By Alexa Sadowski, Sports Editor
Paying for college is an extreme stressor for parents and students alike. According to the College Board, the average total cost of a private non-profit four-year university during the 1988-1989 school year was approximately $24,800 (in 2018 dollar value). This price is dramatically different from the average total cost of this type of university in the 2018-2019 school year, which is $48,510.
With this 20-year price jump of nearly $24,000, most families cannot afford college without the help of financial aid or student loans. While need-based financial aid is an excellent opportunity for students looking to go to college and gives some families the help they need to pay for expensive schooling, it is not a perfect system for all. Sometimes, a family’s economic status on paper does not completely show what the family is able to pay due to other circumstances that may be present. Regardless of the help financial aid can give, the price of college is still detrimental to a family’s bank account. This is where student loans can help.
A study by The Atlantic determined that nearly 70 percent of colleges in the United States are unaffordable to Americans, but with student loans, the upfront cost of education can be subsidized. Federal student loans have interest, and each year a student’s loan is given a new interest rate set by the government. While these federal loans may seem daunting, the government will pay the interest of the student’s loan for his or her time in college and in what’s called a “grace period” after.
Another option is private student loans, which may have lower interest rates; however, a student could be required to pay while still attending college, which federal student loans don’t require.
Loans, both federal and private, are also helpful outside of allowing students to afford college who may not have otherwise been able to do so. Student loans also teach students about money and finances. Loans give students the opportunity to take ownership of their finances because they have to learn to manage cash flow under changing circumstances.
A report by Complete College America showed that only 50 percent of full-time students at public colleges graduate in four years. Many students either stay in college for extra years to complete their degree or don’t finish their degree. By taking out student loans, students are motivated to work hard to finish their degree in four years in order to keep the expenses to a minimum.
If students are responsible about their student loans by working hard to get their degree in the shortest time possible, having a job in college and finding one after, and being responsible about their finances, then student loans are helpful tools for their college careers.