Student Debt: Up, up, up!

The latest numbers on student debt are out, in a report by the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS). It will come as a surprise to  no one who’s been paying attention that the numbers continue to climb.

HigherEd1According to TICAS’ newest report, the average 2012 college graduate owes nearly $30,000 in debt. This figure is up more than 25% from the graduating class of 2008.

We’ve explored before the rising debt for Oregon students, resulting from years of state disinvestment. Oregon spends the third smallest amount on higher education in the nation (as a percentage of overall budget.)

But there’s no sign of the crisis slowing. Oregon’s public universities are considering further cuts or tuition hikes to balance their budgets.

PSU President Wim Wiewel, in a letter to students last week, shared that PSU’s budget shortfall was reduced in part by increased tuition revenue — but that the University “will continue to ask units to identify larger potential adjustments” (i.e., departments still need to make cuts.)

Southern Oregon University announced last week that they too must continue making deep cuts mid-way into the school year. From OPB:

Southern Oregon University is headed for another retrenchment, meaning it will pare entire programs rather than make across-the-board cuts.

President Mary Cullinan said Thursday the school will start cutting faculty and programs next year, the Medford Mail Tribune reported.

She said it was a result of rising enrollment and falling state aid.

Between 1999 and 2011, Cullinan said, Southern Oregon’s appropriation declined by about $13 million, not adjusting for inflation, while the university now serves about 800 more students than it did in 1999.

Right now, Oregon university students are being offered reduced opportunities — limited class offerings and ever-growing teacher-student ratios — yet are paying more than ever for them.

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