Sydney McCall | Staff Writer
Millions of students across America are in a bind with student loans, even though most have no option but to take them out. For those who have graduated college, loans have been holding them back for years.
Student loan debt in the United States totals up to $1.73 trillion and grows six times faster than the economy, according to the Education Data Initiative. Additionally, the average student borrowers are in debt by $39,351.
For the class of 2020, the average starting salary was $55,260 after graduation. So why does the average student owe most of their annual salary?
It starts with financial education. College students are encouraged to fill out the FAFSA and take out as much as they offer if their families cannot afford to pay. For an 18-year-old to take out a large sum of money they will owe back, mandatory and extensive financial counseling should occur.
The simple entrance loan counseling offered does not seem enough for young people to sign a 360 deal with the Department of Education.
Additionally, the government should provide a student loan debt forgiveness program. As a part of his campaign, Joe Biden promised a forgiveness program, but many people wonder where it is or how it will be rolled out.
“I am betting on a student loan program to save my life,” said Joy Prince, a 2000 social work graduate from George Mason University.“I am still struggling to pay off my student debt 20 years after graduation.”
Hampton students are also very fearful about how they will pay off their loans when they graduate.
“I am already worried about how I will afford to pay my tuition after I graduate,” said Monae Fletcher, a second-year biology major at HU. “I plan on attending medical school, so I do not have an option as to whether or not I take out loans.”
In August, Hampton University paid the outstanding balances of continuing undergraduate students. That relief took a burden off so many students. No student should be under stress or pressure simply because of the financial implications of getting an education.
Everyone deserves the right to an education, and money should not have to be the reason education has to stop. A national student loan forgiveness program should be put in place by our administration.
Also, colleges and universities should educate students thoroughly on loans and finances before students take out loans. These actions would save so many young people from debt, stress and crisis.