World’s Students Struggle with Loan Debt
Fear not, American undergraduates. While we may have the single most expensive higher educational system in the developed world, students from all over are still accruing debt. You may have heard the statistics, or suffer from them personally: American student loan debt has rocketed to more than $1 trillion, and more than 7 million borrowers are currently in default. Yet, students from all over the world, from Japan to Britain, are also raking up expensive debt to receive an education.
While public university tuition is free in countries like Argentina, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, this does not always mean students finish their education with zero debt. In 2012, approximately 900,000 Swedish students received help from the government, totaling close to 22 billion krona (roughly $3.5 billion). Two-thirds of those funds were loans.
The average student loan debt for the U.K. is between €12,360 and €12,850, where more than 93 percent of students have received some form of financial assistance, accruing debt in the process. The country has even seen a staggering rise in suicide rates as a result of its student debt crisis. Between 2007 and 2011, the number rose to a devastating 50 percent.
In China, average tuition runs at about ¥40,000 annually, though the average family only makes about ¥3,000 per year. Japan, too, is saddled with increasing student loan problems. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of students applying for loans jumped to 70 percent, and 60 percent of its graduating student population since 2009 has been left underemployed or unemployed altogether.
While the United States’ position on student loan debt far surpasses the rest of the world, the global severity of the situation should not be overlooked. In the 21st century, the economy has become global-if one country is hurting, other countries will be affected, too. As student loan debt manages to climb, one can only hope the institutional problem will be fixed sooner, rather than later.
– Nick Magnanti
Sources: Huffington Post, Collegestats.org, Tuition.io