The College Dilemma

Student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt, nationwide And 65% of college students take out education loans.


Alyssa Durkin

An infographic meant to display the dilemma students face when deciding about college.

Alyssa Durkin, Reporter

For the past four years, students have been studying, putting in volunteer hours, and practicing for the SATS/ACTS to prepare for college. In the movies, we see the scenes when the main character gets accepted into Harvard and doesn’t have to worry about student loans or money for basic necessities; however, many adolescents aren’t able to afford college life. 

The Educational Data Initiative in the U.S. says the average tuition for a four-year public college that is in-state is averaged out to be around $25,487 annually. For students who want to go out of state that price can sometimes double or even triple depending on where you want to attend. When it’s time to graduate with your bachelor’s, you could have spent $400,000 dollars or more. 

Not only is college itself expensive, but so is the cost of living. Students may have to manage a full-time job and school on top of that. A report from the College Board showed that students can spend up to $1,220 on textbooks just in the first year. Not to mention, students have to also accommodate for rent, utilities, transportation, groceries, and other necessities. 

Now, some might be thinking, well just take out a student loan. According to the Student Loan Hero, in the class of 2019, 69% of students had taken out student loans. The average student was about 29,900 dollars in debt with both federal and private loans and around 18% of students’ parents took out student loans of around $37,200. 

Another factor that goes into whether students attend college is if they know what they are going to do after high school, sometimes they’ll go to college and figure out what they want to do, whereas other times they might not attend college and just go to a 9-5 job that doesn’t require any type of education past a high school diploma. 

With the growing world of technology, many are able to access online courses to help prepare for their futures. Some jobs only require a few months of training and then you are able to get a good-paying job. For example, in computer programming, you can skip college altogether and not get yourself in thousands of dollars in debt, and instead take a course that can teach what you’re supposed to learn in four years in just a few short months. Now yes some jobs do require a full four years of college or more, but not all good-paying jobs do. 

Many politicians have been considering putting in effect student loan debt forgiveness. During the 2020 election, Biden discussed how he wanted to help those who are in debt from college; he started to make a plan in January of 2021 but then later never enacted his plan. The idea for a student loan forgiveness program was introduced back in 2007 and was created under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. This program will help relieve some of the added stress and help with minimizing the debt many are drowning in. Many hope there will be more to come with this, so they can have some of the debt taken off their plates.