Across America, September marked a month of contrasting feelings for millions of college-bound kids (and their parents). While many will have been exhilarated with their new found freedoms, others will have been dreading the beginning of associated debts, potentially up to $200,000 in tuition, room and board, which will be incurred over the next few years, and could take a lifetime to settle.
Astronomically high tuition fees do not only apply to private schools, but state schools too. Payments of loans taken out by students, like any debt, can be postponed, but ultimately they need to be repaid and statistics show that millions of students will never be able to settle their loans. Moreover, even community colleges encourage students to take out loans, which is particularly problematic as many come from low-income backgrounds. Within three years of entering repayment, 9.7 percent of student loan borrowers default, according to the Education Department.
Critics of the college system say that defaulting on loans can have serious consequences for a young person’s future. Doing so will lead to bad credit reports, which can prevent them securing property or cars, among other things. Among these critics is President Biden, who’s administration recently announced a debt-forgiveness law, due to come into effect shortly. Proponents, however, point out that a college education is now more important than ever as it provides an extremely strong return on investment, and the numbers speak for themselves — graduates with bachelor’s degrees pay $563,000 more in taxes than high-school graduates who never attended college.
CodeWizardsHQ, a provider of coding classes for kids and teens, questioned 2,008 young Americans (18-24) about whether they consider a college degree (and its associated fees) as a benefit or burden. Over 1 in 3 (39 percent) young adults in California consider a college degree as a financial burden. This is compared to a national average of 47 percent. When broken down by gender, 49 percent of women consider it a burden, compared to 45percent of men.
When broken down across the states, it was the respondents in New Hampshire who felt most strongly about this, with 81 percent of young people believing that further education and its high costs will saddle them with debt for years to come. Maine’s young people were more optimistic, however — 55 percent consider a college degree as a benefit.
The survey also found that, given the high levels of student debt within the country, only 38 percent of those aged 18-24 felt they would be able to achieve the same levels of financial security as their parents in their lifetimes.
While students from a low-income background are disproportionally affected by loan defaults, more encouraging news is that when it comes to high school students, and the courses they take such as computer science, there is more of a level playing field.
Indeed, CodeWizardsHQ also carried out a comprehensive study identifying the most and least progressive states when it comes to access and enrollment to computer science courses across high schools.
The company analyzed data from Advocacy Coalition to determine a ranking from 1 to 50 (with 1 being the highest ranking) of each state’s I.T. progressiveness. Ranking factors included: rural accessibility, race accessibility, minority student accessibility, female enrollment, economically disadvantaged student enrollment, and the number of high schools offering computer sciences to students
Surprisingly, the study revealed that some of the poorer states, including South Carolina and Alabama, are among the most progressive. Topping the rankings as No. 1 most progressive state for computer science study opportunities is South Carolina. The Palmetto State stood out on a number of factors. These include a high rural access rate of 92 percent, and a minority student access rate of 98 percent.