Miners Digging Financial Holes?

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POSTED: Monday, October 4, 2010 - 6:42pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - 4:33pm

The number of UTEP grads defaulting on their student loans exceeds the national average and continues to climb. So what is the school doing to make sure students don't dig themselves too deep?

"Loans alone, probably may be around $30-$40,000" said Stephanie Gutierrez is a sophomore at UTEP. She says the stress of paying back her student loans is always in the back of her mind.

"Once I get my career going I'll have my house payment, and still school," she said.

Gutierrez has reason to worry. The national average for graduates defaulting on their loan payments is now 7%, up from 6.7% the year before. UTEP's default rate is even higher than that, at 7.4%. That's why freshman Malikah Williams decided not to take out any loans.

"I feel like they just catch up with you and what if you change your major, is your, major going to be enough to pay for the loans you had," she said.

But programs like "The UTEP Promise," for example, cover the cost of tuition and books for low-income families. Students must keep their GPA and attendance up to be eligible.

"You can always do more," said Craig Westman, the associate provost in Enrollment Services. He blames the economy; graduates are entering a dismal job market where getting a good job and paying back your loan, is getting harder. UTEP is trying to find ways to get the message out to students.

"Try and look at ways that we can be more intrusive, in a good way, but let students know the ramifications of what it means not to pay your loans," he said.

Gutierrez, meanwhile is hoping she can make it all pay off.

"In the end I think it's worth it," she said.

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Changing majors is a great way to rack up more debt. Focus on ONE MAJOR, in a field LIKELY to provide you a job, and your debt will be less. It's always a financial slap in my face to hear a student say "I am changing majors 'cause I just changed my mind." (most of them want to find a career in underwater basket weaving or some such nonsense fields just because the tuition isn't coming from their own parents pockets.) EVERY DOLLAR comes from someones pocket!

Its been proven most companies don't really care anymore where you got your degree from.Look into AMU "American Military University". It is well known through out the private sectors like Homeland Security and the Military. That will be a good choice and cost half as much as UTEP. In the end if you want to go for a masters you can always go to a traditional college and get it from UTEP. Atleast by then you will have established a career to pay for your masters without loans.

Yeah I have always worried about paying back student loans after graduation. I too have changed my major to fit my financial needs after graduation. I hope there's more help out there than people report.

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