Student Loans 101: How to Destroy Our Students’ Futures one Payment at a Time

Graduation. Courtesy of Narek75. Wikimedia.

It’s May, the most beautiful time of the year for our college students: graduation. They have spent the last four plus years of their lives, studying, researching, and working hard to finally earn that diploma, As the dean places it in their hands they are finally free. Well except for of course their overhanging enormous college loans that will completely destroy their hopes of having a prosperous life if they miss a payment. Don’t believe me? Well here are the facts.

The Facts:

Student loan debt has surpassed all the nation’s credit card debt coming in at over $1.1 trillion. College tuition has also long passed the rate of inflation. If tuition had grown in pace with inflation, the average tuition at public colleges would have been $2,052 in 2010. Instead, the average per semester tuition at public colleges and universities was $6,695 in 2010. Keep in mind that is only for public universities, which are known to be more affordable. Private universities’ prices have gone up even more. Private universities take up on average 36% of median family’s annual income, per year. Working in the summer at minimum wage can simply no longer cover the cost of tuition despite popular belief.

West Point. Courtesy of Ahodges7. Wikimedia.

Other Options:

On the other hand there are always ways to avoid paying for college. If one wishes to join the military all military academies can be attended for free. Otherwise there are about twelve other colleges that offer free tuition. Out of the hundreds of schools in America though they are grossly outnumbered.

Alan’s Story:

The story of Alan Collinge perfectly highlights this amazingly flawed system. Alan Collinge was a college student living the American dream. During his time at the University of Southern California he had to borrow an initial amount of $38,000. By the time he graduated that debt with interest accumulated to $50,000. He acquired a job and soon began to pay off what he owed. One month he was late on his payments as his utilities and necessities rose in price and the 20% of his monthly income was unable to reach his student loan payment. He frantically searched for a new job after he quit his original and it was one of the worst mistakes of his life. Soon after he bounced from job to job eventually working an astounding 92 hours a week. Still unable to meet his now increased payments his debt grew and grew to a point where his loan company demanded an $80,000 up front payment. “One day at the age of thirty-three, I soberly recognized that my hopes for marriage, children, and a home were much farther away from being realized…” This is not a rare case. This is a familiar story among college graduates and the threat that all of them are facing. (The Student Loan Scam.)

“One day at the age of thirty-three, I soberly recognized that my hopes for marriage, children, and a home were much farther away from being realized…”
Bernie Sanders. Courtesy of Gage Skidmore. Wikimedia.

Current Plans:

Many have come forward to propose a fix to this problem. Most notably the democratic primary runner Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders proposes that by implicating taxes upon the wealthy as well as on big business we could eliminate tuition costs. Sanders’s tax would be implicated on anyone making $250,000 a year, as well as an additional tax on all trades made on Wall Street. According to his staff, this tax on Wall Street alone would be an increase worth $54 billion to $300 billion per year. This along with the additional taxes would be able to pay for all of the students attending public universities by funding the schools directly.

Better Plan:

His plan makes the government the primary provider of education and with that comes and increase in federal control over schools, which will not end favorably. The government will soon regulate what is and isn’t an acceptable use of their money and the system will break down. A more feasible solution would be taxing the .1% of America. If the US were to raise taxes on just the top .1%, approximately 115,000 households in the US by just 5% the US would make an additional $55 billion in profit. If we add the $35 billion that is given to mostly public colleges for student financial aid we would get to the $62 billion estimated to make public colleges free. These 115,000 households are all making upwards of $9 million per year. A 5% increase in taxes or even less would not significantly change or inhibit their lifestyle. If the government were to then give this money out as student aid and not as direct aid to the school, it will take out the federal control. Students would apply to a school and if it is public receive their individual tuition being paid.

Money. Courtesy of Andy. Flickr.

There are 14.5 million students attending public universities right now. These students are our futures. How will the next president become a politician if he is succumb to an ever growing debt? These student’s lives are being put on hold until they can pay off their ridiculous debt, it’s time to change that. It’s time to give our students the same chance someone 40 years ago was given.

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