Never Ending Debt

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Ricardo Romero has a part-time job at the Cheesecake Factory. Kevin Mentor works as a waiter in an assisted living home. Juneid Walli is currently unemployed.

And in the back of their minds, the same question: How am I going to pay off my college debt?

They are not alone. Many students today are juggling their time between work and school, in order to save enough money to start paying off their student loan debt after they graduate. “I won’t need to worry about student loans until graduate school,” said Romero, 21, who plans on graduating in May of 2014 from the University of Buffalo.  He’s currently working at the Cheesecake Factory to build some stability for when they come. On top of student loans, he feels that the huge main problem is finding a job in the field of study to prepare you.

In the last week of April, President Barack Obama made a trip to three different states to help drum up support for a bill that would prevent student loans from doubling. The President’s efforts worked: On June 29th, 2012, Congress agreed to legislation preventing interest rate increases on new loans to millions of college students. While this relieved Ricardo, who lives in Buffalo, NY, he is just one student of many who is dreading to look forward to paying these loans off.  Interest rates of 3.4 percent for subsidized Stafford loans will carry on for an additional year for undergraduates, under the bill.

Kevin Mentor is on track to graduate from NYIT with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in December 2012. “Student loan debt is, obviously, a bad thing when you graduate and you don’t have the career to pay it off,” says Kevin. He currently works part-time as a waiter in Arbors Assisted Living in Islandia to prepare himself for the loans to come. He says it hurts when you only work part-time, and the loans are more than what you are getting paid. With $40,000+ in debt, this situation is overwhelming to many students, especially if they can’t get a job.

A survey by Rutgers University came to a conclusion that half of graduates said their jobs didn’t need a four-year degree and a mere 20% said their first job was on their career path. Several students say that paying off their loans has been more difficult than they pictured, especially with high interest rates.

A report by The Department of Education and CFPB estimated outstanding student loan debt at a record of $1 trillion. There is now more student loan debt than credit card debt for U.S. consumers. It’s such a huge dilemma, that it’s creating scrutiny amongst colleges across the country, especially ‘for-profit’ colleges. The Art Institute of Las Vegas doesn’t request high school diplomas from students, or a portfolio of their work, they just immediately assist them in applying for financial aid. This institute is currently being investigated, according to NBC News, and there are questions about whether this institute was really made to educate students, or to profit from them.

Juneid Walli, a current student at NYIT, said that student loans are “horrible” because once students graduate college, they are not guaranteed 100% to get a job, and even if they do, they will still spend a good chunk of their lives paying it back. “For the people who don’t end up in the field they want to, imagine their situation. It would be really difficult to get rid of the debt.” Walli is currently unemployed and is hoping to get a part-time job very soon. Although he won’t graduate until May of 2014, he wants to start saving up as much as he can now, in order to be prepared for the future.

According to the Associated Press, more than half of recent graduates were jobless or unemployed last year, record-breaking numbers in at least 11 years. We all know that many college graduates feel they will be paying off their student loans for the rest of their lives, but the real question is: Are Obama and Romney talking about this?

The answer is: Sort of.

On July 1st, President Barack Obama said “Higher education cannot be a luxury reserved just for a privileged few,” while the College Republican National Committee says “Since Obama took office, the average cost of in-state tuition at a four-year college has increased 25%.”

So while they are talking about these issues during the presidential elections, many students still feel that there will be no soon enough solution to this never ending debt. According to CNBC, “Seeing no way out, some are taking drastic measures.”

 

 

 

 

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