student debt. U.S. News & World Report also stated that in 2004, the two public schools, U of I and UW-Madison, had average student debts of $15,100 and $16,159, respectively. Similarly, Loyola University’s average student debt was $18,575, while St. Louis University had an average student debt of $22,534.
Despite a lower gross cost, Marquette gave less in gift aid or aid that does not need to be paid back. For 2005-2006, the average amount of gift aid awarded to Marquette students was $10,497, while Loyola University and St. Louis University awarded $12,314 and $12,014, respectively. That same academic year, students at Marquette and Loyola took out similar amounts in loans, while St Louis University students took out $4,000 fewer on average than students at Marquette and at Loyola.
Among these schools, Marquette seems to be the least economically efficient for students. Receiving less in gift aid, students at Marquette have to borrow more in proportion to the school’s cost than students at other schools.
In the beginning of college, students generally don’t think about repaying loans because their working futures seem far away. But the years fly by and students quickly discover that $26,000 is no longer their revenues earned in accounting class, but, rather, an amount they could be paying back for up to ten years.