Pa. ranked No. 2 nationwide in student debt, new report finds | Tuesday Morning Coffee

Photo via pxHere

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

So we were in Target over the weekend, where our First Born recoiled at the new display of school supplies.

Like her, we agreed that the second week of July is a tad early to start thinking about new binders and pens and notebook paper, when, really, your thoughts should extend no farther than the distance between your beach chair and the surf — or the pool.

But while there’s still weeks to go before classes begin for another year, families across Pennsylvania, and nationwide, are sweating the college tuition payments that their rising freshman will start making with clockwork regularity for the next four years.

And those freshmen are no doubt sweating the loan payments that many of them may be making years after someone hands them a slip of parchment paper and tells them they’re done with their undergraduate education.

In 2016, the average Pennsylvania student left college carrying $35,185 in debt. And 69 percent of students would graduate owing money, according to a PennLive analysis at the time.

We don’t want to point any fingers, but the fact that, in Penn State University, the Keystone State is home to the most expensive flagship public university in the country, might have something to do with that.

But Happy Valley is hardly an outlier when it comes to runaway tuition. In 2014, the University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania College of Technology joined Penn State on the list of the 10 most expensive public institutions in the country, according to Business Insider.

Old Main at Penn State (Flickr Commons)

So given those dubious distinctions, perhaps it’s not too surprising that Pennsylvania ranks second in the nation this year for states with the most student debt.

That analysis, by the financial literacy site, WalletHub, “compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 12 key metrics. The data set ranges from average student debt to unemployment rate among the population aged 25 to 34 to share of students with past-due loan balances.”

Here’s how Pennsylvania broke down (Here, 1=Most, 25=Average)

  • 2nd – Avg. Student Debt
  • 5th – Proportion of Students with Debt
  • 12th – Student Debt as % of Income (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
  • 8th – Unemployment Rate of Population Aged 25 to 34
  • 25th –  Percentage of Student Loans Past Due or in Default
  • 11th – Percentage of Student-Loan Borrowers Aged 50+
  • 29th – Availability of Student Jobs
  • 7th – Availability of Paid Internships
  • 20th – Grant Growth

From WalletHub, here are the five states with the most debt:

1. South Dakota
2. Pennsylvania
3. West Virginia
4. New Hampshire
5. Iowa

And these are the five states with the least student debt:

1. Utah
2. Hawaii
3. California
4. Wyoming
5. Washington

Mouse over the map below for state-by-state results.

Source: WalletHub

WalletHub checked in with Robert Springall, the VP of Enrollment Management at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, to ask him for debt management and loan tips. Here’s what he had to say for himself:

Q: What are your tips for students who want to to minimize the amount of debt they take out for their higher education?

Springall: “While you’re thinking about minimizing your student debt, also think about what you can do during college to make sure you can pay it back. The most important thing you can do is graduate and graduate on-time. Whether you are going for a certificate, a two-year degree, or a four-year degree, the best way to put your college experience to work is to finish.”A college that invests in your success will offer you access to an academic advisor, who can be very helpful in guiding you through your program. Use that person to make sure you stay on track by both choosing your courses wisely and getting help to succeed in class and get all the way to graduation.”

Q: How should students and their parents think about the return on investment to spending on higher education?

Springall: “I often hear the question, “Do your graduates get jobs?” Why, yes, they do. I would encourage families to think a little more broadly, though. Perhaps by asking:

  • Will this place inspire me to do my best?
  • Who will I turn to when I have questions?
  • What resources are available to help me prepare for life after college, whether that’s a job, graduate or professional school, or another path?
  • To that end, do the faculty seem invested in students’ after-college success?
  • And what are the college’s graduates doing 15, 20, and 25 years after graduation?

“And it’s in getting answers to that last question where families hear about some of the interesting pathways to success that really explain what a college can do to launch their graduates.

“Some of the most interesting careers start not with a dream job, but one opportunity that leads to another and then another. Focusing on only the first job after college misses the benefit of gaining experience and building networks that can pay much greater dividends in the future.”

WikiMedia Commons

Our Stuff:
Stephen Caruso 
leads our coverage this morning with the latest push to get funding for the Census in Pennsylvania in 2020.

Sarah Anne Hughes has all you need to know about some crime victims bills that Gov. Tom Wolf ceremonially signed into law on Monday..

In this week’s edition of The Numbers Racket, we take a look at the sharp partisan and demographic differences in the way Americans regard the terms ‘socialism‘ and ‘capitalism.’

Elizabeth Hardison went to a roundtable on veteran suicides and found the deaths all have one thing in common: Access to firearms.

On our Commentary Page, a University of Michigan scholar explains why your diet might be contributing to dead zones in Lake Erie and the Chesapeake Bay.

Decidedly not humble –President Donald Trump (Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr Commons)

Elsewhere.
President Donald Trump
 has chosen Pennsylvania as the launching point for a national campaign to improve his standing with women. Yeah, good luck on that. (via The Inquirer).
Detroit jury has acquitted Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner’s husband of all the charges filed against him (basically, being an African-American man in a hotel), the Post-Gazette reports.
Penn State President Eric J. Barron is one of the top-earning university presidents in the country, PennLive reports.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., says the citizenship of four women members of Congress maligned by President Donald Trump in a despicable and racist Tweet is “as valid as mine,” the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

View this post on Instagram

Foggy morning on the shore #pittsburgh

A post shared by Lukas Kosslow (@kosslowphotography) on

In a protest in Philly, Democratic Prez candidate Bernie Sanders has called on officials to keep Hahnemann Hospital openWHYY-FM reports.
The PA Post runs down five things that didn’t make it into the FY 2019-2020 state budget.
Settlements from opioid-makers have touched off debate on how to spend the moneyStateline.org reports.
Politico explains how Trump aides tried to ‘repackage’ the president’s odious tweets as a defense of patriotism.

What Goes On.
The House Democratic Policy Committee legs it to Allentown for a 3 p.m. public hearing on career and technical education, hosted by the all-singing, all-dancing Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh.

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf has two, very different events on his schedule today.
At 10 a.m., he’s on AFSCME property in Harrisburg to talk about what the state is doing about those dang Spotted Lantern flies. And at 1:15 p.m., he’s in the Reception Room, where, joined by education advocates, the Guv will tout new state spending on K-12 education included in the FY 2019-20 state budget.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
State Rep. Mike Zabel, D-Delaware, holds a 5:30 p.m. reception at Misconduct Tavern (Yes, that’s what it’s called. No, we hope it’s not prophetic) in Philadelphia. Admission runs from a mere $500 to a truly ridiculous $5,000.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Have a birthday you want celebrated? Hit us on [email protected]

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a gem from Fleetwood Mac (Yes, Fleetwood Mac)It’s ‘You Make Lovin’ Fun.’

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
Cleveland got past Detroit 8-6 on Monday night.

And now you’re up to date.

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here