Some Student Loan Debt Disasters Can Be Prevented
Updated: May 11
Sometimes you can prevent catastrophic financial situations by doing simple math.
CNN.com recently interviewed several individuals who have large student loan debts.
Amber, one of the individuals profiled in the article, grew up in poverty in a small Virginia town. Due to her good grades and high ACT score, she was offered a full ride at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
Unfortunately, her guidance counselor advised her to attend a private college in Tennessee instead. So that’s what she did. But in order to attend that school, she had to take out student loans.
Amber now has around $100,000 in student loan debt, isn’t working in her desired field, and is struggling to pay her bills.
Let’s rewind to her senior year of high school, and compare her options for paying for college.
Option 1: A free degree
Option 2: A degree that will cost $100,000
No one in her family had gone to college before, and she grew up in poverty. She worked hard enough in high school to earn a free ride. Amber was doing everything right! She is exactly the kind of person I like to root for.
The main problem I have with Amber is her refusing to accept any responsibility for her situation.
Instead, she blames “The System”.
She explained, “It’s not just about educating yourself on student loans and how they work. I think it’s about creating a system that actually works for students and people in poverty. We’re so easily preyed on.”
I’m not sure which system she’s referring to. The system I read about in CNN’s article handed her a voucher for a free college education, and she turned it down.
But didn’t her guidance counselor give her some bad advice? Absolutely, but her situation is NOT his fault. At least not 100%. An eighteen-year-old should still be able to weigh the options and make a smart choice: Should I borrow tens of thousands of dollars for an education, or accept a free-ride?
Now, let’s take a look at the first part of her quote: “It’s not just about educating yourself on student loans and how they work.”
Actually, I think what would help many future college students is exactly that: educating them on student loans and how they work. Millions of Americans have student loans that they entered into voluntarily, and yet many of them seem to be very angry and confused about the fact that they have student loans, and that they are being required to pay them!
Maybe if they had been taught about student loans and understood exactly how they worked, they wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in now, asking everyone else to pay their college bill.
High school seniors, before you make your final decision on college, make sure you completely understand your role in paying for it. You don’t want to find yourself in Amber’s shoes, drowning in serious debt when you could have gone to school for free.
Sometimes, all you need to do is simple math.