Are Students Doomed to Debt?

Ian Leonard

It’s kind of hard to put into words. There aren’t many things quite like it. Can you think of another instance in your life where you’re actively punished for trying to better yourself? Well the sad fact is, that is the current state of the higher education system. If I had to describe it in a word, I guess it would be bittersweet. But we can get more creative than that Eagles. College is the equivalent of donating to your local blood drive, the doctor walking up shaking your hand and thanking you for your contribution, only for a nurse to come flying in and unload a wicked superman punch right into your jaw. It seems almost criminal that those who are effectively the next generation, are practically forced into accumulating tens of thousands of dollars of debt, before even entering the job market.

Now obviously this isn’t a new trend. Student loan debt has been a topic of discussion here in the states for many years. In the beginning, college was an opportunity seldom pursued by most. It was mostly reserved for those of high socio-economic standing. To be college educated was a much loftier accomplishment than it is today. This of course has changed quite drastically. Higher education opportunities have become so widespread and accessible to all, most high school graduates are expected to continue their education somewhere, regardless of their circumstances. There are those who aren’t interested in higher education, their desired field doesn’t require an advanced degree, or they just actually can’t afford to go to school. Despite the plethora of obstacles in the way of today’s undergraduates, the majority of society still expects them to attend at least a trade school or two year university of some kind. You would think that if they were so instinet on us going to school, they would at least have the common decency to try and make it affordable. In the U.S. tuition ranged any where from $9,139 for public in-state students, to $22,958 for those yucks unfortunate enough to try and seek an education outside of their state’s borders. Not to mention the average interest rate on most loan plans ran around 4-7% a year in 2015.

Now if simply complaining about debt would make it go away, then we might be in business. Hell, I think I would be making money at this point. Unfortunately the world doesn’t work this way, but we aren’t completely powerless against the menace that is student loan debt. With both congressional and presidential elections coming up in 2016, now more than ever, we need to make our voices heard. As college students, we make up one of the largest age demographics in the country, if we make it so, our voices can’t be ignored. Be sure to do your research and find out which candidates are actively campaigning for the type of student loan reform you believe would work best. I know it sounds like a pain in the ass, but not as big as the pain your wallet will be feeling soon enough.