The Texan Talks: Student debt and college affordability

Walker Fountain

This week, the Daily Texan Forum will explore the topic of student debt. Student debt has been a paramount issue in American politics, particularly in the last 15 years, as tuition prices have been consistently rising since before the 1980s. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the graduating class of American students in 2015 will, on average, have around $35,000 of debt. And the issue may be getting worse — as the state and federal governments grapple with bloated budgets and the need for efficiency, public universities can expect difficult times in the coming years, as they try to do more with a stagnant level of funding from their governments. This crisis has significance at the University of Texas as well — while in-state student tuition has remained stagnant or pegged to inflation in recent years, the potential for a tuition increase remains in the near future. And with the cost of living within the City of Austin rising, students can expect to pay more for rent, utilities and other basic necessities. 

Thus, the issue of student debt will remain, if not grow, over the next few years as students will be forced to borrow money from the government and private lenders in order to get their degrees. In this forum page we will hear from Rachel Osterloh, the president of the Senate of College Councils, about her organization’s efforts in advocating for the University at the federal, state and local level, and about their efforts to support students to keep tuition low and debt down. We will also hear an interview with Trina Manor, the associate director for the Office of Financial Aid, who discusses practical ways students can avoid debt in college and various other issues relating to student debt, financial aid and loans. As always, please join Editor-in-Chief Claire Smith at 11 a.m. in the Texas Union Sinclair Suite, as she moderates a discussion with Ms. Manor about what students should know both during and after their time on the 40 Acres.

Fountain is a government senior from Pelham, New York. Fountain is the Forum Editor. Follow him on Twitter @wf_atx.