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Student Debt at Columbia According to WSJ

I’d borrow money from this guy

A tipster sent in data from a recent Wall Street Journal article about how graduates of arts-focused schools tend to rack up more debt. Here are the numbers for Columbia undergraduates:

Columbia University in the City of New York
Average price: $19,073
Graduation rate: 93%
Default rate: 3%
Average student loan at time of repayment: $12,500

Debt at Columbia is a bit of a perplexing topic, considering that the Financial Aid Department’s website states that “Students are expected to borrow $0 to attend Columbia.” Bwog’s sister/parent/long-lost-evil-twin publication, the Blue & White Magazine, is running a three-part installment on student debt at Columbia, the first of which is  about Columbia’s no-loan policy. The second installment will focus on debt for international undergrads and can be found in the February issue, on campus next week.

I-think-that’s-William-Pitt via Wikimedia

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32 Comments

  • BSGS says:

    @BSGS *****Sans GS

    1. Broke says:

      @Broke $125,000 so far.. I’m a proud member of FbC (F***ed by Columbia)

    2. Broke says:

      @Broke p.s.There is a whole community of GSers who are NOT old “adults” that came to GS because they were pursuing “non traditional” tracks (athletics/arts/etc) or just took one or two years off. We get hit with the biggest burden bc we don’t even get the financial aid the “older” people get, why? Bc if you’re under 24 and hence considered a dependent you don’t get much government help nor do you qualify for all of those “older” GS scholarships.

      I’m only one year older than my CC/Seas counterparts but will graduate with $150,000 of debt and a 3.9 GPA. I’ve studied full time, took the exact same classes as the rest and worked my butt off. I’ll be damned if Columbia ever gets a penny from me.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Columbia? They’ve already gotten all your pennies.

        It’s the banks, the government, and Big Usury who are going to want payment.

        Ironically, I’m thinking about doing the opposite of what half of GS did…enlisting in the military AFTER college.

        If I die in combat, at least my loved ones get a flag and a life insurance check.

        Looking at a balance sheet, I’m worth more dead than alive.

        1. GS 14 says:

          @GS 14 Do it man!

          I’m pretty sure the Army will pay off up to $60K in student loans for anyone who enlists. Plus its really easy to save money as a single person in the Army. I’m worth over $200K right now, and I’ll be worth at least that much when I graduate here. I didn’t join up for financial reasons at all, but the military really pays off if you’re smart about it.

          1. gs '13 says:

            @gs '13 Did two years at a CUNY school then transferred to Columbia in order to save money. But will still most likely graduate with at least 30k in debt. If not for the two part time jobs I hold throughout the semester, my debt could easily shot up to 70k or 80k. Don’t get me wrong, I know what I signed up for when I decided to enroll. I am getting a decent education and would love to stay longer if i can afford it. I have more love to the CUNY school that I left than to columbia, as at least I have never once feel like a complete outsider while attending CUNY.

            Let be real. Columbia undergraduate is cc and seas. GS is just there for the occasional public relation benefits. (veterans, graduating janitor, or the like. )

  • not perplexing says:

    @not perplexing Just because Columbia decides our parents can pay a certain amount, it doesn’t mean our parents are willing or truly able to pay that amount. Ergo, we have loans.

    1. senior says:

      @senior also because aid packages go down a few thousand each year even if your family’s income stays the same.

      come on, bwog.

      1. Chewbacca says:

        @Chewbacca I don’t like Columbia’s financial aid policies but….. on that detail in particular…. you’re kind of supposed to earn a few thousand (2-3k) over the summer…. it’s not that hard.

        1. CC '13 says:

          @CC '13 Freshman year my family contribution was under 10000 and by senior year it was 35,000. It’s not just the student contribution that goes up, they give you a good package as a freshman and then slowly take it away because they know you can’t go anywhere else.

          1. Chewbacca says:

            @Chewbacca That’s bizarre. My parents’ combined pre-tax figures do not break 90k, and in 3 years mine went up from 17,000 to 20,000. The change stung quite a bit, but it has not been insurmountable. We have not gone into debt. The financial aid office stuck by the promises it made freshman year and we’ve paid the share we’ve been expected to pay out of savings we’ve been putting aside for a very long time.

            …are you sure your CSS/Profile got filled out properly?

  • Price?? says:

    @Price?? And “price” includes what, exactly? Only $19,073/year?? Sign me up!!

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous the article calls it “average net cost” so I’d guess it’s the average tuition after financial aid.

  • "average price" says:

    @"average price" It’s funny because I get more than that in annual aid, but I’m taking out almost that much in annual loans

    1. annabahr says:

      @annabahr If you (or anyone!) are interested in talking about your experience with loans and financial aid for the series The Blue and White is doing on student debt, please feel free to contact me! I am especially interested in speaking with GS students, but would love any and all stories. Email me! agb2138@barnard.edu

      1. Obnoxious says:

        @Obnoxious How little journalistic integrity do you have? A piece full of anecdotes? Don’t apply to the J-school honey.

  • hey you rich fucks says:

    @hey you rich fucks Every time you don’t mention how the hundreds of GSers on food stamps like me have to take out tens of thousands of dollars in private loans every year to attend, I die a little inside

    1. Anon says:

      @Anon Because calling everyone “rich fucks” makes us feel REALLY bad for you.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous I bet you were really offended at the FroSci lecture too, huh

    2. Tipster says:

      @Tipster That was fast, Bwog!

      @hey you rich fucks, in my tip I pointed out that I was curious if this included GS students or not. It is entirely possible that the sum of the GS debt, added to ~$0 for CC and SEAS, averages out among all the students of the three colleges as 12.5K.

      Yes, the GS debt is a huge problem and needs to be addressed. That said, I’m under the impression that most GS students (not all) are adults who come into Columbia knowing that they are taking on a great deal of debt. It’s still awful, but the school seems upfront about that fact.

      My issue here is that CC and SEAS specifically advertise themselves as no-loan institutions to a bunch of teenagers. If the average student debt for CC and SEAS is not ~$0, I think that needs to be publicized.

      It was an unpleasant surprise to realize that the only way to make ends meet here was to take on debt. For a long time I felt like that was a sign of my own failure. Then I started talking to peers and realized it’s not just me.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Yeah, the numbers refer only to undergraduates.

        1. GS 14 says:

          @GS 14 We are undergraduates.

  • OMG that linked article says:

    @OMG that linked article Whoever wrote that knows what’s up. So many facets of typical Columbia found in this single but major issue affecting students.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous just the sort of hot-shot reporting the b&W consistently produces

  • currently thanking beysus that i dont go to nyu says:

    @currently thanking beysus that i dont go to nyu am i the only one who thinks these numbers are actually kind of fantastic?

  • CS kid says:

    @CS kid ITT: People who didn’t look at the article and don’t realize that we’re actually #1990. Not that bad.

    Also, pissed of GS students

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It’s not the tuition that kills you at GS: it’s the price of housing and the cost of living in New York City.

    The popular notions are that

    1) GS is a “feeder school” for graduate programs,

    2) that the Columbia name coupled with an econ. major (a GS hive if ever there was one) is a sure ticket to the IBs,

    and

    3) that it’s “investing in yourself.”

    Regarding # 1 & 2: there’s no such thing as a sure thing.
    Regarding #3: you’d be better off buying a new wardrobe and joining a gym.

    Peter Awn tells every class of incoming GS students that Columbia is both “expensive and inconvenient.” The former quality is, to put it mildly, understated.

    The ONLY people I would recommend GS to are veterans getting a full ride or people who can pay out of pocket to live and study in New York. I love Columbia and I got a great education, but the amount of debt I’m in is staggering. Unlike most at SEAS and CC, I can’t go back and live with my parents if my bid to find work that will allow me to live and pay this debt off fails.

    My two cents and $20,000.

  • SEAS 2015 says:

    @SEAS 2015 Yeah the average debt for CC/SEAS = 0 thing is complete bullshit. I’m expecting to graduate with about 20k in debt, which is reasonable (especially for such an expensive school). While most people don’t have them, student loans definitely do exist here if you apply for them.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It’s not impossible to pay off 100k+ in student loan debt, I paid mine off as fast as I could. You just need to work your ass off, quit complaining and being your own worst enemy. Minimize living and food costs, and throw every penny you can make at them till they go away. It’s really not that hard to grind it out

    1. Chewbacca says:

      @Chewbacca Finally, someone at this school who thinks paying back a loan is what you’re supposed to do when you take out a loan.

  • WHAT? says:

    @WHAT? @GS 14:

    The airforce recruiter told me that since columbia is a private school, they will only pay “IN FULL” up to 100% of the tuition for the most expensive PUBLIC school in the state….and that is $4,000 to ~$12000 per year in reimbursements………total.

    im in seas and i will be graduating with $85k in debt….

    1. GS 14 says:

      @GS 14 Yeah, the Air Force loan repayment doesn’t seem as good. This website says that the Army or Navy will pay up to $65k. You’d have to talk to a recruiter about it, I wouldn’t know from experience.

      http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourcesContent/0,13964,44245–,00.html

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