About two-thirds of college students borrow an average of nearly $30,000 for their education. The rate of borrowing is highest at for-profit schools, with 88 percent of those students requiring financial assistance, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. Many of these schools are online only. Yet, the growth of online programs means that students have plenty of options to get an education that is within their financial reach. For online students, a public school in their home state — or one that offers in-state tuition to all students — will be the most affordable option.
Student loans are now more likely to be delinquent than credit card bills, mortgages, and other types of borrowing. Rates of loan defaults are highest for students attending for-profit schools, with nearly half of all defaults coming from these students, even though they make up only 13 percent of college students.
The best way to ensure that you can pay back your loan is to graduate on time and land a good job. When considering a school, look at retention and graduation rates, as well as job placement rates. Schools that graduate a higher percentage of students tend to have lower default rates. The White House has a really useful college scorecard that shows graduation rates, loan default rates, and other information for each school.