LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Channel McLewis is a doctoral candidate at UCLA with big dreams and big debt.
While many of her undergraduate expenses were largely covered by scholarships from the United Negro College Fund, two years at Columbia University for a master’s degree has left her nearly $40,000 in debt with student loans. Her student debt continues to grow with each passing day at UCLA.
“The debt is something that you think about constantly,” McLewis says.
McLewis is not alone. According to a study just released by the American Association of University Women, female students represent just over half of the student body, but they hold almost two-thirds of the country’s $1.3 trillion student debt.
The study concludes women take longer to pay their student loans back, in part, because women are paid about 20 percent less than their male counterparts once they get out of college and into the workplace.
McLewis is working on a doctorate in higher education and organizational change.
“I think my greatest wish is that we have more folks who just care about people as human beings, what it means to think beyond ourselves and invest in each other I think that would be my greatest wish,”
So what can students do to minimize their debt? According to one veteran college guidance counselor we spoke to, they can spend their first two years in a community colleg or, find a college in a location where housing costs are low. Spend time looking for scholarships and find a degree that leads to a career with expanding job opportunities.