UM shines in time of debt epidemic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Having just graduated college this past May, I&8217;m still pretty green about life in general. But someday, in the &8220;relative&8221; near future, I would like to settle down, marry and buy a house.

It won&8217;t be too terribly long after that there&8217;ll be children to care for and a retirement to save for (that beach house property won&8217;t be cheap).

Those goals are certainly not unique just to me.

There are many other young people who have a whole life to plan (and pay for).

However, many other people my age are starting life thousands and thousands of dollars in debt.

It&8217;s become an epidemic in this country, where students&8217; college loans almost cripple realistic hopes of ever owning a home, traveling or enjoying life in general.

The average college graduate finishes schools with a debt of around $19,000. That&8217;s an average. There are many people who graduate with loans totaling almost six-figures.

A debt of that amount will take many years to pay off, even making it a struggle to pay the bills, much less save anything.

In that instance, the University of Montevallo deserves to be congratulated. Montevallo was just ranked by The U.S. News and World Report as one of the best universities in America for low student debt.

And no, I don&8217;t say this because I&8217;m a graduate. It is a quite an accomplishment to be ranked in the top-five for master&8217;s level schools and the top-15 for all universities for the least student debt.

Montevallo graduates leave school with an average of $7,897 in loans, by far the least amount for Alabama schools. This is despite having some of the highest tuition rates in the state, too.

I think the ranking is due to a mix of things.

A high percentage of students receive scholarship and grants, and speaking for personal experience, many students work to help pay for school.

Nevertheless, the University should be commended for producing such level-headed realistic and economical graduates.