Every country chooses to handle higher-education costs differently, but the United States is the only country currently facing a student-debt crisis.
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Student debt crisis in the U.S.

It is no question that student debt in the United States is a growing issue. In fact, it has grown so much over the last few years that it is now regarded as a national crisis. In just more than a decade the average amount of debt for the average college graduate has tripled. The crisis is occurring for a wide variety of reasons. One of the main reasons for the recent hike in debt is the exponential growth of tuition prices. Government grants are unable to keep up with these increases in tuition, causing families to take on the burden of paying for college. While student debt is a growing issue in the United States, it is often swept off. In reality, it is a growing problem; if not fixed soon the United States could find itself in a very serious situation. Sometimes when our nation is in a crisis, it is easy to assume that the entire world is in the same position, but in reality, that is not the case.

In other countries

Every country has a different way to approach college tuition. For example, in Sweden, tuition is free, but student living expenses are high to balance out the cost. In Australia, college tuition is based off of the student’s potential income. With this, the student is not expected to start repaying their debt until they are earning income. England has a similar setup, where tuition is in direct correlation with estimated income.

In other countries, loans are easier for students to receive, and interest rates are much lower. Along with that, students are not expected to start paying their loans until years after college, and sometimes the loans are paid off over two decades. While this does put greater risk on the government, rather than colleges themselves, it builds trust with students.

How the U.S. could change

There are many areas for improvement for the U.S. higher-education model. While the opportunities and options for higher education are extremely high in the United States, as a nation, we could learn a great deal from other countries. For example, there is no reason for our college tuition prices to be so high. As a nation we believe that the price tag of a university is in direct correlation with the quality of education at a university, leading to over-bloated tuition costs. At some point, the expense of a college is in no way a reflection of the quality of education. In short, universities in the U.S. need to stop attempting to compete with other colleges by raising tuition prices. Instead, they could follow other comparable universities abroad and charge students for tuition that is in direct correlation with the education they are receiving, and in correlation with their possible post-graduate income.

Another area that the United States could improve is federal loans. In the United States, federal loans require countless forms, authorizations and requirements. On top of that, they are often stacked with interest and are expected to be paid quickly after college. In other countries, students receive loans much more easily, and they are not expected to pay them back for a longer amount of time.


All in all, it is important to remember that the student-debt crisis is largely a problem that only the United States is facing. Obviously, there are many possible areas for improvement. From tuition prices to federal loans, the United States could learn from other countries. That being said, though, it is hard to change the trajectory of our colleges and universities. As a nation, we have continued down the same path for too long, which has resulted in our current state: the student-debt crisis.

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Posted 03.15.2017 - 06:11 pm EDT