The Optimist (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 89, No. 20, Ed. 1, Friday, November 3, 2000 Page: 3 of 10

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Optimist Friday November 3 2000 - 3
Nice education. How's your
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L.5. Aews and
World Report
named ACU a
great value
but it also ranked in another
category: student debt
Mount St. Mary's College 99
Oral Roberts University 79
Abilene Christian University 68
St. Edword's University 62
University of Redlonds 79
by Barrett Koczkur
Across the country college graduates
often leave school carrying consider-
able debt. This trend is no different
at ACU.
According to U.S. News & World Report
ACU's May graduates carried the third
heaviest debt loads of students at institu-
tions in the Western Region.
The study showed that 68 percent of
ACU graduates carried debt. The average
debt of those students was $23405. The
data included loans taken out by students
and not their par-
ents. Students at
Mount St. Mary's
College California
carried an average
debt of $30000 -the
highest in the
Western Region
according to the
study.
Gary West
director of Student
Financial services
said the numbers
are reflective of the loans taken by ACU
students. He noted that the percent of stu-
dents with debt has dropped by three
points since 1999.
"This issue is very important to the
administration" West said. "We are looking
for ways to reduce the debt burden of our
graduates."
17.5. News also ranks ACU as a "Best
Value" school when educational quality is
compared to price. This rating takes into
account the net cost after financial aid of
attending.
"We rank in the lowest quartile of cost of
universities we are compared to" West
said. "It's possible that students choose to
borrow more than they need. We have a
very low default rate."
Ruth Baker student loan coordinator
said federal and state loans are the main
sources of borrowed money. The university
is not a direct lender.
Students are discouraged from borrow-
ing more money than they need to cover
the cost of school Baker said.
"Unfortunately many students borrow
money for purposes other than college
expenses such as new care expensive living
quarters parties trips etc." Baker said.
DEBT FIGURES
VS. News 6- UbrU Report reported the following schools
as having the highest debt In the western region. Rankings
were based on percentage of graduates with debt as well
as the average amount of debt carried by those graduates.
. In debt ovg. debt
$3500Q
$25223
$23405
$22733
$20673
Regardless of how much attending ACU
costs the education students receive here is
worth it said Brian Elders class of 2000.
"I have quite a bit of debt but I can see
the value of my education" Elders said.
. Elders lives in North Richland Hills and
works for State Farm Insurance as a fire
claims adjuster.
"Sometimes 1 feel as if I know more
about things than the business profession-
als" he said.
Elders credits teachers such as Dr
Malcolm Coco
assistant professor
of human resource
management and
Vince Swinney
adjunct professor
of management
for his success
"I can already
see so much in the
workforce how
ACU has helped
me" he said
Saving money
was key for anoth-
er ACU graduate to make it through school
Bryan Scott class of 1999 managed to
get through ACU above water when some
of his former classmates went $20000 in
debt.
The saving started with Scotts parents
when he was 12 years old. By the time Scott
was in college enough money had accumu-
lated to cover the balance of tuition not cov-
ered by his scholarships.
Scott also worked at Hendrick Medical
Center as an anesthetic technician logging
30-40 hours a week by his senior year.
He considers his financial situation a
blessing from God.
"Regardless of your amount of debt trust
in the Lord for he will always take care of
you" Scott said. "When the time comes
God will and does take care of his children."
To keep college debt down West recom-
mended that students take as many hours
as possible each semester. This helps stu-
dents avoid staying at ACU longer than
necessary
""The opportunity cost of being in school
an extra year is significant" West said.
"When you are in school an extra year typ-
ically you are acquiring more debt rather
than reducing debt."
Anne Marcelline Kaminski holds up her only credit card - a MasterCard from
MBNA. Kaminski junior accounting major from Rockwall said she guessed she
would leave ACU over $20000 In debt - according to U.S. News & World Report
that's about average for ACU students who incur debt.
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CUM HAYS
The Student Financial Services office directed by Gary West administers financial
aid. West says that reducing students' debt is important to administrators
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The Optimist (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 89, No. 20, Ed. 1, Friday, November 3, 2000, newspaper, November 3, 2000; Abilene, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101681/m1/3/ocr/: accessed May 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Abilene Christian University Library.

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