Examining the College Debt Crisis

It’s a topic you hear about during political debates, on the news, and – very likely – during conversations with family and friends. Across the country, students are taking on enormous amounts of debt as they work their way through college and begin their careers. 

Let’s take a closer look at the reality of college debt, how we got into this crisis, and alternatives to avoid taking on crushing debt at any point in your career. 

The reality of the student debt crisis

According to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), more than 45 million people currently have student debt. As a comparison, that’s more than the total population of California. Currently, student debt in the US totals $1.5 trillion, which is higher than all debts other than mortgages.

But, what are some of the underlying causes of this increase in student debt?

AFT goes on to elaborate that student debt has grown over the years, thanks to “…decades of disinvestment in public higher education that has shifted costs onto students and their families while leaving colleges and universities underfunded.” 

While more jobs are requiring degrees and/or certifications for even entry-level positions, it’s become more expensive than ever to meet the requirements, leading people to take on the burden of crushing debt or look for alternative career paths. 

And, while it might sound contradictory, the introduction of Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs may have also contributed to the increase in student debt. These programs offer “forgiveness” to graduates who pursue a career in public service, which may lead to more people taking on loans. Unfortunately, this solution isn’t always permanent, as the forgiveness programs can be altered or even canceled in the future, so it can be a risky option to choose. 

How much have things changed?

So, how much has the average college debt increased over the last several decades? Here are some “fast facts” about how costs have increased over the last 20 years:

  • Average tuition and fees at private national universities jumped 154%
  • Out-of-state tuition and fees at public national universities rose 181%
  • In-state tuition and fees (which are often the most affordable options at national universities) increased by 221%

Similarly, the cost of textbooks has skyrocketed 812% in the last 35 years. 

Unfortunately, wages aren’t increasing nearly as quickly as college fees. In fact, Forbes reports that the price of college has increased almost 8 times faster than wages.

The need for an alternative

With these shocking increases – and no end in sight – many students and/or career changers are looking for alternative education options that can help them start a thriving career without racking up mountains of debt. 

For many, that means looking into a trade like electricity or plumbing, as many trade positions have been left empty while most high school graduates follow a “traditional” path to college. 

For others, (like Carolina Career College students!) a career in Information Technology (IT) fits their needs instead. 

Why choose IT?

IT is an appealing career option because you can develop a successful, fulfilling career without the need for an expensive degree. And, there’s an abundance of IT opportunities available. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.” Similarly, CNBC has two IT positions on its list of the 20 fastest-growing jobs in the US, and the need for IT professionals will only continue to grow. 

The reality is that technology isn’t going anywhere. It will only become more prominent in our lives, and eventually, even low-tech companies and products will have the need for IT professionals on their team. 

While a degree from a four-year college isn’t necessary for most IT job roles, you will put yourself in a better position for success by obtaining certifications that pertain to the job you want to do. 

Employers agree. In fact, 91% of employers believe that IT certifications play an important role during the hiring process. So, if you want to make yourself stand out to hiring managers, pursuing IT certifications is a good place to start. 

Why choose Carolina Career College?

Once you’ve decided that IT is the right choice for you, you’ll need to decide where to get the certifications you need to start your new career. Carolina Career College is a great place to do it!

Our courses are a cheaper alternative than more traditional four-year schools, and if you’re a veteran, our team is well-equipped to help you understand your GI Bill benefits, which can pay up to 100% of your tuition costs. 

Also, our students are typically able to start their new careers in a year or less, compared to the four-year wait of attending a traditional university. Our goal is to give you real-world, hands-on experience so you can get out of the classroom and into your career, earning a steady income. 

And, with Career Services included in your program, you’ll have access to resume writing, interview coaching, and career placement assistance for life. We’ll be here to help you transition to your new career every step of the way, so you can flourish in your IT role, without taking on the amount of debt required for a more traditional college education. 

Ready to get started? Schedule a tour of our campus by clicking the blue button in our navigation bar above, or begin the application process here. We can wait to help you start your new career!


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