Christopher Downs/Contributing Writer
As of 2016, an estimated forty-four million Americans have acquired student debt. In terms of student debt wages over the last 25 years, students who are seeking bachelor degrees that borrowed for college have increased from 1.6 percent to about 163.8 percent, according to Education Department data analyst Mark Kantrovitz, a financial aid expert from The Huffington Post.
“In 1990, the typical college student graduated with debt equivalent to 28.6 percent to their annual earnings — by 2015, that number increased to 74.3 percent,” wrote Kantrowitz.
Students who attend a private institution are expected to pay more than those who attend a 4-year public institution. In 2012, private institutions on average paid almost $7,000 more than graduates from public institutions. This burden of student debt has impact millions of Americans and, with no consistent economic earning, will continue to impulse despair among students.
Sharon Martinez a sophomore biology major, believes education should not be solely determined by an individual’s finances.
“There are a lot of talented people that have the money to pay for college, your education shouldn’t be dictated by your economic situation,” she said.
With her heavy course load, Martinez expressed that she felt that she’s getting her money’s worth.
“My classes are demanding enough; I’m definitely getting what I’m paying for. My professors are no joke,” she said.
Martinez notes that people often forget the impact our government has on the price of getting a college education, saying it’s something “people put in the back of their minds and show no attention to.”
Erika Joseph, a junior nursing major, mentioned the overlooked resources financial aid provides, specifically scholarships students can use to their advantage to avoid taking out student loans.
“I don’t think college should be free however, I do believe that there should be more avenues to help people. When you first come college the first thing that’s thrown at you is loans,” she said. “People just don’t know about the variety of resources college has to offer.”
When asked about whether or she’d see a change in student debt once a new president is elected optimistically, she expressed that she didn’t think that there would be a significant change but felt that it was primarily because their still minor obstacles that we have to conquer first. “I feel like we always are in a gridlock so I don’t think anything big will happen.”
Conclusively, she informed me that as a nursing major, once she graduates she has to opportunity to work at an underprivileged hospital and the state of Florida will reimburse her from what she paid from her student loans.
Daniel Pacheco a sophomore statistics major, agreeing that he felt college debt is higher than it’s ever been, Pacheco explained that while student’s undergraduate should be free he added that he doesn’t expect to see any significant changes in debt for students once a new president is elected.