Free tuition plan would help community college student debtors
- President Barack Obama's free community college plan would help students who have the greatest difficulty repaying their student loans, despite the already-low price of a two-year degree, Fortune.com reports.
- The student loan default rate for community college students is more than twice that of four-year college students, even though their average annual tuition is $3,347, compared to more than $9,000 for public four-year schools, in state, and more than $31,000 for private schools.
- For community college students who take out student loans, the average debt load is $10,000.
The Fortune article draws attention to an important point that is often lost in the discussion about student loan debt: The student’s ability to repay the debt is driven not just by the size of the tuition bill. Also, one of the punishments faced by student loan defaulters is being cut off from additional financial aid, which disproportionately hurts would-be students who need college the most. The Obama plan also wouldn’t cover housing, books, or transportation expenses, which average $7,705, $1,328, and $1,735, respectively, for community college students.