Southern Utah University’s reputation is on the rise, as evidenced in yet another nod from U.S. News in its annual collegiate rankings, where SUU held strong in the top tier of the West’s best universities, one of just 40 public schools to be included in the listing, released today.
However, beyond simply proving itself true to a forward-thinking academic mission, which includes programming for hands-on, field-specific experience for every student that makes them more marketable in a competitive job market, SUU stood out further among the ranks for its affordability—a value that can’t be beat in a time of huge budgetary shortfalls. A tally of student indebtedness placed SUU as third among all schools in the West for the lowest student debt at graduation.
According to the report, just 50 percent of SUU graduates leave with any student debt at all, including loans taken out by students from their college, private financial institutions, and federal, state and local governments. Among those who do graduate with loans to repay, the average amount of debt for an SUU graduate is just $12,632.
Conversely, among the same pool of western universities, the highest reported average student debt is $54,885, and the highest percentage of students from western schools who graduate saddled with debt is 88 percent. Were an SUU student to take out loans for the full tuition amount every semester to complete a four-year undergraduate degree, their indebtedness could not even then reach such staggering heights.
Student loan debt in the U.S. has now surpassed all other kinds of debt. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, of the 20 million Americans who attend college each year, close to 12 million borrow annually to cover education expenses. This number is projected to continue rising, given recent sharp price increases in a still lagging economy.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s annual report, public college tuition has increased 15 percent on average over the past three years; in California, tuition has skyrocketed by more than 40 percent at many state schools.
Now more than ever, students and their families must factor affordability into the college selection process. Fortunately, SUU offers a low price tag without sacrificing the top tier collegiate experience, as again proven in U.S. News’ 2013 rankings.