Getting a job. Buying a car. Buying a house. Raising kids. They all may sound like daunting life hurdles by themselves, but try adding debt to the equation.
Then they become nightmares.
Unfortunately, itâ€™s also a reality for todayâ€™s college-age generation. Ten years ago, one-third of individuals took out loans to pay for college and graduated with an average of $10,000 in debt. Now, two-thirds of students take out college loans and graduate owing about $24,000.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York stated that Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards, as reported in previous Collegian articles. And student loan debt in the U.S. is expected to exceed $1 trillion this year.
Some politicians are jumping on the issue.
â€œIn a global economy, putting a college education within reach for every American has never been more important,â€ said President Barack Obama in an Oct. 25, 2011 press release announcing his efforts to ease student loan debt. â€œBut itâ€™s also never been more expensive.â€
Republicans fired back, saying his involvement will do little to improve the situation.
â€œDespite the administrationâ€™s rhetoric, this plan will not create a single job, strengthen our economy or promote fiscal responsibility,â€ said Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee in a statement issued the day after the presidentâ€™s announcement. â€œWhat this plan will do instead is encourage more borrowing across the board. That means more debt for students, more debt for taxpayers and more red ink on the governmentâ€™s books.â€
So with mounting financial hardship and a political situation that seems unlikely to produce a bipartisan solution to the issue, what the buck will student loan debt do to your life?
â€œI donâ€™t think itâ€™ll affect my life too much, so long as I get a good job, I guess.â€
Michael Knox- 2nd year graduate student in construction management
â€œIâ€™m nervous about my debt. Itâ€™s far away from me, so I canâ€™t imagine the depth of it.â€
Sayumi Nakao-junior sociology major
â€œSince I depend on social security, it could affect me a little more. If I didnâ€™t get a great job Iâ€™d have some problems.â€
Jacob Mcgowen-junior creative writing major
â€œIâ€™m out of state. Anything less would be better. College is expensive enough.â€
Vanessa Lang sophomore creative writing major
â€œTheyâ€™re going to make me postpone a lot of my traveling … Itâ€™s going to turn out to land-lock me in a job for four or five years.â€
Chris Hargett senior mechanical engineering major
By the numbers
The amount of debt the average college student graduated with 10 years ago.
The amount of debt the average college student graduates with now.
The combined amount of student loan debt in the U.S.