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Catholic Education Daily


College Student Debt Delays Vocations, Families

Many vocations, whether for religious life or marriage, are being delayed due to the massive amount of debt young people take on to attend colleges and universities, according to the National Catholic Register.

The article cites a study done by Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), which found that one-third of all inquirers for religious life had an average student debt load of $28,000.  Because of this, the study reports that applicants were sometimes turned away.

Those seeking religious life aren’t the only ones affected.  One of the other calamitous results of massive education debt is that many young people are delaying marriage and families.

“It’s contributing to the destruction of a culture of marriage and the decline of the marital birth rate,” reportedly said Allan Carlson, president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society.

But some Catholic colleges have responded. The article points to the example of Ave Maria University slashing its tuition by 20 percent for 2014-2015 from $23,000 per year to just under $18,000.

Jim Towey, president of Ave Maria, is quoted as saying that the average debt for an Ave Maria graduate is under $20,000.  “Part of our mission to keep quality Catholic education within reach of as many families as possible,” he reportedly said.

Other Newman Guide colleges have responded similarly.  Belmont Abbey College announced in 2012 that it was reducing its annual tuition cost to $18,500 beginning in fall 2013.  This represented an almost $10,000 per year reduction in the College’s published tuition price for incoming freshmen and transfer students.

“Over the past 25 years, average college tuition and fees in the United States has increased more than 440 percent,” said President William Thierfelder at the time.  “At more than four times the rate of inflation, that’s not sustainable for the average American family, so it’s time to reverse the trend.”

Several Newman Guide colleges were also reportedly included in the latest Kiplinger finance magazine’s list of the top 100 best value liberal arts colleges, ranked for high quality academics and affordability.   In the liberal arts college rankings, Thomas Aquinas College was ranked 41, Christendom College was ranked 49, and The University of Dallas was ranked 94. 

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