Student loan debt is increasing and students are not prepared for the rising costs

Nicole Turnbull

October 18, 2019

Student loan debt causes those attending college to encounter many setbacks when repaying the debt from loans during college and after graduating.

Student loan company, Sallie Mae, has received backlash due to the company’s leisure vacation in Hawaii. Sallie Mae responded to the backlash by assuring that they only contributed 1.4% of the $1.6 trillion in total for student loans. While the numbers may seem small, 1.4% is still an extremely large number resulting in $22.4 billion as reported by commenter Jessica G. responding to Sallie Mae’s twitter post.

Student loan debt has increased by double within the last decade from $833 billion in 2010 to $1.6 trillion in 2019. The student loan issue is not only financial but also political and prevalent in the upcoming presidential election. Many are questioning student loan companies for the increase of debt, but the focus should also be on to colleges for the increasing cost of attendance.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is dedicated to helping those through college who desperately need it, although its determination for this is solely based on parental income. This means that if the student’s parents make more than the minimum amount required for grants, the student will not receive any help, even if the parents are not willing to help with college expenses what-so-ever. This can be explained by FAFSA those who live in a household with a decent income have received enough resources to be able to provide enough money for college expenses. Thus, a student is expected to be able to hold a part-time job at least and hope to receive enough in loans to pay for college.

After graduating, many loans are required to be paid off within six months, according to, so the student must have a job lined up with a salary that covers student loan debt as well as living expenses after college. During this time, new graduates are expected to buy a house and find a spouse according to the American dream during the ages of 22-30.

With student loan debt reaching over one hundred thousand for some students, this dream is just not realistic. There is always the option of attending a community college or in-state school, but even then, students will struggle with managing a job and attending school full time.

Heather, a student at Washington State University Vancouver said, “I know that after I graduate, I will have loans that I will need to pay off, nearly $40,000 and I even attended a smaller in-state college. I can’t imagine what those are going through attending prestigious out-of-state universities.”

Heather did not receive any grants from FAFSA due to her parents owning a large amount of property considered as an asset that could potentially be sold to put her through college according to FAFSA. Heather has been on her own since the age of 18 and after she got a job at 16 years old, she was expected to pay for everything herself.

There are millions of students with situations similar to Heather’s all around the country that often receive little to no help and were never given the option of anything but attending college. Many high schools do not focus on the option of entering a trade such as electrical work or welding, many students are pushed to go to college.

Sirena Ojeda, a struggling college student in Washington State she knew more about trade schools. Sirena said, “The high school I attended never addressed anything besides attending college and also never discussed the expenses of college and how to pay for it.” Loan companies and high school educators must inform students of the measures of paying for college and the reality of the situation.