Today: Feb 26, 2024

Loan debt plagues college students

Joshua Falcone – General Assignment Reporter

Southern students, like most scholars in this country, have accumulated debts while paying for their education. The notion of how and when they will be able to pay their debts off is prevalent among the student body.

The tuition rates for Connecticut state universities, including Southern, increased by 3.8 % this year. This means many students who rely on student loans to help pay their expenses will end up borrowing slightly more.

Along with that increase, many borrowers are anxious to see if the interest rates on these loans will double next summer, after Congress reached a deal this past July to keep the rates stable until next June.

Christian Spencer, a junior political science major, is concerned with the debt he has amassed so far, in part to the tuition increases. Spencer said he feels the tuition keeps increasing and he hasn’t seen any upgrades on campus.

“They keep saying they’re going to renovate the Buley Library,” Spencer said. “I haven’t seen improvements yet.”

Spencer also constantly thinks about his rising loans.

“My loans are increasing and they are going to have to be paid back eventually,” he said. “I’m uncertain how or when I am going to pay them.”

That dubious sentiment is shared by Kyle Tamulevich, a senior political science major, though Tamulevich said he does try to think positively about repaying his loans.

“I’m going to be paying it for a long time,” he said. “As long as I have a job, I shouldn’t have too much difficulty paying it off, but that’s still going to be a considerable chunk of my income.”

To reduce the amount of interest incurred by borrowers, Sallie Mae, one of the nation’s leading student loan providers, recommends that students attempt to make small payments on their loans as soon as they receive their first billing statement. Though many students choose to defer payment until they graduate and find a job that utilizes their degree.

Matt Ursone, a senior sports management major, has put off paying his loans and has started to think about that decision.

“When I’m done with school in a year, I have to start paying them back,” Ursone said. “I can’t defer them anymore. It’s harder now to find jobs in this economy and the price of tuition is through the roof, and I’m worried about it.”

Although, there is an online movement group that is attempting to restructure the way higher education is financed. Forgive Student Loan Debt (www.forgivestudentloandebt.com) started as a proposal posted as a Facebook group by founder Robert Applebaum. The group’s intent was to stimulate the economy in January 2009 by eliminating loan debts amounted by college students. The group quickly garnered many members and soon became the website it is today.

Applebaum and the group started an online petition in support of H.R. 4170, The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, a bill introduced to Congress by Rep. Hansen Clarke of Michigan that would cap the interest rates on federal student loans at the current 3.4 percent and forgive student loan debt for individuals who have paid 10 percent of their adjustable income toward their loans for 10 years. The bill hasn’t been passed yet, but the petition included one million signatures in support of the bill. Matt Ursone was one of them.

“It’s [student loans] like a blessing and a curse,” Ursone said.

“I mean it absolutely made it possible for me to even attend college but that numbing dull pain I’m going to feel when I get that first bill post-graduation–oof.”

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