Graduating high school was once considered something for which to look forward. Students dreamed of the freedom college offered, and prospects for the future danced in their heads. But these days, with student loan debt at an all-time high, this is no longer the case.
According to The State Press, Arizona State University’s online publication, many students are now wondering if that prized degree is really worth the cost of entering into crippling post-college debt. One such ASU student, Robin Hudson, had her dreams of higher education come to a halt when she lost her scholarship, the reason for her choice to attend ASU, after her Freshman year.
Because schools such as ASU have to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, many students are being denied financial support. Hudson’s parents were even denied ASU’s Parent PLUS Loan, which determines whether or not a parent is financially eligible for a loan.
Lacking other options for financial aid, Hudson took out a private loan from Sallie Mae. Her loans currently have her in approximately $58,000 of debt. Upon graduation, Hudson expects to be indebted about $70,000. Aside from tuition, the cost of books, housing, parking, and food have students scrambling to make ends meet.
The article from The State Press notes that “According to a study from the Institute for College Access and Success, the average 2014 alumnus from ASU had nearly $22,000 in student loan debt upon graduation, roughly two years’ worth of tuition. Of the 2014 class, 54 percent were graduating with debt, the study reported.”
Hudson’s experience is just one example of the problem faced by millions of Americans who are in debt due to student loans. Even after college, debt remains an issue. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, $1.2 trillion is student loan debt.
In addition to student loans and fear of future debt, the unemployment rate for individuals under the age of 25 is at an ultimate low. Even for students who can balance school and work part-time, the income is hardly enough to pay for both college and the cost of living.
There are, however, a few alternatives to taking out loans that could provide students with the opportunity of higher education. A tuition waiver comes with a job – the student works for a paycheck, and, therefore, has tuition waived. Participating in a work study may also be an option.