Hey girl, are you my subsidized student loans? Because you show a lot of interest and you’re ruining my life.
For most of us, jokes like these seem far from reality. The stereotypical broke college student microwaving Ramen at three a.m.. seems straight out of a movie- too cliché to be true.
In truth, however, student loan debt has become a national crisis that is only worsening. And, it’s a problem many high schoolers face. From missing the chance to go to one’s dream college to finding oneself unable to pay off loans, the student loan crisis affects both college students and those on the cusp of taking out a loan.
As found in a 2006 study by Bloomberg, student loans stood under five hundred billion dollars. Today, it is over one-and-a-half trillion. The numbers are astonishing and scary.
Student loans are being issued at unprecedented rates with more students pursuing higher education. On top of that, “students aren’t only facing increasing costs of college tuition; they’re facing increasing costs of borrowing to afford that degree,” CEO of Invite Education, John Hupalo said.
Several companies, against which lawsuits have been filed, are steering students towards repayment plans that cost more money over time. In fact, it’s gotten so bad, that Columbia professor of economics, Judith Scott-Clayton, states that “Students shouldn’t assume their loan servicer has their best interest in mind,” even though, they should have the right to.
Navient, one of the largest loan companies, was recently investigated in response to these claims. It was found that in ten percent of calls, Navient’s customer service only offered borrowers “forbearance,” which allows them to put off making payments for a certain period of time-but added interest creates significant expense to the borrower in the long run.
Companies like Navient often see no wrongdoing in their actions, yet this only adds to why they should be held accountable for the crippling worries they bring to students.
The stigma attached to debt makes it a black spot on anyone’s record- responsible or not. This adds to the frequent anxiety about 6 in 10 students face regarding their debts. And many are subject to false beliefs that student debt reflects a student’s worth.
Student loan debt doesn’t just affect students mental health. It also creates long-term consequences for the economy.
“You have a whole generation of people that have a significant amount of student loans and its crimping demand for other goods and services. Millions of houses and apartments aren’t being purchased. We think this is having a significant impact on the economy,” Ira Jersey, chief strategist for Bloomberg, said.
High school seniors and juniors on the cusp of taking out loans need to be given the proper information to navigate student loans among the million other things on their plate. Because these students reflect our future, and for better or worse, we should respect that.