Student loan debt is a life sentence

Student loan debt puts students into a life sentence the day they graduate. 

Currently, student loan debt has become the largest type of consumer debt in America,  coming to a total of 1.762 trillion dollars. This is scattered amongst 43.4 million Americans. 

According to the Education Data Initiative, “The average student borrower takes 20 years to pay off their student loan debt.” 

This leaves most students to be 42-years-old by the time they finally pay off their education. 

Higher education systems are extremely expensive; however, going to a four-year college after high school is pushed onto students. The value a college diploma holds on the job economy is almost too good. For employers that can offer benefits, a bachelor’s degree is almost always required in order to qualify for a position. 

“[College debt] is the main reason I made my whole college decisions,” senior Brinkley Trudel said. 

Brinkley plans to move to California to pursue her dream of becoming a marine biologist. She will be attending Santa Barbara City College for the first two years of college, then  plans on transferring to a UC school. By living in California for two years, this will allow her to gain in-state tuition for when she transfers to a UC college, making tuition  less than what she would be paying from out of state.

“I think it’s around $8,000 [for Santa Barbara City College] and it’s around $60,000 for any UC school,” Brinkley said.

By going to Santa Barbara City College, Brinkley won’t have to pay as much in student loans for her first two years as she would if she completed her gen. eds. at a UC school. This plan will help not rack up as much debt as most students who plan to go straight to a state school. The stress of student loan debt has forced Brinkley to change college plans multiple times. 

College debt has been a popular topic amongst politicians. Throughout his campaign, President Joe Biden discussed a debt forgiveness plan. This plan would erase $10,000 to those who make less than $125,000 a year. This would clear roughly ⅓ of borrower’s debt. Then another 20 percent would be left with less than half of what they owe. 

Eliminating only $10,000 wouldn’t make a difference for many borrowers. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, “Canceling $50,000 in debt is where you really make a dent in inequality and the racial wealth gap. $10,000 isn’t.” By canceling $50,000, it would eliminate student debt from 76 percent of borrowers rather than only ⅓ of Americans. 

The cost of attending college has increased by 160 percent from 1980 to 2019. This makes it incredibly difficult for students to pursue higher education. 

The financial burden I know college is going to put me under makes me reconsider if it is even worth it. I plan on attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I know I will absolutely love it, but is it worth being in a life sentence as soon as I graduate?