Student loans are not the only road to college money


Patrick Froysland, Reporter

Most of us want a life of plenty. But would we sell ourselves out to the banks, sign an inescapable deal, and take a financial poison that lasts for the next half of one’s life? These deals are completely legal, despite it being on the same level as robbery in terms of criminal systems. But these deals go by a more common and appetizing name: Student Loans.

Students try their hardest to get good grades, earn scholarships, and go to college for practically nothing at all. However, most end up not getting the money they need on their own. This leaves many students with two choices: Just not go to college, and accept a life in which they don’t earn much money or sell themselves out to the banks to follow their dreams.

There are alternatives to this financial poison. Scholarships are constantly promoted on a bulletin board in D Hall, yet students often don’t apply to these out of thoughts that they aren’t qualified. Despite the fact that this is free money that students can earn by getting good grades, these scholarships are neglected far too often.

Some students know what they want to do, but are often left in the dark when it comes to payment and planning. Senior student Kingston Limatu stated that he is “planning on going to SLCC (Salt Lake Community College) to do my generals, then I will transfer up to the University of Utah.” He has even gone so far as to apply for the FAFSA, the Federal Application for Student Aid. Aside from FAFSAs, he says “I will be working when not in school. My mom will also help me out when I need it.”

Some don’t apply out of assumptions that richer students are going to get the rewards, even though the FAFSA is about giving lower income students the chance to go to college to get a better education. Other students have plans akin to “My parents will pay.” Or “(I will apply to) Student Loans, FAFSA, anything.” This kind of poor planning ends up causing students to go into debt, as even the wealthiest of parents cannot afford to send their kids completely these days. Merely applying for student loans will almost certainly guarantee their reception, even if it is unnecessary.

The school offers FAFSA nights to help students with applying for these, and the next of these nights is on the Twentieth of April, so students can prepare by getting their parents’ tax info, and using it to fill out these FAFSA applications.

Most students would agree that these FAFSA nights being beneficial to their fellow graduates. Senior student Zach Tanner said, “I’m pretty sure everyone plans on graduating this year. [I want to go to] the U of U, they have a ‘bomb’ animation program.” Tanner plans on paying for college with “Grants and working hard, [as well as] Applying for a lot of scholarships.”

When asked about FAFSA application, Tanner stated “I plan on applying for FAFSA. I would feel like an idiot if I don’t.” When told about Utah’s low rate of application to the FAFSA program, he said “I felt like it was common sense, since it doesn’t take long to apply for one.” And he will definitely be staying away from student loans, stating passionately “My 48 year old uncle just barely finished paying off his student loans. It’s ridiculous.”

If students are unable to obtain FAFSAs, there are always scholarships available. But supplies of these scholarships are limited, and can lead to students assuming that they are not qualified for them, even if they are getting excellent grades at the moment.

Student loans aren’t just bad for the students, they are bad for the economy as well, according to Sam Frizzel of Time Magazine, who states “The cost of higher education is rising. Between the 2000-01 and the 2010-11 scholastic years, the cost of a two to four year degree rose 70%, from $10,820 to $18,497, according to data provided by the federal government’s Institute of Education Sciences.” In addition to this drastic rise in cost, “Delinquencies on student loan payments have increased drastically over the past decade: 11.5 percent of were at least 90 days late on paying back their loans at the end of 2013, compared to 6.2 percent delinquency rates in 2003.”

So not only are more people taking out student loans, but more are delinquent when it comes to paying them. This is leading to a form of economic destabilization; in which people are amassing debt, causing them to spend less, providing the economy less money, leading to these students having to take a mortgage out on their homes, leading to a severe drag on consumption for the economy. Most students will be paying for their student loans until they are around the age of forty, leading to them missing out on their youthful part of life due to lack of finances. And all of this could be avoided if students apply to scholarships and FAFSAs when they are in school.