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Students borrow less despite tuition increases

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As tuition costs continue to soar, students are utilizing other methods to fund their education without the help of financial aid.

In the 2016 College Board’s annual Trends in Higher Education report, the data maintained that although tuition continues to ascend, students are borrowing less money now than they were five years ago. Students and parents borrowed nearly $60 billion in federal loans for the 2015-16 school year, down from a peak of $76.8 billion in 2010-11.

Valarie Van Vlack, Texas State treasurer, said there are several ways students are paying for tuition without taking out loans, such as grants and scholarships. Many students at Texas State are part of the Hazlewood Exemption Act, which can waive students’ tuition who fit into the criteria of this benefit for veterans.

Paula Fitzgerald, English freshman, said she feels lucky to be covered by the Hazlewood Act as a veteran’s daughter. The Act covers Fitzgerald’s tuition costs for up to 75 hours, which made it possible for her to only pay $90 out of pocket for expenses this semester.

“I was offered FASFA money, but I didn’t accept it because my goal is to graduate not in debt,” Fitzgerald said.

The Tuition and Fee Hearing presentation from Oct. 26 stated that the unfunded impact of the Hazlewood Act has prompted the university to waive nearly $18 million annually in tuition and fees.

The Hazlewood Act is one of the many reasons behind the university’s motivation to increase tuition next year. The 2017-18 school year will see a 3.95 percent increase in tuition – equating to an added $201.75 for resident undergraduates taking 15 hours.

Over the past five years, Texas State has jumped to a near 20 percent increase in tuition. As stated in the Student Business Services tuition archives, resident undergraduate students taking 15 credit hours this fall paid a total of $5,109.05 in tuition and fees, as compared to $4,116 in the fall of 2011.

Some Texas State students have divided their costs between loans and award money to lessen their debt following school.

Keith Mwangi, public relations junior, said his tuition is split between scholarships, loans and grants. He credits a scholarship received from McKinney High School as a major factor in lowering his costs, and it has helped him out tremendously.

According to a financial aid comparison of Texas State’s 2012-16 school year, scholarships have increased by over 3,000 awards, spreading out among 27,000 recipients. Although the national trend in borrowing is dropping, some students still feel the hefty price of college.

“I would be in a lot more debt,” Mwangi said. But with these scholarships, I mean, I’m still in debt, but just less.”

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