High school grads weigh options after receiving diplomas

By KBJR News 1

June 6, 2014 Updated Jun 6, 2014 at 9:51 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- Across the Northland members of the class of 2014 are graduating from high school and weighing their options.

Statistics show 37 million Americans are struggling with student loan debt to the tune of $1.2 trillion.

Sarah Alabsi and Sophie Hillmeyer are part of the graduating class of 2014 from Duluth East High School, and both are taking very different paths for the future.

"I'll be attending the University of Toronto next year up in Toronto Ontario Canada, I'll be studying hopefully molecular biology with some anthropology," said Sarah Alabsi.

"Next year I'm joining Americorps and I'm doing the N–tripple–C program which is National Civil Community Corps and for that I'm based in Sacramento California," said Sophie Hillmeyer.

With college tuition getting more expensive and the expanding skills gap, we asked a Duluth East High School councilor what path students are choosing after they get their GED.

"Some students are finding that there is real wisdom in maybe looking at the two year colleges to get their generals out of the way for example and at a significant reduction in cost," said Sandy Berini.

Of the 374 students graduating from Duluth East, 52 of them are going to Lake Superior College.

The trend is forcing administrators at the University of Wisconsin Superior to make changes to how they serve students by taking a look at their curriculum and strategic plan for the future.

"We want to make sure that our students coming out, either have in mind the skills and abilities to succeed in the profession that they choose or if they are going on to graduate school that we have really helped prepare them to be successful in that arena," said Renee Wachter, UWS Chancellor.

Meanwhile at the University of Minnesota Duluth, people in admissions say they have noticed students shifting to their more technical programs.

"We have had increases in trends of students on this campus looking for more science and engineering programs, there has definitely been a change or trend in that, but our mission is still to serve liberal education," said Ian Pannkuk, Associate Director of Admissions at UMD.

But some students, like Hillmeyer, want to try something a bit different.

"I understand that it's important, but there are alternatives that I think could be beneficial for me," she said.

Meanwhile, U.S Senator Amy Klobuchar is supporting a bill that would allow students with student loan debt to refinance at lower interest rates that are currently available to new borrowers.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.