Some students risking their education to avoid loan debts

As the amount of students filling out college applications increases, so too does the amount of debt that many people have to take on in order to earn their degrees. Although the government is attempting to address the growing problem of excessive student borrowing, some students are taking things to the other extreme by borrowing too little, according to The Associated Press.

Some students are going to such extremes to avoid student loan debt that education experts believe they could be in danger of jeopardizing their education. These students are working longer hours at part-time jobs to supplement their income, taking fewer credits and commuting long hours to reach campuses to avoid the costs of room and board.

"There’s been such attention on student debt being unmanageable that current students have internalized that," Deborah Santiago, co-founder and vice president for policy research at nonprofit advocacy organization Excelencia in Education, told the news source. "If you can take out a little bit of [loans] you’re more likely to complete [school]. If you can go to a more selective institution that gives you more resources and support, you’re more likely to complete."

The news source reports that according to a report published by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, 86 percent of students who accept at least some financial aid are more likely to be able to enroll in college degree programs on a full-time basis, compared to 70 percent of those who do not. Attending school full time can be extremely important for degree seekers, as 60 percent of full-time students graduate within eight years, compared to 25 percent of part-time students. In these cases, taking out a loan can mean the difference between earning a bachelor's degree and not graduating at all.

Although the work ethic of students choosing to take this route may be commendable, it is little wonder why they are choosing to opt for this academic lifestyle. According to USA Today, the total amount of student loan debt accumulated by U.S. students is approaching $1 trillion, topping that of the total amount of debt owed on credit cards.

The news source reports that student borrowing has increased by 63 percent from 10 years ago, with student debt averaging at $4,963 per student in 2010. The number of students defaulting on their monthly loan repayments also rose slightly, up from 6.7 percent in 2007 to 8.8 percent in 2009.

Would you consider attending school without borrowing any money if you could? 

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