Last updateFri, 08 May 2020 6pm


Game of Loans: A Look at Student Debt

default article imageYears ago, having a college education was a rarity; today, a bachelor’s degree is almost necessary when seeking employment. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one-third of the adult population has a bachelor’s degree or higher for the first time in decades.

However, high demand for employees with a degree has left graduates disenchanted with their education and often even unemployed, as well as in large amounts of debt from student loans. 

As more students turn their tassels and turn towards their futures, it’s difficult to launch when weighed down with such a heavy monetary burden. 

“It takes money to make money,” one editor explained, “but what happens when the money invested doesn’t match up to the money obtained?” Many believe that the student debt crisis is overwhelming and that nothing is being done to help; instead, matters are being made worse. 

Student loans can be problematic at conception, as some editors have argued that the process to apply for loans can be extremely confusing. “I think a lot of high school students are unaware of what it means to take loans; it’s something they should think carefully about before signing their souls to Free Application for Federal Student Aid  (FAFSA),” an editor explained.  Many of the editors who have student loans were not fully aware of the process and signed because they needed the loans to attend college.

One editor said that without loans they wouldn’t have the ability to attend school, and are grateful for that, but also struggle with payment. “Of course, especially because in the field that I will work in (social work), the mean salaries are not as high as other jobs, so I hope that my income can keep up with monthly payments to pay off the loans. Student debt has increased significantly, as most people have seen,” the staffer said. Americans now have more than $1.4 trillion in unpaid education debt, according to the Federal Reserve.

Another editor argued that student loans hinder young adults from fully becoming responsible and financially stable. “It keeps emerging adults from becoming more active contributors to the economy if they have to allocate their income to monthly payments, and affects their quality of life. Also, the possibility of taking ten or more years to pay off student debt may be off-putting to those that want to attend school but are lower-middle or lower-class, because there is only so much financial aid that can be allocated.” 

On whether the student debt issue should be labeled a crisis, the editors all agreed that it is in fact, a national crisis that is not granted any relief.

In addition to how quickly students are pressed to pay back loans post-graduation, the interest incurred on top of the loans is what really makes payments nearly impossible. “I like that loans have it so you don’t have to worry about paying them back until after you graduate. What I hate is that the second you graduate you have to start paying them back...,” one editor said. 

The editor continued, “One of the biggest factors that is causing such high interest rates is because of how many students are taking out loans and how many more are estimated to do so... If more students were taking alternative paths after high school and not taking out the loans, we could see a steady decrease in those rates over time.”

Editors offered more options for easing the crisis. One editor said, “In my opinion, university administrators are paid too much. Why should they [administrators and faculty] be paid six figures and leave students with the tab?” 

Some editors offered an explanation of how we can live with the student debt crisis, even if there isn’t a way we can immediately fix it. “We have to start at the most basic level and begin making the proper investments into our children and their education early on,” one editor said.  

Another editor felt similarly and commented, “I think collectively we have to understand that it’s unfeasible to have to make kids start repaying their debt as early as they do. Higher education should be something we encourage and incentivize in the U.S. to remain competitive on the national scale, and the increasing costs of schooling and the unreasonable systems surrounding student debt aren’t really the way to go.”

According to a recent study by NerdScholar, high school graduates in the U.S. left more than $2.9 billion in free federal grant money unused over the last academic year.

An editor concluded, with that sentiment in mind, “So many beautiful minds are not given certain life changing opportunities solely because they cannot afford tuition. Student debt is a sin against humanity. I think that it is unfair how higher education is priced and the availability to education for many in our nation. It certainly feels like a trap.”

Editor's Note:

A reader has brought to the attention of the paper that in last week’s front page story titled, University Institutes Publish Ocean Health Study, when the paper reported that the director of the Polling Institute declined to comment after repeated attempts and issued no reason for doing so, it might appear that the Institute was trying to cover up wrongdoing or ineptitude. To our knowledge at the paper neither of those conclusions would be the case. The Outlook merely meant what it wrote, that the director chose not to cooperate with the paper and discuss the role of the Institute insofar as it relates to the story. The paper regrets if any reader interpreted the statement otherwise. The Outlook would like readers to understand that the paper points out when sources decline to comment so that readers are aware that the reporters did their due diligence in pursuit of useful information and the absence of that source was not due to an oversight by the paper.

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