Even with increases in student loans, professionals say higher education is worth it

Even with the increase in student loans upon graduation, higher education is still a worthy investment.
Even with the increase in student loans upon graduation, higher education is still a worthy investment.

According to a recent New York Times article, school debt for college students is becoming increasingly common. In 1993, less than half of bachelor's degree earners graduated owing money. By 2008, that number had risen to about two-thirds. Similarly, last year, college graduates who took out school loans graduated with about $24,000 in debt.

For many students who are considering higher education, these statistics can seem overwhelming. Judith Scott-Clayton, New York Times blogger and Columbia University professor, said these facts should not deter anyone from pursuing a college degree. Even with over $20,000 in debt the investment is well worth it, she said.

Currently, with a standard 10-year repayment schedule with a fixed interest rate of 6.8 percent, which is standard for unsubsidized federal student loans, payments would equal about $276 per month, Scott-Clayton said. Assuming that people can pay about 10 percent of their gross monthly income on this expense without struggling, a graduate would need to earn about $33,000 annually.

For most people this will be manageable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average bachelor's degree holder makes about $53,300 per year.

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