Student debt was the topic of discussion for a panel at Colorado State University called “Paying for College: The Problem of Student Debt” on April 5.
Dr. Alex Bernasek, department chair of economics, Tom Biedschied, director of finical aid, Dr. Mike martin, chancellor emeritus and senior fellow, along with Dr. Rick Miranda, provost, spoke to CSU students and attendees on the ongoing issues surrounding student debt and loans.
Bernasek began the presentation discussing the increasing trend of student debt and how it has affected the incoming college classes.
“There is a plethora of research demonstrating that this debt is having an impact on people’s lives,” Bernasek said.
There are increasing rates of those with stake in these debts to the degree that student loans have larger numbers of participants than other types of loans, Bernasek said.
“As a university we need to more research on the connections and consequences of opportunities provided to those who need to take out the loans,” Bernasek said.
Bernasek emphasized the fact that certain groups are more affected than others concerning the struggle to afford to pay for college.
Following up Bernasek was Miranda, who explained the CSU budget allotted to financial aid that exists currently for the student body.
“Most of the costs go to just paying the professors, the housing and dining, parking, all unrelated to the delivery of undergraduate advancement,” Miranda said.
Miranda said the school only has a certain amount of money left over after all of those expenses to pay for student needs.
“$450 million… has not changed in 30 or 40 years if you adjust it by per student (and) adjust inflation cost. (It) has been remarkably flat for decades,” Miranda said.
What is different is the financing of this money, which consists of the tuition of student and state appropriations, Miranda said.
Miranda said from the 1980s until now the payment has completely switched from being three-quarters from the state and one-fourth student paying the fees to three-quarters from the students to one-quarter from the state.
This expresses the defunding of higher education around the country that has been an ongoing trend and, if this trend continues, Colorado is projected to be one of the first states to receive zero government aid.
Miranda concluded his portion of the panel by mentioning the shift in willingness to pay taxes towards the state for tuition.
“In this generation we seem to be making the choice to pay less in taxes and more in tuition,” Miranda said.
Preceding Miranda, Biedscheid spoke about the difficulties of the high total cost of attendance for a student to attend the university.
“Students see the initial price of attending and tend to shut it down before even looking into the aid options we provide,” Biedscheid said.
Biescheid discussed the university’s efforts to help students who need financial aid in order to even consider attending school.
“Going into this fall we are expecting tuition to be about $27,000… our solution was to implement an application in addition to FAFSA… to target those who needed our assets, with about 4 million in additional aid,” Biedschied said.
Biedschied discussed the existing student budgets, considering the on-campus living requirements and their strategic grant awards that they provide students.
Last to speak was Martin who presumed to discuss the diversity problem that is prevalent not only in the finical aid community, but also on CSU campus as well.
He spoke on the lack of diverse ethnic groups on CSU’s campus, specifically the Hispanic minority.
“Hispanics make 82 percent of what their colleagues make and they come from poor families who take on more debt,” Martin said.
Martin said CSU is not doing a great job at helping these groups since they receive relatively small pell grants, putting the future workforce at risk. He concluded by recognizing that CSU needs to do more to help these groups excel since there are other states with large Hispanic populations that have allowed for the poorest minority students to succeed.
Collegian reporter Logan Crizer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @logloc19.