Student grants and loans have, essentially, become a staple of the American Education System. According to recent research conducted by the Institute for College Access & Success (detailed in an article published by TIME.com), 7 out of 10 students that belonged to the class of 2012 graduated with student loans, with an average debt bill of $29,400. College graduates have endured years of debt because they have been told their whole lives that a college education is necessary to becoming successful. College is worth the investment, but debt can really put a hamper on one’s future. Personally, I would not be attending Illinois State University without help from the government. Many of other students can say the same thing, and we will have to pay off this debt for years to come. We understood this burden before coming to college, and concluded that this burden was worth the effort to obtain a degree.
But is the distribution of loans the most reasonable way to provide equal education opportunities to hopeful students? Sure, they give us opportunity that we would not be able to seize without them, but they also place us in a financial hole that can entirely unhinge our plans for our lives after graduation.
When I graduate, I will begin to pay off my loans six months after graduation. This is not a large time frame to get myself grounded enough to begin to pay back $20,000 to the government. This amount can debunk my plans for my future, forcing me to make financial decisions in order to compensate for my loan payments. According to the TIME.com article mentioned above, more student loans have been taken out in recent years, and payment delinquency is on the rise. At the end of 2013, student debt reached $1.08 trillion, compared to $253 billion at the end of 2003. In addition to this, delinquencies on student loan payments have risen 5.3 percent in the last 10 years.
Students are graduating with high hopes for a bright future, but student loan payments are dimming these hopes.
On the positive side, student loans do give opportunity to those who cannot afford higher education. They encourage equal opportunity for people in lower income households, and can help propel these people to success in this country. But, why does tuition have to be so expensive in the first place? Why can’t the overall cost of higher education be lowered so people would not have to take out an absurd number of loans to pay for it? Or, at least increase grant money. Provide the means of obtaining a college education, without the burden of graduating with a mountain of debt.
We go to college to increase our opportunity in our adult life. While receiving a degree does just that, the burden that debt places on us can be detrimental to our progress in our adult lives. These astronomical student loans can even impact the economy as a whole, TIME reports. We will be less likely to spend money on goods and services that help this country thrive economically, because of our student loans.
At this point, I think it is easy to recognize that this system needs to undergo some changes. Not only for us students, but for the economy as a whole.