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Council of Independent Colleges Debunks Student Loan Myths



By Catherine Groux
Posted September 17, 2012 10:00 AM

The Council of Independent Colleges recently debunked student loan myths.
The Council of Independent Colleges recently debunked student loan myths.
Many students are wary of earning an associate's or bachelor's degree based on the information they have seen on the news or heard from recent college graduates. While the nation is struggling to lower student loan debt, the Council of Independent Colleges - a group of over 600 private liberal arts schools - said that much of what people hear about this issue is incorrect. In a new report, the council highlights some of these student loan myths and explains why they are simply untrue.

Many Degree Seekers Owe Over $100,000 After Graduation

Most prospective college students have probably heard of someone who left college with a staggering $100,000 in student loans. While this is the reality for some degree seekers, the council reports that it is very rare. In fact, about one-third of college students graduate with no debt.

On average, however, students can expect to leave school with about $25,250 in student loan debt, according to the Project on Student Debt. However, for those who choose to attend more affordable public schools or community colleges, this figure is typically lower.

Only Students From Wealthy Families Can Go to College

As the cost of college continues to rise, it has become a common belief that only students from wealthy families can afford to pursue higher education. The council states that this is only a myth. Today, people of all backgrounds choose to earn a college degree. In fact, about one-quarter of all college students come from families that earn less than $25,000 annually, and this figure remains about the same at both private and public universities. 

All Private School Students Pay the Same Amount for their Education

When students browse the tuition rates for their prospective private or independent colleges, the numbers may discourage them. These figures can often be high, but individuals should keep in mind that most students do not actually pay the sticker price of the school they enroll in. The council reports that, on average, students pay only about 60% of the total cost of tuition, fees and room and board when they attend a private college. The rest is covered through financial aid, such as grants and scholarships.

"What has been buried in much of the resulting coverage is that while colleges’ published tuition and fees have indeed increased, these so-called 'sticker prices' are not all that informative," Judith Scott-Clayton, an assistant professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, wrote in an article for The New York Times. "...Many students and their families consider only published prices when comparing colleges, without taking financial aid into account."

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