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UA president says students borrowing too much for living expenses

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Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 3:05 pm | Updated: 1:58 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

There's a story in the Alaska Dispatch that will raise the blood pressure of various people connected to the University of Alaska Fairbanks for different reasons.

Students will be upset with UA President Pat Gamble when they read the headline in the online newspaper: "University of Alaska president says extravagant student lifestyles fuel debt."

I predict that Gamble and members of the UA Board of Regents will likewise experience a systolic spike, as I don't see how the accompanying article backs up the use of the word "extravagant" in the headline.

Even so, the comments will add pressure to the tuition debate. The gist of the story is that students are borrowing money and using some of it to pay for cars, trips, etc. when they should be cutting their expenses as much as possible.

This came up in the context of a 2 percent tuition hike. Tuition has doubled over the last decade, but it still relatively cheap.

I have no doubt that some students borrow more than they should and spend more than they should.

I don't know how widespread the notion has become that it is fine to borrow lots of money so you can have a higher standard of living while attending school.

I agree with the comment that financial counseling is needed to counteract the assumption that going into debt is not a big problem, an attitude fostered by a society that promotes borrowing as  a sensible practice.

Many children grow up with the idea that you don't have to pay as you go and copy their parents.

Gamble is quoted as saying that many students have been taking our more in loans than they need for school, “trying to subsidize a lifestyle, on top of the cost of going to college.”

 “They've got to have a car, got to have the apartment, got to go to spring break, do all that stuff,” he was quoted as saying at the recent regents meeting in Juneau.

  Here is the Alaska Dispatch story

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