A growing number of college students in our region are going into debt just to pay for their education. It's a problem that has some experts concerned.
Valdosta State University is like a lot of colleges in our region, constantly growing with new students.
While it may be a good time for school, paying for it is becoming increasingly difficult, with more students going into debt to cover their costs.
Doug Tanner, VSU Financial Aid Director, says, "The grant and scholarship programs really don't keep pace with all the increases in cost, and there are a lot of costs that people really wouldn't associate with higher education. There are increases in cost of living, cost of apartments, food and transportation."
A new report shows that the average debt for a graduate is just over $15,000, a number that could climb if recent trends continue.
While the numbers show that debt is becoming a real problem, students I spoke with say they're not overly concerned about the issue, because they simply see it an investment in their future.
Daniel J. Housley, a VSU sophomore, says, "I'm not all that concerned. I kind of believe that taking out student loans is kind of a good thing. They're low interest rates, and it benefits me now and later. I'll be able to pay them off once I get my degree."
And as states continue to struggle with tight budgets, some financial aid experts say the problem could get worse, as states continue to shift the cost of higher education onto the students.
Financial experts say students can be more pro-active about avoiding debt by better planning their financial future.