Did you know that in the U.S. we have “over one trillion dollars in student loan debt?” If like myself, you’ve thought about going back to school, but the cost of going back has you weighing your options, we are definitely not alone. Strayer University’s Karl McDonnell, who specializes in Education Management, joined me this week to discuss the severity of student loan debt in this country, why college affordability should be an option, the benefits of bringing tuition down by 40% and the importance of colleges creating a culture of completion.
Candace Rose: How severe is the student loan debt in the U.S.?
Karl McDonnell: “It’s a big problem. We have over one trillion dollars in student loan debt, you’ve got record levels of college delinquency, you’ve got a stagnant employment market which really jeopardizes peoples abilities to repay their student loans…so I think it’s a big issue.”
Candace Rose: Why should college affordability be a priority?
Karl McDonnell: “Well, historically, a college degree has been a tremendous enabler of economic mobility in the United States. Higher education institutions need to play a role in expanding access, but they also need to play an important role in reducing the overall cost of degrees so more people can benefit from a college education.”
Candace Rose: Why is it important for to colleges to create a culture of completion?
Karl McDonnell: “Well, one out of every two people in the United States who enrolls in postsecondary education does not graduate within six years. And so we know there are powerful benefits of people who hold bachelor degrees, but you have to get the degree to get those benefits. So, having a culture of completion, we think is really important for the future workforce of the United States.”
Candace Rose: What are the benefits of bringing tuition down 40%?
Karl McDonnell: “Well, the benefit is expanded access for individuals. We know that in our own research over the last couple of years, financial burdens were a big barrier that prevented a lot of students from feeling that they could enroll and be successful in college. And so by lowering the cost of a degree we’re expanding access to thousands of people potentially.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Karl McDonnell: “The best tip is to always make sure you do a lot of research before you decide to enroll in any institution including:
What are the employment prospects, for the program of study you’re considering to make sure when you graduate that there will be ample jobs in your selected area.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Karl McDonnell: “Strayer.edu and we’d be happy to help any of your viewing audience.”