04 graduates have more debt

by Becka Neary

The average Simpson graduate from last year racked up $21,493 indebt.

Of those graduates, 91 percent took out loans to pay for theireducation. This is an increase in both the average debt and thepercentage of students taking out loans.

“There are cuts made in our state budget every semester,” TraciePavon, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and FinancialAssistance said, “It seems to be a trend in the last couple ofyears.”

The 2003 graduating class’ average debt was $20,867 while thepercentage of students taking out loans was only 86 percent.

Student don’t always choose the school that offers the mostfinancial aid to minimize debt.

“When I was looking for a college, financial aid was importantbut not the only thing,” freshman Kayla Burkhiser said.

Standard loan interest rates are as low as 3.57 percent.According to Pavon interest rates are the lowest they have everbeen, but they are reset on July 1 every year.

“We try to do a lot of loan counseling an have a successfuldefault rate,” Pavon said.

Counseling in consolidation, deferment, interest rates and loansis available from the financial office or a financial peeradvisor.

“The financial aid office helped me get through the exitinterview,” Amanda Bix ’04 said, “They also helped me get my loansforgiven for the teacher forgiveness loans.”

Pavon said students at Simpson receive more aid fromscholarships and grants rather than from loans.

“I think students should get as much financial aid as possiblethrough the school, and shortages beyond that are probably besthandled through the various student loan programs,” said SteveTempleton, alumnus and parent of a Simpson student. “I feel theseprograms offer the best terms as far as interest rate and repaymentterms are concerned.”