Hamilton (WSYR-TV) -- High school seniors have until May 1 to decide which college they’ll attend and price is becoming more of a deciding factor. There’s now more student loan debt than both credit card and auto debt in the U.S.
The average student debt right now totals $25,000. Students we spoke to have much more than that, but still say education is worth it.
Colgate University student Andrew Weinstein estimates he’ll owe up to $70,000 by the time he graduates.
“Hopefully I’ll make a lot of money after graduation to pay it off,” he said.
Gary Ross is the admissions dean for Colgate University. He says to minimize debt it’s important to compare financial aid packages before choosing a school.
“It's really important to find out what a school's financial aid policy is in terms of continuing the financial aid package they have already received,” Ross said.
Ross says make sure to ask the following questions:
- Will I get this financial aid package all four years of school?
- Does this financial aid package meet 100 percent of my demonstrated need?
“If it does not, 'please show me where you have made the gap. Is it in the grant or is it in the loan and please tell me if that gap can increase,'” Ross continued.
Ross says Colgate's financial aid department works to make the process less overwhelming and the average Colgate student leaves with $13,000 of debt. Tuition at Colgate is over $42,000 a year, but the aid is out there, but it’s up to students and parents to be proactive finding the best college and the best financial fit.
New Federal research found that Americans 60 and older still owe about $36 billion in student loans.