Report: Undergrads are taking out more loans

Undergraduates are borrowing more money to fund their college education, according to a new study released by the Pew Research Center.

Graduates who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2008 borrowed an average of $15,425, adjusted for inflation, which is 50 percent more money than students who graduated in 1996 borrowed.

The study, released late last month, also shows an 8 percent increase in the number of undergraduate students who took out student loans in 2008, which is now up to 60 percent.

Among students attending private, not-for-profit schools like GW, 72 percent borrowed money to finance their education – a 13 percent increase from 1996 – according to the study.

Mirroring the national trend, GW has seen an increase in the number of students borrowing money to finance their education, Associate Vice President for Student Financial Assistance Daniel Small said.

Small said that the economic downturn may have spurred students to take out loans.

Small said about 4,000 undergraduate students at GW take out yearly need-based loans, with each loan averaging about $7,000 – less than half the average found in Pew’s study.

“More families have had to use this option as a means in which to meet their educational expenses, however that average amount per student has remained constant,” Small said.

Freshman Sean Levy said he is worried about paying off the debt he is incurring by attending GW.

“I think [loans] are going to make it harder after graduation because we will have to worry about paying them back and that may be a burden,” Levy said.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.