Katelyn K.

Student Debt

Student debt is ridiculously high, and something needs to be done about it.

Dear Future President,

Student Debt

My name is Katelyn, and I am an eighth grader living near Cleveland, Ohio. I am very worried about the cost of college, and how much it will rise before I graduate from high school. I do not know how I am supposed to pay taxes, buy food, and own a car or a house when I have to pay off lots of debt. Colleges are using the graduates’ money to make useless renovations, like upgrading already huge stadiums and creating more sports teams and clubs. If college costs so much, then why aren’t all of the debt payments going towards building a better education? I am worried because I do not know if I will be able to afford college in five years. Tuition prices need to be lowered. Graduates in debt are unable to make a living for themselves, and we can not allow that to happen, because these people are the future of our country.

According to the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, almost forty three percent of college graduates are struggling to pay off their student debt. Since 2003, the cost of student debt has gone up ninety-one percent, with the cost averaging at around $20,326 in 2012. The Committee's survey also showed that up to sixty percent of graduates’ annual income is equal to the amount of debt that they owe to their college. With the cost of an education continuing to rise, people are struggling to pay off their debt. Not doing so can result in a lower credit score, which can prevent people from getting a high paying job. People that do not have jobs can not make payments towards their debt. Not only can this debt cripple college graduates, it can also hurt students that are still waiting to graduate.

The cost of debt will continue to rise, further damaging the economy. A study conducted by the Federal Reserve in 2012 shows that thirty year old college graduates are much less likely to own homes and cars, get married, and gain financial independence if they are in debt. Students that graduated in 2013 were able to save money to pay off their debt by delaying the age that they will retire, marriage, and refraining from buying cars and houses. Unfortunately, doing so can keep these people from making a living for themselves. Less than fifty percent of women and thirty percent of men that are in debt are financially stable.

New graduates are not the only people that owe debt. Some of today’s seniors are struggling to pay off either their child’s or their own debt. In 2012, people over fifty years old collectively owed over 155 billion dollars in debt. On average, they owed between $19,521 and $23,820. 24.7% of senior citizens that owed debt for themselves or their children were more than 90 days overdue on their payments. Over 119,000 of these citizens were having money taken out of their monthly social security payments to pay for student debt.

Student debt is a serious problem in the United States. It causes people to drop out of school, lose their jobs and homes, and go bankrupt. However, you can put a stop to this. I believe our colleges should be monitored by regularly checking the amount of money they are bringing in compared to the amount of money they are spending. We can make sure they are not wasting the money that they collect from the millions of graduates that are still paying off their debt. We can also lower the cost of tuition. By making sure that colleges are putting their money to good use, we can stop them from spending it on things that are not necessary. I hope this problem can be solved in the near future.