Arizona students are paying more than they have to for college

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by Christine LaCroix

azfamily.com

Posted on September 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Updated Sunday, Sep 16 at 12:00 PM

PHOENIX -- Americans are in trouble when it comes to student loans, and Arizona is no different. It's an expensive combination of picking more expensive loan options, taking out too many loans, and choosing majors that don't pay off in the long run.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released new information Thursday showing that the majority of college students who took out private loans to pay for school did not exhaust all of their lower cost federal financial aid options.
Private loans often have higher interests rates and offer little in the way of forbearance and forgiveness, meaning students who opt for these kinds of loans will pay more in the long run and have fewer options if they have a hard time making payments.
The Student Loan Debt Clock has the figure for outstanding American loan debt at well over $1 trillion for both federal and private student loans.
A study from Credit Karma puts the average student loan debt in Arizona at more than $27,000.
“I think the most important thing for students to recognize is that this is only go to work out for them if this is an investment in their future,” said Sarah Boeden, an executive vice president of operations at Grand Canyon University. “It’s only an investment if the risk you take pays off on the back end.”
Boeden says the best investment for students is, “anything in the healthcare industry.”
Administrators at Grand Canyon University sit students down with online calculators to help them add up exactly how much college will cost based on the choices they make.
“The number one, biggest mistake by far is taking out too much money for living expenses,” said Boeden.
Boden offers a number of tips for students to help keep student loan debt in check:
Borrow federal loans first, then opt for private.
Search for scholarships or a work-study program.
Borrow only the minimum necessary for tuition and living expenses.
Pick a major in a field where jobs are in high demand, so you’ll be more able to pay off loans in the future.

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