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PSU advice on handling high cost of college
Author: Tim Gordon, KGW
Posted: October 24, 2013

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PORTLAND -- On a beautiful fall day at Portland State University, students are everywhere. They are continually paying more to go to school there, as well as at other colleges and universities across the country.

The average student loan debt for graduates of public universities is up to $25,000. It’s only gone up one percent this year, but federal aid is down even more.

PSU held a town hall called “From Debt to Degree” Wednesday, bringing in experts to answer questions about how to handle the high cost of college.

“Half your costs are going to be in tuition, half in living expenses. You have to plan for it in advance and every dollar you save is a dollar less you’re going to have to borrow,” said Mark Kantrowitz of Edvisors.com.

Kantrowitz said the cost of college education triples every 17 years, so you have to plan to pay for it.

Cameron Andrews is a little older than the average Sophomore. He’s recently married, working part time, and a full-time student. He said even with a financial aid package, he’s scraping by financially.

“I have a couple of bills I need to pay for the beginning of the month and I am literally looking at my checking account and wondering when my next check’s gonna come in,” said Andrews.

The College Board just released its annual study of college costs and Oregon rank 47th in the country for state support of undergraduates, contributing $250 to each undergraduate. The national average is $670. Washington gives $1,100 dollars.

Experts say as a graduate it’s best to not be in debt any more than your first year salary in your chosen career. That takes saving and planning by students and their families.

KGW’s Tracy Barry moderated the town hall at PSU.