Student debt crisis

By:Ally Levine

Following graduation, most college grads are faced with an even bigger challenge than getting a degree; paying off their student loans. According to a Forbes Report, Student loans are the second-largest piece of household debt coming after mortgages. Many students struggle to pay off their school loans and this makes it difficult for them to buy a car, home, etc.

Currently, President Biden and his administration are coming up with a plan to help with student loans. Their plan would allow for an initial grace period for missed payments. Another proposal by the president included a $10,000.00 student loan forgiveness program. In 2021, the Federal Reserve estimates that Americans owe $1.73 trillion in student loans. This number is alarming and shows how the debt crisis is a national problem. In 2011, Americans owed roughly $905 billion in loans, which is far less than the amount today.

In order to fix this, we need more federal funding to give students a head start in helping them pay off their debt. Nick Levine, a junior in college at Westfield State University, says, “College is very important to me because I want to be able to get a job after graduation but my debt is increasing each year and it scares me. I wonder how I will pay it off and knowing it will take a toll on my goals is scary.” 

The student debt crisis has not only been a problem this year but has been for decades, and will continue to grow in future years unless action is taken. Not every student is drowning in debt after college, and not every student struggles to pay it off. But the amount of debt throughout the country is causing people to not be able to start families or buy a home. And instead of working at a job their degree prepared them for, people are settling for lower paying jobs just to make it through. Student debt is different across various states according to the states policies and opportunities.  Oliver Schak, a TICAS research director, says,”Student borrowing and debt varies a great deal across states and colleges because of variations in state and institutional policies, as well as state investment in public colleges. For bachelor’s degree graduates in the Class of 2019, statewide average debt levels ranged from $17,950 (Utah) to $39,400 (New Hampshire), compared to the national average of $28,950.

Students coming from lower income families are often forced to pick a major or degree that is cheaper because they know they simply cannot afford it in the long run. The Manhattan institute found,”college selectivity plays an important role in pricing and affordability … In 2015-16, the average net cost of a bachelor’s degree at a highly selective public institution was $84,640, compared with $66,026 at a less selective public institution—a premium of almost $20,000. The premium is even greater for private nonprofit institutions. The average net cost of a bachelor’s degree at a highly selective private nonprofit is $143,752—more than $57,000 greater than a less selective one.”

Overall, the student debt crisis is a major problem that you might not see all over the news every day, but it is present and needs to be addressed before it is too late. Can students really continue drowning in debt after college?

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