By Jeremy Binning
One of the reasons many people in the country don’t go to college is that they can’t afford it. For many, having parents or guardians capable of signing off on a loan is what has a lot of young adults in school. There are at least 40 million people in the country who owe more than $1 trillion in student loans and that number continues to grow. With the recent ending of the student loan forgiveness bill by the Biden administration, many are back with the same problem they faced prior to the bill — struggling to pay it back.
Zaniah Smalls, an undeclared junior, is like most students and has taken out loans to help cover her college tuition. The stress of realizing she will have to pay it back soon dawns on her every now and then.
“I try to keep the thought of paying back the money in the back of my head. I can’t let that stress me out, especially with the semester getting into full gear,” Smalls said, “It just motivates me to go harder and get as good of a job as possible so I could pay off the loans. After I get the loans covered, I feel I could really start enjoying my life.”
The sense of freedom someone gets for finally paying off their loans years after they graduate seems like a bittersweet moment. How much your loans stack up almost always depends on what school you go to. Colleges and their financial aid offices are dealing with these issues with students across the country, trying their best to come up with solutions for students of all backgrounds and those in difficult financial situations. Sites like FAFSA are used to help students obtain these loans and get the best possible answer for them and their situations.
Some students have to take out loans on their own, without help from a parent or guardian. Eliaser Perez, a senior majoring in broadcast journalism, has been taking out loans without anyone’s help
“Doing it by yourself isn’t as scary as it seems—you still have to pay it back at the end of the day, but it is definitely harder,” he explained how taking loans out on your own can be hard because many agencies worry if the student will be able to pay it back.
“One of the things I learned was that many places are hesitant to give a young kid with no job that kind of money in a loan. They only care about getting it back plus what they earn from the interest rates,” Perez said, “It’s all just a circle, basically, and the students are always the ones with the most to stress about. I wish school was free.”
Student loans are a nationwide struggle for college students all over. Graduation day is a day of celebration, but also the beginning of paying back those loans. Schools and agencies try their best to give students the help they need, but in reality, it’s not enough. The constant thought of having to pay back thousands of dollars in loans is what has college students pushing themselves to be financially stable with the work they choose in the future.
There have been countless promises by political figures saying they can solve this crisis, but in the end, it looks as if it’s just another campaign promise that has yet to see resolution.