Oftentimes, it can feel as if your education is bringing you a life raft and drowning you with debt all at the same time. Unfortunately, this floundering seems to be the norm, with nearly 71 percent of college students graduating with loan debt that we unfortunately have to pay back.
This often leaves students with a dilemma: is it better to further your education and be saddled with debt, or should we stop giving into the financial drain that higher education should provide? The answer remains unclear, and is dependent on individual circumstances.
It may be alarming and unsatisfying for students to discuss or even think about debt, but most students have mutual feelings and can provide management skills that can help you better manage that debt for the future.
A question that many students have asked is “Why attend college if I’m going to be working my whole life paying off debt?” According to an article published by the College Investor, college provides academic rewards, social benefits, independence, job opportunities and compensation potential that ought to be of greater value than the loans students accumulate over time.
However, in a later article, another writer argues that student loans are a mental health issue, stating that, “I believe the depression that comes from debt comes from a feeling of constantly being in battle. If you can pay your debt back, it’s at the expense of other life goals. I know this well, as my debt affects where I live, how I save and how much I can put towards my dreams. For those who are unable to pay their debt back, or who simply don’t care, they will be relegated to a life of getting harassed by debt collectors and potentially garnished wages,” says Melanie Lockert.
Oftentimes students try to have their loan debt forgiven, which can be done through assisting the government by working as public-school teachers in low-income areas, joining the military and getting government or non-profit jobs. Yet, this generally defeats the purpose of pursuing a degree in a certain field for many students.
In 2013, The Washington Post recorded that, “only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major.” Studies like this make it difficult to justify whether students should opt for student loan forgiveness plans or continue to question the education system with its growing amount of fees.
Why is it that so many students aren’t going into their degree field?
According to Brad Plumber, a writer for The Washington Post, location plays a huge role in job availability. “Big cities have more job openings, and offer a wider variety of job opportunities that can potentially fit the skills of different workers,” said Plumber “It’s not clear that this is a big labor-market problem, though — it could just mean that many jobs don’t really require a specific field of study.”
While some may argue that student loan debt has more benefits than consequences, students generally believe that they act more as a burden. However, there are many sources students neglect when dealing with loan debt, such as applying for scholarships and making payments while still in school.
Many students search for scholarships during the transition from high school to college, and overlook the many scholarships that are offered both through and outside of their institutions. Typically, persons in charge of your major department are knowledgeable of scholarships that may apply to you. Developing a relationship with them could grant you access to scholarship opportunities that could ultimately decrease your loan debt.