Student debt is a reality that affects millions of Americans, and that debt continues to grow.

In the U.S., student debt totals to about $1.5 trillion, according to Federal Reserve data, beating out auto loans at $1.1 trillion and credit card debt at  $977 billion.

But is it worth the cost? Eighty-six percent of college-educated millennials say that their degrees were worth it and paid off, or expect that it will, according to the Pew Research Center.

However, the cost continues to increase.

College Board reported the average published tuition and fee price for full-time in-state students at public four-year universities is $9,970 in 2017-18.

That’s 3.1 percent higher than it was in 2016-17.

The average 2017-18 tuition for private universities is $33,450, increasing 4.4 percent.

Plattsburgh State art major Hailey Frey isn’t surprised by the increasing cost of college because “they [colleges] try to get as much as they can” from the students.

About four out of 10 Americans have taken out student loan to pay for higher education. Frey, like many others, is one of them.

However, one gender is taking on more of the debt than the other.

Sixty-six percent of student debt is held by women, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), an advocacy group for women’s education.

Not only do women hold most of the debt, they also get more interest on their loans.

The AAUW reports that because of the disadvantage of the wage gap for comparable work, women take longer to pay off their loans making their interest rates higher.

Frey is angry at what could possibly lie ahead for her.

“It’s stressful because I’m a woman and I’m probably gonna have to deal with this too,” Frey said.

Frey then criticized the PSUC residential meal plan system of mandating student have a meal plan if they live on campus.

“The freshman meal plan is over $2,000 a semester, and the other places to eat have ‘deals’ but they’re more expensive than if you went to the store,” Frey said.

Frey said that despite the cost of her education, she joins the 86 percent of millennials in the belief that it was all worth it.

She’s glad that she still decided to pursue it because of the experiences she has had here.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself and have done things I never thought I was capable of, and I should be able to handle the debt,” Frey added with a laugh.

 

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