The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 7, 2014

Accruing debt in college

NORMAN — Thousands of college students will walk across the stage this month and receive a diploma. More students are attending college and then graduate school.

If their debt load is similar to that of last year’s graduates, 71 percent of them will have an average student debt of $29,400.

Since 2004, student loan debt in the U.S. has nearly tripled. The total is now higher than for credit cards or auto loans, according to the Oklahoma Society of CPAs.

The statewide organization said the student loan debt in Oklahoma remains below the national average, but the delinquency rate in our state is higher than the national average, even after seeing a recent decline, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Additionally, the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Education showed that Oklahoma had one of the highest student loan default rates in the country.

State CPAs have some advice for future students:

· Consider beginning studies at a less-expensive community college and then transfer to a four-year college later.

· Start saving money now. Once you start getting a paycheck, it will be tempting to spend every bit of it, but give serious thought to having a portion deposited automatically into a retirement or emergency savings account.

· Be careful with your credit. If you can learn how to live within your means now, it will serve you well throughout your life. When you use a credit card to finance your purchases, you’re paying extra every time you buy because of the interest that the credit card companies charge you.

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