This is not a surprise, as selling, buying, and managing debt is a part of a billion-dollar industry that rakes in additional money every other minute. It runs the global economy, and it should. We deserve, then, to understand how debt takes control of our lives and wields power over us.
Today, more students are graduating with debt at an alarming rate. It’s almost a crisis that has now financial experts worried. If you are saddled with debt as a student, you’re not in a good place, financially.
Psychologists did research on the influences of debt and earnings and how they take center stage in our lives. It revealed that regardless of the size of your earnings, you will still not feel financially free if you don’t have a strong financing standing.
According to additional research and a recent poll done on student debt levels, it was revealed that the mere thought of having student loans extinguishes the joy of graduating to begin with.
When these polls were carried out, it was further discovered that more students live with the fear of their personal debt growing past the $25,000-mark, a mark many people consider, if they surpass it, as not an investment, but a “dreadful moment.”
This can only mean one thing: The influence of debt in your life and a meager paycheck (which means low earnings), will annihilate the little happiness you hold inside. After all, no one is ever happy when saddled with a debt of any size and nature.
Real Cost of College and the impact Student Debt has
Among American saddled with student debt, the average is about $49,000. Most graduates in their early 20s pay $350 each month in principal and interest rates on their student loans.
When many of these graduates get employed, three expect their earnings to diminish progressively. Why? According to just right loans, about 8 to 10% of their total yearly income goes to repay loans after graduating. This is assuming they land on an entry-level job with $50,000 as salary per year.
While the numbers may not present a clear picture, they are seemingly hard to take in. They clearly indicate what debt does to student’s earnings after graduating—for roughly 10 to 12 years.
But accruing debt is not the only problem that compounds. The amount of money taken from your earnings can have a great impact on your mental health. It affects your well-being, too. The imagination alone makes one feel like a failure in life.
So, to most students, college is a viable option and valuable as well, but it also creates the assumption that it must cost a lot more to attain it. Everything considered, it is somewhat true, but this is a false assumption that almost everyone leaves with. It’s sad!
Debt and Meritocracy
But will there be a time when people will experience “free colleges”? Where colleges don’t cost so much more to drag students into debt? It may seem impossible, but this dream is achievable. New York state, has proven to the world that it is possible to offer free college. The state of New York offers free 4-year college, the only state in America to do so.
On a national level, this seems like a possible dream, but the same cannot be said at the federal level. Many people would hope for free college., but it will take time on a federal level to replicate what New York State did.
But there will always be room or place for individuals with skills and imagination who want to attend “high-status” colleges. People who aspire to reach the highest level and are ready to pay “high-status” prices to be there.
For the rest of the people, it makes economic sense to lower the cost of colleges, thereby, lowering the barrier of entry to colleges to allow more people to attain education and pursue their dreams.
The “debt industry” is not something everyone is happy to talk about. It leaves a bad taste in their mouth, and for obvious reasons. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand why.
So, what is the relationship between student debt and their happiness? Or, what’s the relation of debt and co-existing harmoniously in the society?
Generally, America puts a lot of effort into employment meritocracy: a great deal of consideration is given to individuals on the basis of their skill, effort, and achievement. In other words, if you want to spend extra effort to improve yourself through education, you will be “rewarded” in exchange for this effort.
There ought to be “reward” mechanisms as well for individuals who put a lot of effort and time to create small businesses or take time to learn new skills in a college that prepares them for the next level in life. This effort needs to be rewarded, too. But does it cost?
On a college standpoint, this never happens, which is where the problem lies. This impacts the happiness of college students—accruing knowledge and putting the effort to learn and being rewarded for time and achievement you put in, rather than making it about the money.
To put it another way, the dream of people who wish to improve themselves, whether through learning a skill or pursuing better employment or education, should be easy to attain, even if they don’t have financial means to do it.
Practically, this is possible but only if you invest as a society in subsidies and grants for students who don’t have the financial means for better education or to meet rising college costs. There’s only so much a society can do to help prospective students who come from poor backgrounds.
Sadly, the current political climate ensures that this simple idea or proposal—of helping students achieve education with tax money— does not take flight.
Politics, in the name of balancing the budget, blocks any effort or form of assistance available for needy students by chipping away at programs that offer subsidized scholarships, grants, and loans on a federal level.
This is what meritocracy has done to the education system; it has turned it into a club for a selected few. The well-to-do. The select few who can pay “deluxe” prices for education. In reality, the idea of students working for hours on end while pursuing education on a full-time basis is not worth it. In fact, students shouldn’t put in more than a few hours working.
You can’t refute the fact that education costs have hit the roof. It has become difficult for students to attain their goals in life or even achieve happiness, as costs of attending college have skyrocketed in the past few years. And students feel the heat. How do you explain an entire generation being left out of college because of costs?
Maintaining that education is only for the elitists, the well-to-do, does not help the situation. It only makes things worse than they currently are. If education is not made available for everyone, then human knowledge will soon become worthless because it will not shared as it should be.
People, in spite of their background, should be able to attain their educational goals and future careers without affecting their financial footing or sanity. This must be on the list of our priorities, not just now but at all times.