Student Loan Crisis: What the Government Should Be Doing

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Written by: Alyssa Tyler, Assistant Editor

In America 44 million people make up for 1.6 trillion dollars of student loan debt. 70% of college graduates from 2018 have loan debt. Millions of students every year borrow millions of dollars out to pay for college tuition, fees and other means of life. This has led to countless debates and ideas on how to fix this ever-growing problem. Ideas range from free college granted to those who qualify by financial need and to forgive graduates of the debt that they owe. But the main question is why has the cost of college increased by 275% in just six years. Action needs to be taken now before the student debt crisis turns into something that the government cannot control or fix. 

Why college prices have risen by an extraordinary amount in the past 20 years is for multiple reasons. There has been a surge in demand, in 1986 there were 9.46 million people enrolled in public college. Now, in the school year 2019-2020, there are 14.69 million students enrolled in a public college, states Statista. With the number of students now enrolled for college, the need for financial aid has risen as well. Many middle-class high school students do not qualify for financial aid through the government. Forcing them to go through other companies that have an extremely high-interest rate. For example, the federal student loan interest rate is 4.53% for the 2019-2020 school year states nerdwallet.com. This adds on either college graduates having years added onto their payments or adding extreme amounts of money onto their monthly payments. One of the first things that the government can do to battle the millions of college graduates struggling with years of monthly payments, is to forgive up to a set amount of their debt owed. 

Another way to prove that the amount of student loan debt that the average person has reached into a crisis, is shown by a survey of 10 BLHS teachers, who have been out of college for 2-15 years, 60% still have student debt from college. 

Although, the government isn’t the only way to help pay off for colleges. High school students in their last years of high school should begin looking into ways to avoid taking out student loans before they graduate colleges. This can come in the form of scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid. The teachers in the survey also warned that the majority of athletic scholarships don’t cover the full cost of college. Reiterating how important academics are for a high school student to qualify for scholarships. Other tips included staying in-state, try and find a job in high-demand that would help pay off the student debt and to understand how interest works on student loans. But there are many ways to avoid taking out student loans in the first place. Additionally, the teachers surveyed said that their best piece of advice would be trying to find as many scholarships as possible.

Although the idea of finding scholarships might be daunting, $46 billion dollars worth of scholarships was given in 2018 according to Debt.org. These were given out by the Department of Education and from colleges and universities around the nation. This also does not include the thousands of scholarships all around the country. There are also different types of grants that can be given to future college students. The government should offer more programs and scholarships that include a larger variety of students. 

Overall, there are ways to avoid taking out thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for college. From scholarships through colleges, universities, the government and websites online to Pell Grants and Federal Aid. There are many ways that the government and future college students can slowly bring the student debt crisis to an end.