There is no need for most students to borrow a dime for college. When fully accredited liberal arts bachelor’s degree programs cost under $15,000, why should any student borrow money? Is $11 a day too much to bear? It’s silly.
But no one tells them. No one tells their parents.
According to figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 37 million Americans hold student loan debt. The total amount of student loan debt in the United States is estimated to be between $867 billion and $1 trillion dollars, and default rates for student loans continue to rise. In 2012, the majority of unemployed Americans had at least some college education—the first time in our nation’s history this has occurred.
Think about this. Someone goes to college, yet he is unemployed. This is no standard in unemployment lines.
Yahoo conducted a survey of debt-encumbered students. The vast majority said their debt load is a problem.
“Student loans have basically ruined my life,” says Tanya Carter, who graduated from the University of Toledo in 2008. She went to community college for two years before transferring, and attended classes part-time so she could also work. When Carter maxed out on federal loans, she turned to private loans to finish her degree. As a result of all that debt, she writes: “I never see myself owning a home, vehicle, or maybe not even getting married.”
Here is another horror story. What if this were your child or grandchild?
Lauren Dollard graduated from Fordham University in 2008 with $157,000 in debt, including interest. “My boyfriend won’t marry me because of my debt,” she says. “He doesn’t want it attached to his name (I know, this could also be an excuse).” She said she would trade her “fancy private school education” in a heartbeat to live “as an independent adult.”
Here is another one.
April Flores graduated from San Diego State in 2008 with $80,000 in private loans and $30,000 in subsidized loans. “It is going to be hard to buy a house and start a family with our debt,” she writes. “We joke and say that our baby is Sallie Mae, but it is true! Education is invaluable, but I was not wise in my early 20s and did not make the right decisions when it came to my private loans.”
Why doesn’t someone warn them?
DeRise says he understood the details of his mounting student loan debt, but he had no grasp of what it would actually mean for his post-graduation life. “Believe me, I understood that I’d have to pay back the loans 6 months after I graduated, and I understood the strict consequences of not paying them back,” he writes. “But do you think of any of that when you’re 18-20 years old?” DeRise is making less than $40,000 a year at a nonprofit in Salt Point, N.Y., and he worries about how he will cover his monthly payment if interest rates rise.
Why doesn’t someone warn their parents?
And then there are those parents who find themselves responsible for paying off loans they co-signed with their children. Karen DeSimone of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is on the hook for $17,000 in loans she co-signed for her son. “We did everything we could do to get my son started,” she writes. “Now we both have the loan debt.”
These are tragedies. They are unnecessary tragedies.
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