Millennials Are Drowning In a Sea of Student Debt

Millennials Are Drowning In a Sea of Student Debt

The constant student loan debt is making it hard for millennials to stay afloat in today's world

I am a Sophomore in college and as of right now I am $23,653.49 in debt. The average college student in 2016 will graduate with a debt of $37,172 according to Student Loan Hero. This number has gone up by 6% in the last year.

Now it is believed that with a degree it will be easier to find a job, which in turn means it will be easier to pay off student loans. According to Credible, a recent grad should put 10-20% of their paycheck towards student loans. The average student loan monthly payment is $351 and the average salary for a recent grad in 2016 is $50,556. But most recent college grads will end up working a job where their salary is $10 an hour, meaning that they will earn a yearly salary of $20,800 a year.

To a lot of Millennials, it seems easy enough to pay off loans as long as you find a job. But for the average college grad, it takes 3 to 9 months to find a job. The average college grad then has to calculate in apartment or home payments, paying for groceries and insurance and then any other payments that may need to be made, such as credit card debt. The average rent in New York City is $2000 a month, so $24,000 a year. The average car insurance is $815, according to The Simple Dollar. The average health insurance is $286 per month, and the average grocery bill for one is $294.80 a month.

With all these payments, it is not a surprise that it normally takes the average grad with a bachelor's degree over 21 years to pay off their student loans. Even though most student loan repayment plans say a borrower should be able to pay off their student loans in ten years, the numbers show that it takes over 21 years to pay off student debt.

Forty years ago, according to National Center for Educational Statistics, tuition, room and board at a four-year institute was $2,577. In 2016 at SUNY Potsdam, tuition, room and board is a total $18,725 a year. In forty years, the cost of college has skyrocketed, causing more student loans to be taken out. I personally took out two Sallie Mae loans freshman year-- one per semester. I then took out two unsubsidized loans to pay for the rest of my bill each semester. Now that I am in my third semester, I have taken out a total of three Sallie Mae loans and I took out another unsubsidized and a subsidized loan.

Millennials get a lot of attention in the media for our different outlooks on things and our "inability" to own a home and get useful degrees. Millennials are also known for supposedly being "lazy". This idea of us being lazy is caused by the fact that we cannot afford to pay for anything, which is caused by the increase in the need for student loans and how long it takes for us to find a job and then pay off the loans.

I believe that in order to fix this, jobs need to be more accessible to recent grads and the loan companies need to be more willing to help the students who are trying to pay off their loans. Asking for colleges to decrease the tuition, room, and board may cause some colleges to have to cut back on their programs and faculty which will not benefit either the student or the job market. However, I believe that more companies and businesses need to be more opened to hiring recent grads rather than telling them to get more experience and then come back for the job. Student loan companies also need to be more understanding of all the other payments that have to be made as well as the monthly payment to the loan companies.

Millennials are drowning and no matter how many life preservers you throw in, the constant weight from the student loans will cause them to continue to keep drowning. The only way to really assure that they stay afloat is to help decrease the student loan debt that is plaguing all college students and recent grads.

Cover Image Credit: Pitt Business Review

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Why Commuting An Hour Is A GOOD Thing

Everyone says I'm crazy but I'm not only saving money I'm teaching myself something.


I am a transfer student at Uconn in my junior year. I started at a private school that I thought would be my pathway but instead, it drained my finances leaving me 65,000 in debt over a span of only four semesters. On top of the finances, I was unhappy in my environment and realized that there wasn't even a program for what I wanted to do with my life. I was a communications major who wanted to be a journalist and at that school there just wasn't a place for my passion. This is one of the many things that led me to realize I actually love being at home with my family as crazy as that may sound to some. This is when I had come to the conclusion that commuting was the right choice.

I live in New Haven County leaving me with an hour commute every morning. Unlike many, I do not have any problem with it because first and foremost I'm saving a lot of money in student loan debt. Another reason is that I think it will help me to become a flexible employee in the future. This will also give me an opportunity to gain more driving experience and become more independent. Now, you must be thinking I'm completely crazy. I swear my hearts in the right place and I'm not being naive. I know it won't always be an easy thing to be doing but for me, it will be so worth it in the long run.

Room and board is a hefty price to pay, especially when you're like me and you don't like all the partying and loudness of a dorm life. When I was living away from home I was constantly missing my own bed and just the vibe of being home. I'm overall happier when I'm home and surrounded by people who care about me. The whole college experience doesn't have to be living in a dorm or joining a sorority. Sometimes it's just making friends and studying what you love. For me, college is my time to study and figure out how to use my passion as a full-fledged career. I love the vibes of a college campus and walking around seeing both people you see every day and maybe haven't seen a day in your life, but I like the idea of going home in my own bed afterward.

The other point I wanted to bring to attention is that doing this "Crazy" thing is going to give me so much emotional and physical growth. If you think about it, you don't always get lucky with a job 20-30 minutes away from home. Sometimes its a 45-60 minute commute for your desired job. Would you decline your dream job if it meant a commute over an hour? I know I wouldn't. Learning how to cope with a long commute now will help prepare me for what I might need to do for my career in the future. Commuting to school also forces me to start my day early and increase my daily productivity. Since I've only been driving around a year this experience will help me become a better driver and help me drive more confidently! In the end, for me commuting an hour has way more pros than cons. I'm going to the school that has everything I could ask for and I will love it just as much as an on-campus student does.

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