In Debt and in the Dark

What is the student-debt crisis doing to the field of architecture?

Klaire Viduya graduated in May from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a bachelor’s and a master’s of architecture. Since then, she’s been settling into a job working on education design projects and studying to obtain her license. A first-generation college student and child of working-class immigrants, Viduya found paying for her education challenging. Even though she opted for public school, she was still surprised when she got her first tuition bills.

“One thing that I didn’t factor, when I actually declared my major, is that our school charges variable fees as part of tuition. So the regular fee of $200 per credit can have another $150 to $250 on top of it, depending on the class,” she said.

These unexpected costs increased when she began paying for supplies: During one sophomore-year class, students spent $800 to $1,000 on a final project; they also had to pay out of pocket to use fabrication tools and were responsible for licenses for software like Adobe products, she said.

Viduya finished her four-plus-two with $55,000 in student loans.

With the end …

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