By Marguerite McNeal
Right now, high school seniors across the world are wading through dense financial aid packages before making a decision that will impact the rest of their lives: if and where they should go to college. Should they take out a loan? Can they renegotiate the financial aid offers they’ve received? Is there a scholarship opportunity they missed?
The realities of the cost of college cast a somber shadow on the decision. Student loan debt is collectively at an all-time high of nearly $1.4 trillion—the second largest class of consumer debt after mortgages. More than 40 percent of student loan borrowers are either in default, delinquency or have postponed repaying their student loans.
Many low-income high school students lack the guidance they need to calculate the cost of college and plan for their future. The national ratio of guidance counselors to students at large public high schools is nearly 500 to 1, and 20 percent of high schools have no counselor. That leaves hundreds of thousands of students on their own to apply for financial aid and understand how it will impact their future. CONTINUE READING HERE