Sample Story

This story is an Op-Ed article written for my Writing for journalism class freshman year. I decided to write a piece on student debt because it is something that I can relate to being a college student that has had to take out loans to pay for my education.

The Sad Truth About Financial Aid

During my senior year in high school, I had a plan. A plan to go to college and become something great doing something I love, which is writing. I knew that college would be costly, coming from a single-parent household with a sibling money has always been an issue. I was prepared to take on responsibly and financially try my best to afford college on my own. I always thought that financial aid and scholarships would take up the jest of my tuition, but boy was I wrong. I graduated top of class, took the appropriate AP courses, was involved in all the right activities and clubs, even with my family background, I thought I would get plenty of money.

That’s when the ugly truth hit me straight in the face. I may have accomplished so many great things in high school, but there are so many students like me and not enough money to go around.

After reviewing my financial aid and scholarship information not even half of my just about $40,000.00 a year tuition was covered and college seemed to be out of my reach. Unwillingly, I found myself taking private loans out of banks to pay for the rest of my tuition after trying to contact my school and explain my dilemma to them through phone call and letter to no avail.

As I stated before there are so many students like myself, in the same situation. Unfortunately, the system of financial aid has so many barriers that are completely hard or out of reach for most to obtain more aid for school.

I have not been dependent on my mom for just about all of my years of high school. I have had my own job and resided with my Grandmother but in order for it to be recognized by them I have to have specific court documents. To even be considered an independent you have to married, emancipated, or have a child. Things I had no knowledge about until going through the process of trying to receive financial aid.

The utter sad truth is, students just like me are forced to borrow ridiculous amounts of money that we will probably not make back within years of graduating college, and here is the catch interest is being added to these loans every month so we will owe back more than we initially borrowed.

As messed up as that sounds, colleges really could care less as long as your bill is getting paid every semester. The interesting thing is, colleges warn you that you should not take private loans out when you visit the financial advisors but little to nothing is being done so that students will not have to make these kind of decisions.

There needs to be some sort of reform. Yes, during the time of every presidential election the topic of student loans and financial aid comes up. Now that I am actually having to take advantage of these things I see nothing at all has been done to make the systems better.

According to http://www.projectonstudentdebt.org, “Two-thirds of college seniors who graduated in 2011 had student loan debt, with an average of $26,600 per borrower. Meanwhile, unemployment for young college graduates remained high at 8.8 percent in 2011.”

As tuition rises yearly and good paying jobs become harder to obtain, I can’t even imagine how much worse will become.

It’s sad that we are forced to mess up our credit before we even really have any with these loans. In Pennsylvania alone the average students is within about $30,000.00 of debt according to http://www.money.cnn.com. Debt that is expected to begin coming out of your paycheck within 6 months of graduating from college.

And as the years go by it seems that this widely talked about issue is pushed under the rug and not dealt with accordingly. The U.S. economy is so fucked up, that money for students is at a minimum and even the best of the best are struggling to get money they deserve to obtain a higher education.

Propublica.org recently posted a story written by Marian Wang that says, “Outstanding student loan debt surpassed credit card debt, with one government estimate pegging total student loan debt at more than $1 trillion.”

These outrageous numbers have been ignored. Many politicians have “talked the talked” but have not come up with a remedy to this issue.

With many countries that offer free college education existing today, many would wonder why America is so behind.

If this continues there will be growing numbers of poverty and welfare. Rather than helping students they will become a part of a system that is damaging the future of our economy all together.

Something needs to be done.

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