Student loans are both a blessing and a curse. As college students, we want a degree that will help us get our dream career and excel in life. But to get to that dream we need a large amount of money and the loan companies have it.

A college degree is a necessity priced as a luxury, and we don’t all live a luxurious life. Some of us are first-generation college students, lower or middle-class. We don’t have the resources to afford college, so we turn to loans.  In the end, these loans become a burden that we have to carry for many years.

Student loan debt exceeds more than $1 trillion in America, among approximately 44 million student borrowers. Degree holders ranging from ages 20-30 average a monthly student loan payment of $351. The average graduating class has a debt of at least $30,000, and the student loan debt has surpassed America’s credit card debt.

There are several systems in place. However, not everyone is in a position to take advantage of the forgiveness,

A bachelor’s degree has become a necessity just to make a living wage. We would think the degree would get us a middle-class lifestyle but the joke’s on us. After trying to pay our rent, car note, multiple insurance companies, food, gas and, of course, our student loans, we are left with little. This causes us to either go back to school, live with our parents, or get a second job.

Norfleet.KarissaDidn’t the Obamas only just pay off their student loans right before they left office? The Obamas, people!

Although a bachelor’s degree is the same in any field, they lead to vastly different salary. As a communication major, I doubt I will be making the same as my friend who is earning his degree in engineering.

The interest on loans has grown over the years from 3.42 percent in 2013 to 3.76 percent in 2017. The interest rate was as high as 6.8 percent in 2008. The interest may have gone down, but the prices of car notes, car insurance, groceries and, most importantly, rent has gone up. The Washington Post reports that average rent has not been this high since the 1980s.

There are programs, such as the closed school discharge, teacher loan forgiveness, Perkins loan cancelation and discharge, among others, but they all come with restrictions. For example, the Perkins Loan cancelation and discharge are for student loan holders who have performed a certain type of public service or are employed in a certain profession. For every year completed, a certain percentage of the loan is canceled until you stop or your loan is completely canceled.

The program is a good step to helping struggling students get rid of their school loan debt, but the ultimate goal is to eliminate the financial burden and have students attend college for free.

New York recently passed a bill that provides free tuition for public colleges and universities. This program was created to be fair to all students with different financial backgrounds.

If the cost of higher education continues to rise, even the best loan program will be out of reach for most, and we will end up with a class-based system where only the rich can get higher education. When that day comes, America will lose.

Story by Karisa Norfleet, UP contributor

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