The issue of student loans plays a big factor when interpreting whether or not investing money into something will pay off in the long run. The average four-year college tuition in America can cost up to $35,000 yearly per student. This does not include room and board costs and most young students do not have a sufficient salary to pay this tuition without some help. Consequentially, many students do not have the option to attend the college of their choice, or any college at all, because of their financial circumstances. This is where student loans come in handy. The pros from the opportunities that attending first-choice colleges through student loans produce outweigh the cons that come from student debt.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when a student earns a high school diploma and does not attend college, the average salary they can earn in the United States can average out to $35,000 a year. Comparatively, someone who attends college and graduates with a bachelor’s degree may start with a salary of nearly $60,000. Additionally, this group of academic individuals have an average unemployment rate of less than 3%. Not only can a college degree improve your professional status, but the experiences one can gain throughout college helps with decision-making and the development of other important skills. Life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and analyzing are all emphasized throughout the four years in which someone attends a college or university. These different skills can be applied all throughout one’s life in various professional and at-home crises.
According to a Rasmussen report, 51% of people between the ages of 30-45 who have a Bachelor’s Degree are content with their professions, whereas less than 45% of people with a high school diploma or lower have do not have the same satisfaction.
At the University of Florida, 25% of freshmen take out student loans to contribute towards their first year of tuition, room and board, textbooks, etc. Approximately 29% of all undergraduate students (including freshmen) take out over $6,000 dollars in student loans per year, averaging with roughly $25,000 taken out in student loans throughout all four years. UF undergraduate students have an 88% graduation rate and a 97% freshman retention (the rate of students who remain in the school). Student loans provide students with the opportunity to graduate from world-renowned universities, such as the University of Florida; the opportunities after attending a university/college with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to pay off student debt are endless.
When considering student loans, one must look at the big picture and analyze the benefits of attending college. Oftentimes, students are not presented with the opportunity of attending their first-choice college due to financial reasons. Financial aid provides the option of borrowing money in order to build one’s educational experience and create a successful life. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree (four-year college) or an associate’s degree (two-year college) can promise a higher salary and more professional opportunities. Therefore, chances to pay off student debt are more prevalent. With financial aid, more students have the opportunity to attend their favored college and pay for tuition. Through this, more opportunities are presented to pay off student debt.
Student loans may seem like a necessary stepping stone on the path to a successful career, but the reality is not as wonderful as it seems. Student loans put a lot of pressure on students to come up with a means for paying their debts. Many students experience crushing anxiety and depression regarding their school-related debts and are forced to pay large sums of money over a span of decades. The nationwide student debt in the United States is at an all-time high, with 1.5 trillion dollars owed in student loans, according to CNN. That also includes those who began their schooling and eventually were forced to stop attending university or college because of their overwhelming school debt. In turn, these individuals did not get the chance to reap the benefits of their investment. Student debts loom over most Americans and is a debilitating weight and concern for those who regularly struggle financially. Student loans are a thorn in the side of those who wish to pursue a full education and do not seem to be worthwhile.
Student loans are not offered to people for guaranteed success in life, and with good reason. Not everyone who takes out loans for school has the opportunity to complete their education. According to the Hechinger Report, there were 10.5 million college undergraduate dropouts who had already taken out loans between the years 2010 to 2015. This exemplifies the cycle associated with debt- student loans used to pay for schooling that does not guarantee a career that can pay them off in the future. The Department of Education’s 2017 Institution of Education Sciences report found that people with an incomplete college education earn less than $32,000 annually, which is not enough to cover necessities and expensive monthly loan payments. The real struggle is that while an individual is still in school, it is practically impossible for people to pay off their debts if their focus is on their grades, making it difficult for people to work and go to school. They would need a high-paying job during their schooling, which is something that is unattainable without a college degree. If they never end up earning their degree, then all they are left with is a mountain of debt and nothing to show for it.
Not only are student loans a financial burden, but they cause emotional strains as well. According to a survey done by Student Loan Hero, over 60 percent of surveyors reported that they frequently experienced stress and anxiety surrounding their educational debt. It is one thing to infrequently owe a small sum of money, but it is another to owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to loaner companies that tack on interest the longer it takes for the borrower to pay the money back. That kind of financial burden is something that will always be at the back of one’s mind unless they are able to pay it all off at once, which is most likely not an option for someone who needed a loan in the first place.
Student loans also induce unnecessary stress that hinder the ability to lead a successful post-graduate life. If anything, it starts young graduates off on the wrong foot, with little to no job experience and an incredible debt that they cannot pay off immediately. Additionally, CNBC reported the average unpaid amount of loans per person is over $34,000 dollars, and has dramatically risen by 62 percent in the past ten years. For something as emotionally and financially taxing as student loans, one would think a job is guaranteed, but success for a college graduate is not promised. Stress and anxiety surrounding debt can lead to a less focused career search and can force people to settle for a career that they never wanted in the first place simply to pay off their loans. Student loans are not students’ only option, as many people have reached their career goals without going in debt.