EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon students are preparing to take on more college debt now that the state Board of Higher Education approved hikes in tuition.
University of Oregon students will pay 5.9 percent more next year.
So what does this mean for the average student?
Somewhere between 50 to 55 percent of the student body gets some sort of financial aid from the school.
Advisors say the tuition hike might not significantly affect financial aid enrollment, but it is putting financial responsibility at the forefront of students’ minds.
Shannon Deyerling holds students’ hands as they try to figure out how they are going to pay for college.
“Kind of help explain their award letter line by line and make sure they kind of understand the loan requirement and what work study is and what the grants mean,” Deyerling said.
That is crucial since sometimes it’s easy to avoid thinking about paying that money back for another four years, “especially with the incoming freshman, explaining that the interest is starting for a lot of these loans right away,” Deyerlin said.
The average UO student will end their college career with $20,928 in debt.
While these numbers are shocking, it’s still lower here than many other schools.
The national average is $25,250, and the state average is $23,967.
Yet it’s still a hefty chunk of change to worry about, especially when unemployment for recent college graduates is climbing.
“It’s getting more national attention, which is helping in a lot of ways. It’s bringing it to students’ attention that this is an issue and something you really need to be thinking about from your freshman year, not just your senior year,” said Financial Director Jim Brooks.
And with tuition increasing again, the financial aid office reminds students to do their due diligence by borrowing money responsibly.
“What you really need to attend here, what you can do without, what are the extras that you really don’t want to borrow student loans to pay for,” Brooks said.
“And to make sure they are aware of the resources so they can find the information online for seeing how much their loan is actually going to cost them in the end,” Deyerling said.
There’s a program on campus called Live Like a Duck that focuses on money management. The goal is to help students learn how to make sound decisions when financing their education.