UWA ranks best in state for lowest average student loan debt

Published 3:31 pm Thursday, October 1, 2020

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Costs and benefits of attending UWA allow students to graduate with lower debt

LIVINGSTON, Alabama—The University of West Alabama has recently been recognized most favorably of the Alabama schools included in a ranking that compares college student loan debt.

According to the ranking, UWA students have the lowest student loan debt per borrower among the nine Alabama schools included. The average is substantially lower than that of students at schools in neighboring states as well.

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The recognition comes on the heels of an economic crisis that has negatively impacted enrollment numbers throughout the nation. Administrators believe economic uncertainty to be one of the drivers in decision making for students and their families.

“I have spoken with many students whose families have been affected by shutdowns, layoffs, and shifts in the economy over the last several months,” Tucker said. “We are fortunate at UWA to have retained most of our students who were here in the spring when the pandemic began, but our incoming freshmen class is smaller than last year, as is the trend across the nation. While college is a sound investment for an individual’s future, college costs would be new expenses for families of incoming freshmen, and most people aren’t assuming new financial risks right now.”

UWA offers competitive scholarships for students with a broad range of abilities and talents, and scholarship drives continue throughout the year to boost support for students.

“We want to exhaust every option possible in helping our students enjoy the opportunities they have earned and deserve,” said UWA President Ken Tucker. “Scholarship dollars generally do not cover a student’s balance, though, and many take out student loans. We aim to offer students the guidance and support necessary to help them know if a loan is their best option or if there is another resource they can turn to instead.”

Tucker said that the University also relies on the support of alumni and friends for scholarship development, including local chapter scholarships and other endowment opportunities.

While approximately 77 percent of the school’s 2019 graduates have some amount of student debt, the average debt amount remains substantially lower than others in the state, including both private and public institutions.

“There is more to be considered in determining costs, value and affordability for a college student than simply the price of tuition,” Tucker said. “Factors that work in our students’ favor to help relieve the burden of debt include more affordable housing, scholarship and earning opportunities on campus, reasonably lower cost-of-living expenses, less densely populated communities to save time that would be better spent in class, studying, or at a job, and several other beneficial aspects of a smaller town and campus.”

See the full ranking at https://lendedu.com/student-loan-debt-by-school-by-state-2020/.