Clark Atlanta University in Georgia has a student loan debt problem on its hands like many other schools. With average student debt levels exceeding the national average, the school took matters into its own hands by rolling out a program in which students graduate sooner, reducing their tuition bill.
The program, which was introduced last year, encourages undergraduate students to take 15 credit hours or more each semester rather than the typical standard of 12 credit hours a semester. While that results in more time spent in the classroom and extra hours of homework and course work, it could just be the answer for the countless students struggling with mounting student debt.
Taking 15 credit hours per semester could guarantee graduation in four years, and students taking 18 credit hours a semester could graduate in less than four years under the program. While four years has always been the standard graduation goal for undergraduates, many are pushing five, six, or even seven years of college, resulting in much more student debt. In conjunction with the program, Clark Atlanta University launched a promotion in November that included a video on YouTube.com.
“I believe institutions of higher education have an obligation that we do not let students leave us with more debt,” said Peter Nwosu, Clark Atlanta’s provost and vice president for academic affairs in an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He said around two-thirds of students at the university are taking 14 credit hours this semester.
For Clark Atlanta University, mounting student loan debt is taking on more urgency since graduates of the private institution are left with student loan debt that far exceeds the national average and the state of Georgia. According to recent data from LendEDU, graduates in the United States owe $28,400 on average in student debt. For the state of Georgia, the average debt held by graduates is $27,043, with 59 percent of all graduates having at least one loan. At Clark Atlanta University, graduates owe $40,815 on average with 96 percent of all graduates holding at least one student loan. Clark Atlanta University is second to only Wesleyan College in terms of student debt. Graduates of Wesleyan owe $48,460 on average according to LendEDU.
Author: Dave Rathmanner
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