It took me until the age of 27 to complete my college education and even longer to pay off my debt. But I did, eventually. If I applied to college today I’m not sure I could have done it.
Today, student debt in the United States exceeds $ 1.7 trillion. Consumer reports reveals that “makes student loans the second category of household debt in the country.” Right behind mortgages and just above credit card debt or auto credit. $ 1.7 trillion.
I was academically studious. I wasn’t majority level or anything, but tried my best to maintain a high GPA. I always knew I wanted to go to college (although I don’t think it was a necessary path to be successful.) I always enjoyed learning and school in general, so it felt like a natural progression. .
Like many, I was unable to get financial help from my parents. Since I was 16, I have had a job of one kind or another. It was revealed to me when I started applying to colleges that any way to get there would require me to find a way to get financial aid. Even getting THAT was very difficult.
And so, I waited for tables and attended a few semesters. Then I would have more full-time concerts and put my college trip on the back burner. The years went by and I took more classes, and so on.
It wasn’t until I was ready to start my first year that I was able to find a way, while still working, to focus on finalizing and getting a BA. This was only possible because, through hard work and a high GPA, I was able to secure a large transfer scholarship to a small private university. The rest was financial aid.
I can’t tell you how grateful I was to take this step, to graduate as a “non-traditional student,” and to graduate with summa cum laude. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish.
After college, it was back to work. I got a job at a radio station in the sales department – a job I had previously held. Soon after, I started receiving my loan repayment notices. I had also recently experienced the end of an important relationship and money was very tight. I have often wondered if I would need another job in the evening just to make everything work.
Finally, after years of hard work, I paid. But yes, I would like to see mercy shown to those who still have thousands of dollars or tens of thousands of debt.
Today, I opened up social media to find a trend towards forgiveness of student loans. Recently, 500 members of Congress were interviewed on this topic. Only 66 responded. CNBC report the details of these findings here.
The fact that there is a serious discussion about forgiving student loans is celebrated by many. But others are outraged. And some still don’t know what they are thinking.
Those against the cancellation of student debt feel that it is not fair for some to have their university debt paid off when they have had to work for years to pay it off. Many were barely able to repay it, because of the interest. Some will NEVER have paid it.
Those for the cancellation of student debt, many of whom worked to repay theirs, feel that it is not because they have suffered that everyone should do it. They argue that “just because people had polio before the vaccine does that mean no one should be allowed to take it because they didn’t get it?”
Another aspect to consider is how the tuition fees have become extraordinarily higher. Even as recently as when I graduated, college was not as expensive as it is today. I’m not sure if I was looking at my options now if college would even be possible.
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