School districts are struggling to provide for the next generation of students at a time of record student debt
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Students in Ohio and elsewhere across the country are paying more for college than ever.
And many of them are not getting any of it.
Students in state schools and in private and parochial schools, meanwhile, are saddled with huge debt and are paying a higher share of their income in interest.
That’s because the average student in the nation’s largest state is saddled by a larger portion of his or her federal student loan debt than at any point since the government began keeping track.
The number of outstanding federal student loans reached $1.2 trillion last year, the largest annual increase in at least 30 years, according to the Federal Reserve.
Nationwide, federal student debt surpassed $1 trillion for the first time last year.
The student debt crisis is the latest in a long string of factors that have driven the national debt skyward, leaving many struggling to pay their way through college.
But there is no sign the student debt is headed down.
As many as a third of the population may have borrowed more than $1,000,000 in federal student aid, and more than a quarter of college graduates in the United States have student loans.
In some states, such as Florida, Texas and Ohio, students are paying even more for school than they did when the recession began.
That could be bad news for the future of young people and a national effort to keep them in school.
But the federal government isn’t going to pay off the debt of millions of students by the time they graduate, and it may not even be in their best interest to do so.
In many states, students and their families are struggling with student loan debts that have grown faster than their incomes.
And for many, that debt is ballooning as the nation recovers from the economic downturn and has a higher number of graduates than in any time in more than three decades.
It also has grown at a faster pace than wages.
The average student at Ohio’s two largest public high schools owes $9,947 in student loan balances, more than four times the $3,300 he or she borrowed five years ago, according for-profit college records.
That includes tuition and fees for classes in math, English and science and the cost of housing and meals for students.
At the highest-performing public high school in Ohio, Bartlett High School, that figure is $10,972.
Students at two private parochials and two parochially affiliated schools owe $6,816, according, to state data.
In all, some 3.5 million students in Ohio owe at least $25,000.
At least 2.5 percent of students in the state are living with debt, according a state survey.
The growing debt is driving a growing number of students to take out private student loans, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each.
At a time when the U.S. economy is recovering, many students are choosing to take on debt for college, even if it is not worth the cost.
A recent report by the Institute on College Access and Success found that nearly half of all private high school graduates and more-than half of college grads in the U., with an average debt of $30,000 each, have taken out a loan.
That debt is often higher than the student loan balance, which is about $15,000 for students in private high schools and $19,000 per graduate in public high education.
Many of the students are taking on private loans in order to pay for college and are not aware of the additional interest that they could be paying, said Laura Hockney, the executive director of the Institute.
It’s a choice that can be hard for students to make, she said.
A large portion of students who take out a private loan are taking out loans to pay tuition at a for-profits college.
Many students who are paying off their loans don’t realize that interest is charged for any remaining balance.
Students who do pay off their student loans often find that their debt is growing.
At one private high-school in Cleveland, the average outstanding balance rose $1 in three years, rising from $637 to $1 million, according.
In other schools, such ones as Bartlett, students have borrowed heavily and then taken out loans for other purposes, which has also increased their debt, Hocksey said.
The trend is similar for many students who attend for-credit private colleges.
In 2011-12, more students took out loans than attended for-curricular or summer schools.
The rising cost of attending for-pay colleges has become a concern for many parents who are struggling financially to pay the bills.
At Bartlett and the other for-private schools, students pay tuition, fees and other costs on top of tuition and a portion of their state aid.
At some for-sale schools,