- 71% of all students graduating from four-year colleges had student loan debt, which represents 1.3 million students.
- 66% of graduates from public colleges had student loans.
- 75% of graduates from private nonprofit colleges had student loans.
- 88% of graduates from for-profit colleges had student loans.
Breakdown: The Numbers
|Total cost for the first year||$52,000|
|Institutional Scholarship (need based and merit based)||40,000|
|Honors program merit scholarship||4,000|
|Work study (doesn’t include the money I actually make from working on campus)||1,800|
|Total in Financial Aid:||45,800|
|Remaining amount to pay:||$6,200|
A Few More Notes on Money
What Other Options Are There? Looking Back
- I couldn’t file out the FAFSA because as a non-US citizen, I was not eligible for financial aid from the government.
- I also couldn’t take out a loan unless I had an adult American citizen willing to cosign on the loan. This is a lot to ask of another person (especially someone who wasn’t family) because if I were unable to pay up on my student loans, they would be liable and have to pay the loan instead of me.
- The majority of independent scholarship organizations are not available to international students either, though that number is steadily rising.
- Many colleges don’t even offer financial aid to international students to begin with, which severely limited my college choices
Sizing Up My Application Profile
- Diversity. I was an international student when they were looking to increase student diversity. Sure enough, you’ll find my face on some admissions brochures at Muhlenberg. At least they gave me a CD with free professional head shots which I still use for LinkedIn.
- Good grades. I attended what many would call an elite private high school and had grades in the B+/A- range. Personally, I found the classes so difficult that I only made honor roll once.
- Wrestling. The wrestling coach wanted me on the team, and was willing to negotiate with the admissions office on my behalf. He actually negotiated an extra $5,000 for me in institutional scholarships so I’d end up with $40,000.