Survey sheds light on students in Ohio, their struggles with debt

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Want to go to college in Ohio? It's going to cost you big time. In fact, Ohio is at the head of the class when it comes to student debt and near the top when it comes to defaulting on student loans.

We hear all the time that education is the key -- the way out and the way up. Apparently, what many people haven't learned is how to get a good education without going broke in then process.

"Ohio is one of the highest states from a tuition perspective," said Angela Johnson, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid at Tri-C.

According to a recent survey by Wallet Hub, the Buckeye state has the most student debt in the U.S., and is No. 13 in the percentage of student loans past due or in default.

But there are ways to pay less and get more.

"Using scholarships to help fund their education, helping students who have to borrow student loans get better educated," said Johnson.

Johnson says to think about the end before you begin.

"What job they may have when they graduate," she said. "How much that salary could be and what the loan repayment looks like so they really go into the situation well informed."

And no, you don't have to be a genius in order to qualify for scholarships.

"Think about community, looking at civic groups that provide scholarships and certainly there are a lot of athletic scholarships," said Johnson. "Quite honestly, some of it could be as simple as writing an essay telling about things that may have been a challenge for you."

Don't forget about grants, government, and work study programs that can help you pay for college. Johnson says get started early, as early as eighth grade.

Some schools cost between $25,000 to $40,000 a year. Community Colleges, including Tri-C, offer a great alternative for your first couple of years.

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