Taylor scored in the top 50% of schools with the lowest student debt.
On August 8th, The website LendEDU released its 4th rankings of student debt for schools across the country. Taylor sits at 388 out of 895 colleges listed. Additionally, Taylor ranks 15th out of all schools in Indiana.
The website lists the average amount of debt per borrower as $28,764 in federal loans. However, that number does increase to $39,467 per borrower if private loans are taken out as well.
Bill Ringenberg, professor emeritus of history, said that Taylor historically catered to the lower class. When Milo Rediger took office he began to push the university to higher a greater number of PhD holding professors. This increased tuition costs and debt alongside it.
“Yes, it’s a problem,” Ringenberg said in response to the gradual rise of tuition and its resulting debt. “It’s a problem, and we need to be a bit more creative in finding ways to keep costs down.”
55% of students graduate with some kind of student debt according to LendEDU, but only 8% leave Taylor with private student loans.
The metrics provided by Tim Nace, associate vice president of financial aid, differ slightly from those listed by LearnEDU. Nace said that around 58% of students graduate with student debt, and that number only increases to 59% when factoring in those who borrow private as well as federal loans.
Taylor does offer a number of methods of counteracting high student debt.
The university offers merit-based academic scholarships that range from $10,000 to $16,000 alongside a number of comparable awards for transfer students or those who did not receive a merit scholarship at the time of enrollment.
Nace also mentioned that these scholarships do increase alongside rising tuition rates.
Michael Mortensen, director of scholarships, also highlighted a number of additional contributors that affect student tuition and loans.
Every year the student development staff contacts donors in order to compile the Taylor Fund, which does some work to offset tuition. Mortensen said if this fund did not exist, each student would pay $1,000 more per year.
“It’s our job to find where God is providing,” Mortensen said. “We’re really working hard to identify additional sources of revenue for donations for students.”
This year's goal for the Taylor fund is $1.8 million, and student development hopes to bring in $2.5 million distributed in over 600 different annual and endowed scholarships.
Senior Daniel Burson also spoke on the importance of student contribution to minimize student debt.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have the scholarships,” Burson said. “But I also worked very hard during the summers.”
To lower his own amount of debt, Burson worked long hours in the summer lifeguarding at the local water park, found time for a job as a TA on campus and also worked alongside his family to pay for college.
Similar Christian colleges Goshen and Bethel were also listed on LearnEDU at ranks 8 and 18, respectively.