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.