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Hillsdale is ranked as one of the top ten schools with the least amount of student debt. Pexels | Courtesy

 

Hillsdale College was recently named among the 10 Michigan col­leges with the lowest student debt.

Hillsdale ranked sixth in the com­parison of col­leges and uni­ver­sities with the lowest amount of average student debt per bor­rower, according to the report that came out earlier this month from LendEDU.

“Hillsdale College gives the average student bor­rower $26,941 in student loan debt, the sixth lowest average figure in Michigan,” the report reads. “Hillsdale College’s average debt per bor­rower figure has expe­ri­enced a year-over-year decrease of 5.92 percent.”

Con­cordia Uni­versity Ann Arbor is ranked first for lowest average debt per bor­rower, with an average debt of $20,641, according to the report. The next four schools are Uni­versity of Michigan, Kuyper College, Uni­versity of Michigan-Dearborn, and Olivet College.

There’s a reason why Hillsdale’s debt is lower than many Michigan col­leges, according to Rich Moeggenberg, Hillsdale’s Financial Aid Director.

“It cer­tainly speaks to our com­mitment to fund schol­arship monies, look at the budget and the average gift aid, and compare our costs to other four-year pri­vates: our billed costs, when com­pared to other four year private insti­tu­tions, in general, is pretty cheap,” Moeggenberg said.

“We’ve made a com­mitment to replace federal and state fundings since 1986, and because of the gen­erosity of friends of the college, there is a sig­nif­icant amount of schol­arship money we use to attract stu­dents in the form of merit-based money,” Moeggenberg con­tinued.

“We’re com­pet­itive,” Moeggenberg said. “We attract stu­dents who have strong aca­demic back­grounds, espe­cially in recent years. It’s not easy to get into Hillsdale anymore, and I think that assessment for merit-based monies remains very com­pet­itive. We have many stu­dents qual­i­fying for merit-based schol­ar­ships as they matric­ulate.”

According to the report, Michigan col­leges are more expensive than most other states: “As an entire state, Michigan’s average debt per student bor­rower figure cur­rently stands at $30,327, which is the 11th highest figure in the entire country.”

“Michigan’s average debt per bor­rower figure has increased 1.81 percent year-over-year,” the report con­tinues. “Also, 64 percent of all college grad­uates from the state of Michigan leave their school holding some amount of student loan debt.”

And Hillsdale stu­dents are not exempt from student loans, as much as the Financial Aid office helps. Mar­keting major Joshua Lieb­hauser ’18 is going to graduate with student debt, but not as much as he would at other private insti­tu­tions.

“I wanted [the student loans] to be less than what I owe, but my tuition is covered by all of my grants and schol­ar­ships,” Lieb­hauser said. “The debt I’ve been taking on for the last year and a half has been for rent, which is unavoidable.”

Lieb­hauser plans to get a job in mar­keting and pay off his debt within five or six years, but the reason he was able to attend Hillsdale was the amount of financial aid he received.

Lieb­hauser has three dif­ferent kinds of financial aid that help him pay for college and which drew him to Hillsdale instead of of col­leges like Grove City and Patrick Henry College.

“It wasn’t the cheapest, though,” Lieb­hauser said. “I had a full-ride schol­arship from a state school in Indiana.”

Lieb­hauser under­stands some debt may be unavoidable but better than many other stu­dents.

“It hurts, but it’s more man­ageable than most people grad­u­ating from other col­leges,” Lieb­hauser said. “I was careful with my choice of major.”

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Brendan Clarey
Hailing from Kalamazoo, Brendan Clarey is a junior at Hillsdale College studying English and journalism. As well as working on The Collegian, Brendan likes to roast, brew, and drink specialty coffee. He also likes cycling, euchre, and talking with people.