Part III: Financial Aid Departments and the Millennial Student

The price of college tuition in the U.S. has been increasing faster than the rate of inflation for decades, and the borrowing habits of millennial students prove it. The latest numbers, from a Bentley University study, suggest that seven out of 10 of last year’s college seniors graduated in debt. Student debt “now comprises 69 percent of the debt side of their balance sheets” for average 25- to 30-year-old Americans, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

While this snowballing student debt trend seems to be slowing, the cost of higher education is still a burden that millennials are unable to handle independently. As Sandy Baum and Jennifer Ma of the College Board reported in 2015, “College price increases are not accelerating. But they are accumulating.” Accumulating along with them is student debt owed to the federal government and private entities. The Bentley University study places the total student loan burden in America today over $1.2 trillion, a number that has tripled in the last decade.

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