KYW Regional Affairs Council

“College for the Cost-Conscious”


By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The cost of higher education has become an increasingly heavy burden.  Students are finding different ways to adapt.

(Tamara Draut. Photo provided)

“Taking out debt to get a diploma has become the rule instead of the exception,” says Tamara Draut of the New York-based public policy think tank Demos (right).   She contributed to “The Great Cost Shift,” an in-depth report on tuition and debt.

“More and more students are taking on more and more debt, leaving themselves very vulnerable, especially today when we know unemployment is still a problem for young people,” she says.  “There’s now one trillion dollars in student loan debt.”

The average borrower owes more than $24,000. But some students are refusing to buy in.

“I was originally planning to go to Temple and/or Cornell,” says 20-year-old Brian Pentz of Levittown, Pa.  He was overcome with a severe case of sticker shock when he looked into the price, so he decided to enroll in community college.

“This was better suited,” Pentz says.  “I could get a lot more of my courses out of the way, transfer out, and almost halve my costs.”

(James Linksz. Photo provided)

Bucks County Community Collegepresident James Linksz (right) says there’s been a huge increase in enrollment at two-year colleges across the state.

“You see probably 60,000 additional students at community colleges in the last five years, if you’re counting the 14 community colleges statewide,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

And a survey by the scholarship search web site MeritAid found that 60 percent of high school seniors considered less prestigious universities strictly for financial reasons.


Listen to Part 3…