USC ranked 7th for debt by CNBC
According to a study released last month by CNBC, USC ranks 7th out of all colleges and universities nationally in average student debt.
CNBC estimates that the average USC graduate carries the burden of having to repay $36,787. The total student debt of USC is $631.5 million, ranked behind University of Phoenix, which is ranked 1st in the nation for the highest total student debt at $4.96 billion. CNBC received the statistics from the U.S. Department of Education.
“My family and I find it really hard to pay for school,” said Tona Elizarraraz, a freshman majoring in theatre. “If it weren’t for some outside scholarships, going here wouldn’t even be a possibility.”
A U.S. News and World Report article published in 2009 concluded that high tuition stems mainly from universities entering a “bidding war for top faculty and better services for students.”
“The reason USC ranks so high in numbers of student loans is because of the size of our student body and the number of professional graduate programs, where it is customary to borrow the entire cost of attendance,” wrote Katharine Harrington, vice president of admissions and planning, in an e-mail.
Some students regret paying a high price tag for higher education.
“I didn’t think the education was worth it,” said James Xie, a senior majoring in communications. “I could be graduating a semester earlier, that’s 20-grand right there.”
Despite the high cost of attending USC, more than 60 percent of students receive some type of financial assistance, whether in the form of scholarships or loans.
For some students, the benefits of graduation from USC outweigh the downsides.
“I expected [to graduate with debt],” Elizarraraz said. “It makes me really sad, but I believe that our education is an investment for our futures. If we don’t invest in ourselves, what can we invest in?”