Students will be paying more to attend class at the University of North Alabama in the fall. The board of trustees voted to raise tuition Monday by $11 a credit hours. The price hike will go into effect in the fall, and school leaders said they don't look forward to raising the cost of tuition, but it's something that had to be done.
"The economy certainly has a lot to do with it, and it's happening all over the United States, not just in Alabama" said UNA President Dr. William Cale. "The other thing is costs like healthcare, utility costs, opening our new science and technology building. All of those things are important that we need to pay for."
Officials also discussed raising the cost of living on campus, however that decision will be made once fall enrollment numbers are in.
Some relief is in sight for people struggling with student load debt, however. President Obama signed executive orders that will allow 5-million students who took out Federal Direct Loans to cap their payments at 10 percent of their monthly income. It's an expansion of a 2010 law. The President also called on Congress to pass a bigger bill that would allow college loans to be refinanced, like a home mortgage.
The administration said student loan debt is damaging the economy by preventing young graduates from buying cars and homes, and others spending that would spur growth.
Financial advisors at UNA warn students about borrowing responsibly. Often times, school leaders said they see students taking out more money than what they need, and that's increasing their debt.
UNA's financial Aid Director Ben Baker admitted college is anything but cheap these days. When you add in the rising cost of tuition, cost of living and costs of books, it's more than some people can afford. He said financial literacy is key when it comes to paying for college and getting out with as little debt as possible. Baker said it's important to remember no matter if you graduate or not, that money has to be paid back.
"Only borrow what you need," said Baker. "Don't be borrowing additional student loan money for your spring break vacation or something of that nature."
The best advice Baker can give, he said, if you don't have to borrow, don't.
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