Local schools target 1/3 students with delinquent loans
PADUCAH, Ky. - Valerie Peoples, 26, is giving college a second try.
"I want a better future," she said Tuesday.
But,that future is costing her. One semester at West Kentucky Community & Technical College has forced her to take out two loans.
"The first one I got was $1400, the 2nd was $1400," she continued.
Plenty of students are doing the same. The problem according to the school's financial aid director is they are not thinking twice.
According to the latest quarterly report from the New York Federal Reserve, student loan debt has tripled between 2004 and 2012. Some 17 percent of the borrowers are delinquent on those loans. That is up from 10% in 2004.
"A lot of times they think they need to take out the maximum loan without really even calculating their expenses," Financial Aid Director Nathanial Slaton said.
It is why Slaton plans to give every student a calculator and some class time. Slaton says those mandatory classes will offer some individual arithmetic.
"If they graduate $50,000 in debt and they're in a program that's going to earn $9 or $10 an hour they're not going to be able to make that monthly payment," he explained.
Those payments are something Valerie Peoples is already worried about, "I don't want to take out more loans because I feel like I'd be in over my head."
But, the radiography student tells us, for now, loans are the only way to that better future.
"In five years I hope you see me taking x-rays of broken bones and pictures of babies before they're born," she said.
Plenty of other local college and universities have seen similar problems when it comes to student loan debt.
At UT Martin, the school recently updated their website to include what they are calling a 'net price calculator.' The tool allows prospective and current students to figure out, to the dollar, how much they will spend.
At SEMO, all students have the opportunity to attend money management sessions and workshops. Murray State's mandatory freshman orientation includes money management.
SIU Carbondale is doing the same thing- they call it University College 101.