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Community colleges can be the solution to student debt crisis

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — As tuition costs climb students look at other options to further their education.

The debt that goes along with college can be crippling, and it’s a problem across the country.

Financial news website, “The Street“, says community colleges can be the answer to the country’s student debt crisis.

Rock Valley College’s Getting Started Center manager Mary Louise Edwards says community colleges are the stepping stone to a four year degree.

“You have to see it as the college that can provide you access to that four year degree,” said Edwards. “You can’t just see it as ‘Oh that’s where people go when they can’t go away to a real college’. That’s not a good way to see it.”

According to Forbes, more than 44 million U.S. borrowers collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.

Students like Camila Hallmann say that freshmen don’t realize the importance of considering the cost of tuition.

“You don’t really think about it,” said Hallmann. “But coming to be a sophomore, you really start to appreciate how much it costs, compared to other students and friends.”

This week Rock Valley College is hosting it’s New Student Welcome.

Ranesha James dreamed of leaving the state to go to school, but thought twice when she saw the price.

“When I looked at how much it was to go to a university out of state and then the tuition for Rock Valley, it was way cheaper,” said James. “Then I’m like, I’m just going to start at Rock Valley and transfer to somewhere out of state.”

RVC students say most underestimate what a community college can offer.

Another Rock Valley College student, Abby Szwiec, thinks that their are perks to attending a community college versus a four year college.

“I think it’s better than probably a four-year university because there are so many students at a four year,” said Szwiec. “Being in a community college is like lower class sizes.”

Illinois has about 1.5 million borrowers, with a student loan balance of $49 billion.

“With all aspects included, it’s pretty much the best option for a lot of people,” Hallmann said. “It just gets overlooked.”

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