Tennessee universities are short on cash, and its students who are bailing them out.
While Tennessee funded 55 percent of public college budgets in 2002, a decade later the state is only covering 30 percent, according The Tennessean.
As a result, students are being crushed under a load of ever-increasing debt. Students at Middle Tennessee State University, for example, now have a cumulative student debt of $63 million - or $5 million more than the previous year.
Meanwhile, scholarships are increasingly more difficult to come by. For college students lucky enough to find financial aid, many programs are covering smaller percentages of expenses.
Despite threats by President Obama to withhold federal aid if colleges don't stop hiking costs, tuitions keep going up.
Typical student debts can range anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 by graduation time.
When economic times are good, it's possible for new grads to pay the bills with an entry-level job. Unfortunately, today's economy means many graduates are working at the local coffee shop or fast-food joint rather than a corporate office.
Without a decent paycheck, it's easy for students and grads to get in the habit of relying on credit cards to cover costs while they continue to pay school loans. In fact, many young people are racking up credit card debts as high as their student debts.
Some are speculating that the rise of unmanageable student debt will be the new housing-bubble crisis.
In many cases, bankruptcy can provide relief.
Most students don't consider filing for Tennessee bankruptcy because student loans cannot typically be discharged unless they can be proven to provide an undue hardship. But bankruptcy can often help the millions of young people who have been pushed into overwhelming credit card debt because of student loans.
If you're regularly maxing out credit cards and making late payments, getting back in control of your debt can help you begin rebuilding your credit score so you can qualify for loans in the future.
College is supposed to increase our chances, not limit them. By conquering debt, you can finally transition into the real world, leaving college - and its impossible costs - far behind.
More Blog Entries:
Debt Toll Is Rising for TN College Students, by Julie Hubbard, The Tennessean