News Column

EDITORIAL: Save, or risk big debt

June 7, 2014

St. Joseph News-Press, Mo.

June 07--You might be able to pay for your kids' college education -- but not without planning, a huge stroke of good luck, or both.

First, the kind of news that causes families everywhere to wonder what the future holds:

--The average 2014 college graduate with student-loan debt owes $33,000, according to Edvisors, a group of websites focused on planning and paying for college. The total, adjusted for inflation, is nearly double the amount borrowed two decades earlier.

--About 70 percent of this year's college graduates are leaving with student loans, compared to less than half of the graduates two decades before.

So, to recap: college debts are large and growing, and sharply more graduates are leaving with debt than in the past.

On the plus side of the ledger, these points give hope:

--A Gallup poll of 30,000 grads finds future happiness in jobs and careers is barely influenced by whether you attend an elite (and expensive) campus.

Much larger determinants of success are whether students feel support from faculty, have experiences such as internships that relate to their chosen field of study, and are engaged in campus life. Fortunately, access to all of these experiences can be found on the affordable college campuses in our region.

--Options for saving for college include one highly regarded option, MOST -- Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan. This tax-favored investment account can be opened for free and accepts contributions of as little as $15 through payroll direct deposits.

This month, participants in MOST 529 Plans can apply for a dollar-for-dollar match on their contributions -- up to $500 in grant money. It's a first-come, first-served benefit of a program that offers flexibility and many other advantages.

To find out more, enroll or apply for a grant match, visit or call (800) 992-8790.


(c)2014 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.)

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Source: St. Joseph News-Press (MO)

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