Student loans are the most expensive debt millions of Americans will likely carry with them before owning a home. In 2013, “federal student loans surpassed $1 trillion for the first time.” In the two years since, they have simply continued to grow, now “totaling $1.182 trillion in the third quarter of 2015, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.” Unsurprisingly then, behind the rising cost of student debt is the rapidly rising cost of higher education.
In the five years between 2010 and 2015, the cost of tuition for a four-year public college in all fifty states increased by, “as much as 56 percent in Louisiana and close to 40 percent in states like Arizona and Georgia, according to a report from the Urban Institute.”
Maine saw the lowest tuition hikes from 2010 to 2015—only one percent increases for students. However, other states saw huge increases. Arizona students face a 45 percent higher tuition than in 2010. Meanwhile, Georgia students have to wrestle with a 48 percent greater tuition. Sixteen states in the United States have a tuition increase over 20 percent, while more than 25 states saw tuition jump by more than 15 percent. Meanwhile, only 9 states had tuition increases below 10 percent.
The rising cost of public college is a major topic on the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton has already announced plans to make public college more affordable, and the conversation between candidates is far from over. Additionally, millennials are delaying major life decisions—marriage, children, and homeownership—and the looming debt from education is not encouraging them to buy a house anytime soon.
Deciding to go to college is a huge decision—and for many parents, starting a college fund is part of the family planning conversation. Finding ways to give your child the best opportunities is a goal all parents share. Whether you’d like to discuss your child’s future fifteen or eighteen years ahead of time, or you’re looking to help them make an education decision about debt as they start applying to schools, speaking to a financial advisor can make the process less daunting and more successful. Contact an advisor at Apex Financial Advisors today to develop a plan for affording education—no matter what age your future graduate is currently. Smart decisions now can save you—and your child—thousands of dollars in the future.