By Rachel Rundengan |Staff Writer|
Education can be a real drag when money, loans, and debts all mean the same thing.
Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to carry a conversation about school and education without those three hair-raising words.
I often wonder why we should attend college if we’re going to struggle down the road trying to pay off all the money we owe, only to receive the education that we would find later to prevent us from actually living our lives.
“Education here is a privilege, while in Europe, it’s a right,” said German foreign exchange student Felix Schönhofer.
There are many tuition-free universities in European countries, such as Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Denmark—just to name a few.
Though fewer students are earning college degrees in Germany than in the U.S., according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, they don’t have to fear getting an education.
While “student debts” is unheard of in most European countries, the total student loan debt in the U.S. has reached $1.3 trillion, and is growing $2,726 every second, according to Market Watch.
“More than 25 percent of students who take on college debt are graduating with way too much of it. And the repercussions could be lifelong,” stated financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz in an article written for Time.
According to the Institute for College and Success, 70 percent of students graduate with debts—debts we simply cannot afford to repay as a result of being plainly broke.
It blows my mind how much students are borrowing money in order to afford their education.
College has become a luxury, and the thought of it scares me.
We were taught at a young age to get straight A’s, graduate high-school, go to college, and from there, be as successful as we please.
Yet, how can we possibly attain prosperity if our college debts burden us from doing so?
Many of us believe that a college degree is a fundamental component in becoming successful and getting ahead.
However, because postsecondary education has become a thing of luxury, the number one reason most people do not enroll in college is because it’s just too expensive.
I know at least for myself that the reason I didn’t want go to college in the beginning was due to the fear I had (and still have) of having to pay the potential debts I will have after I graduate.
In comparing my situation to others, I know I am fortunate, but is my undergraduate education really worth the financial cost?
If at the end of the day, most companies prefer hiring people with work experience over having a college degree, shouldn’t we somehow enforce the educational system to make it more affordable for everyone?
“College was supposed to be the means through which we can achieve the American Dream, because a college education would earn us the degrees we need for top paying jobs,” stated student Kevin Miller.
Men and women who are grinding under student debt are delaying marriage, childbearing, and home purchases.
The postponing of what ultimately makes life worth living makes us slaves of a failing system that can only worsen in time, if we don’t take serious actions.
Earning a college degree or simply getting the education we very well are deserving of should have never been an issue from the start.
Education is a fundamental human right and it is important that we exercise this right, as it promotes empowerment and stimulate self-development.
If having this right means to be indebted for a large sum later in life, I only hope we can find the urgency to rebuild this institution, realizing the damage it has done. As well as recognizing what more it can do to not only this generation, but also the future generation.
In that anticipating moment of my graduation day, when I am walking to receive my diploma, and the crowd cheers in excitement for the future, I hope to walk in confidence and certainty that the result of my education will only give more than what I owe.