Well, we all know that college degrees don't come cheaply and the price tag is only getting bigger, but when to get your, well, to toss your tasseled cap and collect your diploma, it's all supposed to be worth it, right? Well, Alina Cho live in New York, and Alina, you're looking at the rising cost of college and you actually met a grad who says he actually regrets getting his high-priced, big name degree.
Yeah, he does, because he traded that in for a full ride at Hofstra University and so now he's hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, Kyra. You know, for a high school salutatorian, Ryan Durosky, there was really no question that he would go to his dream school, New York University, a brand name school, of course, but expensive. Now he's nearly 300,000 dollars in debt and he's not alone.
As a graduate of prestigious New York University, Ryan Durosky thought his business degree would be a ticket to financial security.
But today he lives above a gas station in an apartment he shares with three others. He commutes two hours each way every day from Pennsylvania to his job in Manhattan and back to stretch his budget. He says he can't afford any other way, strapped by sky high college debt.
You talk about the American dream.
Yeah, it's almost become an American nightmare.
Call it a 275,000 dollars nightmare. What Ryan took out in student loans plus interest for four years at his university? At this rate, 24-year-old Ryan will be almost 50 before his loans are paid off.
You had an offer for a full scholarship?
And then you had NYU as an option.
Which was so much more expensive.
In my opinion, NYU is a better school. It was right in the middle of Manhattan. I thought it was going to be providing me with better opportunities after I graduate.
Did you have any idea how much it was going to cost?
Honestly, no. I mean, I had done the math but when you're 18 and, you know, you're about to move into New York City, it's just like who cares, like it’s paid for. I'll worry about it later.
So after four years here at NYU, Ryan did get a job, but soon after, just as the economy was collapsing, he was laid off. What's worse, right about the time that he got his pink slip, Ryan also got his first bill for his student loans.
I believe it is 1,020 dollars or something like that.
What did you think at that point?
And I freaked out.
He's not alone. Two-thirds of bachelor's degree recipients graduate with an average of 23,000 dollars in debt, that's up 50 percent since 1996. And then there's this.
Fewer than half of the kids who will start a four-year degree program will end up graduating even in six years. And that's a staggering number of kids who are spending a lot of money.
As for Ryan, in the two years since he graduated, he's paid down 12,000 dollars, about four percent of what he owes. Debt he calls both daunting and depressing.
Do you regret your decision?
Yes, I do. I look at the amount of money that I have to pay back, and it's the money that I would almost be using to fulfill my American dream. I would like to, you know, get my own house one day, possibly, you know, get married, possibly start a family. And right now, I just, I don't see that as part of my future. You know, my future right now is debt. It's almost devastating in some cases.
You do have a degree?
Yes, I do have a degree. That's the positive point, yes.
You know, to be clear, Ryan does not blame NYU for his college debt. He blames himself for making the choice and he believes the economic downturn played a role. He certainly did not expect to be laid off especially so soon after graduation. And NYU tells CNN that its advice for prospective students is to plan ahead. College, they say is an investment, people need to save for it. Also, they say, Kyra, if you are in default you should contact the lender, of course, and NYU's Career Center for help. You know, Kyra, you know, a lot of people say how could he allow himself to be in such debt after college. You know, hundreds of thousands of dollars, nearly 300,000 dollars, but you really can feel for him. You know, at age 18, he gets into NYU, he's the first person in his family to go to college and he says to himself, why should I not go to my dream school because I can't pay for it. I'm going to get loans and somehow I'll pay for it, now that for a ride in hindsight it is looking pretty good.
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