September 5, 2020

Letter to the editor: College debt crisis is not overstated

Letter to the editor: College debt crisis is not overstated


The Another View guest editorial suggesting the Press Herald “overstates” the student loan crisis just proves that there is a crisis. The author states that students should pay no more than $22,000 for a four-year degree. If they do so, they can easily repay their loans.

The problem is, that’s impossible for most people. Take, for instance, a family earning the median household income in Maine, $55,600. In-state tuition at a state school is usually the cheapest option. At UMaine, the net price calculator states that an in-state student with an after-tax income between $40,000 and $49,000 will, on average, be asked to pay, after grants and loans, $15,768 for one year. That’s over $63,000 for a four-year degree.

There are a small number of exceptional students who will be offered scholarships allowing them to pay no more than $22,000 for a four-year degree. But there are far more smart, capable, but not exceptional, students who would benefit – and benefit our economy – by getting a college degree, but who will find their most cost effective option is UMaine Orono at $63,000.

The definition of a student loan crisis is being told to avoid a debt problem, find a college that costs $22,000 for a four-year degree and discovering the lowest cost option is three times that amount.

Sigrid Olson
Cape Elizabeth


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