Which cities offer the best university tuition?
The most expensive cities in America to attend college are not the same as the least expensive cities.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The average monthly tuition at four-year institutions nationwide is more than $21,000, according to a report from the Institute for College Access & Success, an organization dedicated to ending inequality in higher education.
But that’s just the cost of tuition at the four-week, non-degree-granting American University of Chicago, where more than half the students earn less than $15,000 annually.
In Chicago, the average student-loan debt is $16,600.
The average amount borrowed is nearly $27,000.
While the national average student loan debt is now $1,073,000 per student, in the Chicago area, the median debt is just over $23,000 — a number that’s down more than 80% since 2010, according the report.
“We are spending more on education than in any other major U.S. city, but we have more than enough money to fund college and research,” said Susan Stokes, the president of the nonprofit group.
“We need to be more selective in the types of degrees we offer.”
A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, meanwhile, found that in the cities of Chicago and New York City, students with bachelor’s degrees earned less than those with only a high school diploma.
In other words, for those who can afford to pay for college, the best colleges in the country are located in lower-cost cities.
Stokes said that students with the highest average debt burden should focus on their majors and pursue a field that will help them better prepare for college.
“The problem is, that’s not how colleges are funded anymore,” she said.
“They are being funded by the federal government, and that means that for many students, a lot of their college money is going to go to the government.”
Students with a high level of debt have a much higher risk of not finding a job as adults, the report found.
Stokes said there is a disconnect between students who attend school and those who don’t, with many graduates still living in poverty.
“That’s the biggest concern,” she added.
“It’s not about the students, it is about the debt.”
For example, in Chicago, one in five students graduate with a bachelor’s degree, according data from the Department of Education.
But in New York, one out of five graduates are living in the poorest neighborhoods in the city.
The report also found that students who receive financial aid are more likely to take out loans and to borrow money to cover costs.
The percentage of students who have loans has increased from 35% in 2010 to 46% in 2020.
And while most of the loans are for college tuition, the percentage of graduates with loans is much higher, up from 8% in 2009 to 20% in 2018.
In Chicago, students who take out loan loans have higher odds of not earning an income as adults.
Nearly one in four graduates with undergraduate loans has never worked or is not looking for work.
Nearly 60% of all students who received Pell Grants, or federal aid, said they were working or seeking work as adults in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available.
Students with loans are also more likely than graduates without debt to have an interest rate on student loans that exceeds 6%.
That means students who borrow for college will spend more on college than students without debt.
“These numbers speak to the fact that we need to focus on the graduates, not the students,” Stokes told ABC News.
“The students have a responsibility to take on these burdens, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t invest in our graduates and students.”
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