Every year close to 2 million young adults enroll in and end up attending college in the U.S according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Most of these students will rack up a college debt close to $30,000 according to USA Today. However, there are many students who will have debts that add up $60,000 or more. Are these debts worth it? Are these debts avoidable?
These debts will set recent college grads back quite a bit due to having to pay a certain amount of their paycheck every month to pay off their debt, which accrues interest, and the grads end up basically only paying off the interest each month. These payments end up taking away from their lives which is ridiculous. The money used to pay off the debt could be used to buy a new car, open a business, buy a house or start a family. But, the debt acts like a shackle; holding the grad down and being ever present for decades. A change is needed. Many students are becoming increasingly discouraged about going to college because of the debt. I know this because I and many friends of mine feel the same way. This discouragement will eventually lead to a shortage of qualified professionals in many fields which is unacceptable. As Haydn Huard -a senior at GHS- says, “Education has turned into a monopoly, which is very sad”.
These debts however can be considered worth it. The debts can open up doors in the professional world that would otherwise be closed if you had not attended college. These doors can lead to jobs or dream careers only available if you had gone to college which makes the debt worth it. College debt can be beneficial in the end though it has its downsides. Many jobs are relying less and less on what degree you have and more on your experience. This is awful for someone who accrues college debt to earn a degree in for example: biology, but is beat out of the job by someone with a history degree.
These debts can be avoided though by either gaining an ROTC scholarship, participating in the G.I Bill, gaining an athletic scholarship, attending college in Europe where college is either free or greatly reduced, getting a merit scholarship, etc. There are many ways to not accrue college debt. Many feel pressured -including me- into pursuing the traditional college experience right out of high school and are told not to worry about the cost. This practice is so wrong and needs to change. Many high school seniors feel they will let down their family or be behind their peers if they do not immediately attend a four year college and choose another path. There needs to be less pressure on high school seniors to take the traditional path.
Less traditional paths that are becoming ever more popular among young adults include paths such as trade school, where you can go learn a trade where there’s good money due to the ever growing need for trade trained professionals because of the lack of people pursuing this career path in previous years. Another less traveled path would include community college. Community college provides a cost effective way to get your general education classes out of the way where you can then transition to a 4 year college to get your bachelors’ degree at an overall cheaper cost than if you had attended a 4 year college. These are only some of the many options available to young adults which are cost effective and growing ever popular.
I’m glad I came to the realization that I will not be lesser or behind by not attending a four year college and gaining thousands in debt or traveling down any other path. After this realization, it felt as though a big weight had been lifted from me and I am happier for it. I hope you can come to a realization of some sort to feel less pressured to take a certain path in life.