Is higher education another hole students’ pockets?

Amanda M. Castro, Managing Editor

As long as a graduation follows and students are able to repay debt, getting a college education is typically seen as an intelligible financial investment. College is frequently promoted as the best path to upward mobility and success, but it is not without its financial burdens. Many students are unable to afford college if they do not take out student loans. And those who are unable to obtain a well-paying job after graduation are less likely to be able to repay their loans. Because of the nationally increasing cost of tuition, students have the right to wonder whether higher education is worth the cost anymore.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a little less than one-third of individuals, aged 25 to 29, hold a bachelor’s degree, and many of them paid a high price for it. Americans collectively owed more than $1.57 trillion in student loans as of 2020, more than two and a half times what they owed only a decade ago. Students, and sometimes their families, are pushed into debt because of the belief that a college education is synonymous with success in the job market. These facts alone demonstrate how it becomes difficult for students and their families to pay for their loan debts.

Individuals with a college diploma are more likely to make more money. However, many young adults have discovered that continuing their education after high school has its drawbacks. Tuition expenses have risen, incomes have remained stagnant, some students begin but do not complete their degree programs and there is a greater reliance on student loans, all of which have reduced the value of a college education. With rising expenses and greater enrollment, overall student debt was bound to rise, especially during the Great Recession.

Increased college tuition is the main cause of these problems with student debt, both in terms of tuition and living expenses. Higher college enrollment and attendance is another driver of growing student debt. Undergraduate enrollment has surged by almost 3.5 million students since 2000. Graduate degrees are also being earned by an increasing number of people according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Borrowing money to pay for a college education can become burdensome in the long run for many graduates and their families. Because student loans are frequently repaid over long periods of time – up to 30 years – the notion is that these debts are managed alongside other financial responsibilities.

According to an Instagram poll from the Charger Bulletin, 79% of participants said that they had to apply for student loans to pay for the University of New Haven’s tuition. Despite their different reasons for doing so, this illustrates the lengths to which a student would go to pay for their college education and achieve the success of earning a degree that is constantly preached by society.