State joins plan to help students graduate with less debt

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Gov. Mike Pence announced Monday that Indiana is one of three states selected to lead a national initiative aimed at ensuring more college students graduate on time and with less debt.

The initiative, sponsored by the Lumina Foundation in partnership with Complete College America, will give a three-year grant of $1 million in cash and technological assistance.

The new program provides a new strategy called the Guided Pathway to Success, or GPS.

“We believe (GPS) will empower college students with highly structured and clearly sequenced career plans that will significantly boost college completion and close the attainment gap,” Pence said.

Pence said that GPS would be designed by college advisors and faculty to ensure its quality and value. GPS creates degree maps that would provide a semester-by-semester sequence of courses needed for a student to graduate on time – and in the shortest amount of time.

Jamie Merisotis, president of Lumina Foundation, said GPS puts people on a clear path to actual accreditation through counseling and support that is needed

“GPS actually puts people on the path to success,” Merisotis said.

According to the commission’s college completion report, fewer than one third of students at a four-year post-secondary institution and 5 percent of community college students graduate on time. It also showed that it took students five to eight years to finish a bachelor’s degree and three to six years to finish an associate’s degree.

Pence said, on average, an Indiana college student would graduate with $26,000 in debt. If they have to take an extra year it could cost another $50,000 – not just in tuition – but lost wages and expenses.

“We believe, as the governor has indicated, Indiana has the finest systems of higher education, but we can always do better,” said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education.


  • Sounds like several issues
    It sounds like there are several issues. I, also, know of less than responsible student borrowers that borrowed beyond their living expenses and even financed their spring break trips with student loans funds. I do think the cost of tuition has become outrageous, as well as the loan amounts and interest involved. It's difficult to hear an intern talk about having $150,000 in student loans and try to "do the math" with them regarding the ROI on that investment. Does the degree afford one muc greater earning power over one's lifetime. Yes. However, how strained is that lifetime if the first 15-20 years is like carrying a home mortgage (and unless that student is coming out of the gate with a six figure salary, they aren't getting a mortgage on top of that student loan debt load). I'm looking at public university educations for my children that are more than twice the cost of my private university tuition just two decades ago. How is the cost of college so far outpacing the cost of living and percentage of increase in family income?
  • don't totally disagree
    I agree somewhat that did happen a little while back, but what isn't taken into consideration is that when they want to live off of campus, they don't take into consideration the costs of rent, so when they limit these kids on their loans, they run out of money and don't have enough to eat. I'm all about limiting what they need, but with food costs, book costs, gas costs it isn't easy.
  • $26000, where are these people
    I have been trying to put both my children through college these last 6 years and no way can you find a deal for $26,000 for 4 years. In state tuition with room/board, food for 4 years runs approx. $18,000+ EACH YEAR, my daughter quit after 2-1/2 years because of price, she didn't want all the debt, but regrets not getting a college education. she currently has $30,000 in loans. My son will have approx $75,000 after his 4 years at an "in" state college, that is if he can finish in that time. We need lower rates on tuition costs and interest rates on loans
  • Banks
    Banks borrow at .75% from US and students are charged 10 times that we should not be using students as income generators
  • Here's a thought:
    STOP CUTTING FUNDING FOR STATE UNIVERSITIES! The absolute bar-none #1 factor in rising student debt loads at state universities is the never-ending parade of cuts in the legislature. Once upon a time, an educated populace was as state priority, but that is no longer the case. Result? Higher and higher tuition, more and more borrowing, and a brain-drain of high-quality graduates to other states with higher paychecks so they can afford to pay off their uber-sized loans.
  • Wrong discussion
    Why are we still talking about how to "help students pay" for college? Isn't anyone concerned with the fact that it costs $50,000+ for an in-state four-year degree, while our universities sit on billion-dollar endowments and charitable giving to colleges was at its highest level ever last year? What about the massive inflation in the cost of college over the past few decades? Waste everywhere, and all we ask is how, not why.
    • Predatory Lending
      The issue is that students take out nearly twice as much as they need. I fell victim to this (not complaining as I have learned from my mistake). When you offer a 20 year old $5,000 in a loan for college expenses but say, "Hey student, you only need 5K but will give you 10K...all you have to do is sign this promissory note." The student says, "Hell yeah--refund check!" Limit amounts borrowed to tuition expenses alone and that may help the debt problem. Not a cure but it certainly might help.

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