I feel like I’ve been asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” countless times. But I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve been asked “how are you going to pay for that degree?”. My parents didn’t grow up in America and don’t have crippling student loan debt. Wait actually, that last part would only be relevant to this conversation if my parents had gone to college in America before the 70s. Because you see, there was a time not that long ago when one could actually afford to go to college without taking out large sums of student loans.
This isn’t a new buzzword or a discussion topic. In fact, student loan debt has been debated in the past three presidential elections. It’s still a hot topic in the upcoming 2020 election. So if you find yourself reading this and not being able to relate to the chain of events triggered by student loan debt, read on.
I was once a naive college student who thought “well no one told you to go to expensive schools or not apply to scholarships”. This was simply my inability to be empathetic towards others and realize that the way my life turned out, is not in any way, shape or form similar to others. After going through college and continuing to graduate school, I’ve come to learn the importance of an education. I’ve come to understand that an education is a great neutralizer between different socioeconomic groups. Most importantly, I’ve come to believe that access to higher education should be accessible and affordable to everyone.
You can argue that colleges and universities have bills to pay as well. To which I agree, but at a 6% interest rate? By the time I pay back my 72k student loan debt over ten years, I would have also paid an additional $23,921.71 in interest. Who even gets that money? The school? A scholarship recipient???
When I did ask other pharmacist further along in their careers how they handled their student loan debt, I got mixed reviews. Some advised that I pay them off right away to avoid overpaying in interest. Other advised in the student loan forgiveness (yeah, the one where only 1% got approved and the other 99% had their loans triple in interest). And lastly some told me, I’ll figure it out. So here’s to figuring it out and abandoning the capsized loan forgiveness boat I’ve been on for the past three years. Turns out, I didn’t read the fine print and thought I was being smart by at least paying the monthly interest on my loans. Turns out, paying ahead disqualifies you from loan forgiveness.
Those first few years out of college are about discovery and finding your place in the “real world”. But for many with student loan debt, its has become an anxiety triggering moment when you realize just how much money you are actually left with after you send that monthly student loan payment.
Can I claim my student loan debt as a dependent?-asking for a friend