“This is how student loan debt became a $1.7 trillion crisis”
“The Student Loan Crisis Is Worse Than You Think”
“Stories of the student-debt ‘hamster wheel’ borrowers can’t escape”
“I took $20,000 in student loans and now owe $50,000”
These horror headlines are not scarce in the current day and age America. Many university and college students are drowning in debt without any sustainable system in the country to help them through the process. As many students are getting ready to move onto the next step, graduating students are becoming extra concerned regarding all the debt payments to be made for the next years to come. As if deciding the path for after an undergraduate degree is not stressful enough, these debts never reduce in amount – the only thing they do is to continue to accumulate interest over the years. The Education Data Initiative reports a total of $1,620 trillion for the federal loan balance which accounts for 92% of student loan debt.1 For a student attending a public university, $32,880 is the average amount borrowed.1 When academic and financial worries clash on top of unexpected obstacles in life, the stress can manifest itself psychologically, emotionally, and even physically – its effects are exponential.
The problem is multifaceted and lies within a variety of systems that exist in this world. For example, school tuition has significantly increased in the past 30 years. When you compare the tuitions in 1991 to 2021, the average tuition has increased by two holds where it used to be averaging $4,160 and $19,360 in public four-year colleges and private institutions, to $10,740 and $38,070 respectively.2 Another source has even claimed an increase of 68% in the total price of tuition, fees, room and board at a public four-year college.3 On the other hand, not only household income has not doubled in the same 30 years. Due to this major discrepancy between revenue and expenses, more and more houses had started to rely on federal financial aid. Obviously, the student debt crisis is also driven due to fact that the number of people attending colleges and universities have increased.3 However, that does not explain the immense amount of strain and pressure this has on young adults.
Financial stress is overwhelming for grown adults with life experiences. It can become profusely stressful for those that just graduated from a university or college. This immense pressure may play a large role in deciding what one can or should do and don’t irregardless of one’s dreams and goals. When the financial situation has its own path, many are forced to align their goals with it in order to support themselves financially, rather than pursuing their true dream.
How do you avoid student debt? This is a tricky question – it is quite difficult to completely remove the component of receiving federal aid. At the end of the day, it is a useful tool when used with care. One thing a student can do is to have a financial counsellor to discuss their future plans before the debt is ‘suddenly’ due. Having a plan A in addition to a contingency plan can be a useful way to prepare for the future. Financial stress can be an extremely uncomfortable and scary mindset to be in while attending school. We all wish there was one magic thing that can be done to remove the negativity and the strain regards finances; however, there isn’t one. This also means there are multiple right ways of approaching one’s problem. Paying attending to emotions while dealing with finances is a big step in the right direction, despite what some might believe about the level of compatibility between money and emotions.
- Taking to a professional
- Always have a plan A, plan B, and plan C if possible
- Do not shy away from the numbers. Know your financial status.
This advice is most certainly not the only ones nor will it work on everyone. However, it is a general starting point that can potentially help navigate one’s borrowing experience better than expected. No one should have to pick between knowledge and money.
- Hanson, M. (2022, August 28). Student Loan Debt Statistics : Average + total debt. Education Data Initiative. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://educationdata.org/student-loan-debt-statistics#:~:text=43.0%20million%20borrowers%20have%20federal,financial%20quarter%20(2021%20Q4).
- Dickler, J., & Nova, A. (2022, May 6). This is how student loan debt became a $1.7 trillion crisis. CNBC. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/06/this-is-how-student-loan-debt-became-a-1point7-trillion-crisis.html#:~:text=Americans%20now%20owe%20more%20in,medical%20debt%20or%20payday%20loans.&text=Every%20year%20millions%20of%20new,borrowers%20struggle%20to%20exit%20it.
- Whistle, W. (2021, June 28). What is driving the $1.5 trillion student debt crisis. Forbes. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/wesleywhistle/2020/09/01/what-drives-the-15-trillion-student-debt-crisis/?sh=46d4a1ea7aec