New Slaves: there’s a high price on education

Yesterday ended with me sitting on the ground in the fetal position trying desperately to retain my sanity. I realized something so depressing and infuriating about my life that I had been avoiding for the past couple of months. I finally came to terms with the fact that Fedloan owns my ass, possibly for the next decade of my life.

I was getting my finances in order and making a schedule for my bills that I have to pay monthly, which includes my federal loans. For anyone who doesn’t know much about the fed loan system, you have a certain amount of time that you do not have to pay them back after graduate. My time is up and the federal government is about to hone in on my life with a vengeance.

You may be thinking, “why are you complaining, didn’t you know that you’d have to pay this money back?” The answer is yes. I’ve known all along the amount of money that I took out in student loans and the fact that I would have to pay it all back. Until now I was coping with it. I told myself that although I would have to sacrifice some things that I could manage the debt, after all almost every one of my professors and peers would have student debt or were dealing with it already. After all, student debt is the new normal in America nearly everyone who chooses to embark in higher education will accrue debt.

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Photo credit: Mervin Geronimo https://flic.kr/p/DcXsG

But in one moment the gravity of my student debt weighed down on me and I spun into a violent fit of anger and frustration. The kicker isn’t the amount that you have to pay back. It’s the interest rate. I will have to pay back around 30% interest if I have to pay them back within the suggested time line.

Our government charges us an exorbitant amount of interest on student loans. As if what we have to pay back isn’t enough. How do you focus on starting your life as a professional and meet all of the requirements that you need to be self-sufficient while paying back these loans.
Oh and in case you’re wondering there is no way to pardon your student debt under bankruptcy either. They’ll hunt you down for this money until the day that you die.

One of the craziest things is that I don’t have nearly as much debt as a lot of my friends do. Many of them will be paying back their loans for the next 20-30 years.

When you are in school, and thriving under the wings of your university you just don’t understand how difficult it will be to pay the loans back. It’s like you’re living in a state of blissful denial. Many people told me how hard it would be but I wasn’t able to put it into perspective until now. There has to be a better way than this, than putting an unreasonable price on education. Our government isn’t trying to help the masses thrive, they are enslaving us.

The hardest thing to swallow is that I walked right into this. Countless numbers of students from my generation have let our thirst for knowledge and education lead us right into the shackles of the fed loan system. I’ve got to give it up to the US government. We’ve knowingly become their slaves. For anyone who is about to enter into university in the US let me put it into perspective for you. If you let yourself get in too deep with student loans the US government will own your ass, soul, and paycheck.

Even though I am speaking for my own generation, I shudder to think how expensive higher education is going to be for the next generation. Every year that I was in school the tuition costs continued to rise higher and higher.

I hope that these policies on interest and rising university costs will change in the future, but I’m honestly not too optimistic about it. Education shouldn’t be treated like a cash cow. Institutions of higher education should be seen as mediums of enlightenment instead of another hand to feed capitalism.

Thousands of dollars in debt isn’t how I pictured starting my adult life but I guess I’ll get through it. What other choice do I have?

6 comments

  1. Thanks for writing on this, Lauren. I absolutely agree. It’s damn ridiculous that education comes at such a high price for people with less resources. Knowledge should be public, accessible, and free-flowing—NOT controlled by an elite group of gatekeepers. I loved academia, but the system is broken. Although I can’t wait to go to grad school for the environment and opportunities, I am nauseous just thinking about the potential costs…

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    • Thanks for reading Julie! We are definitely on the same page. I was actually supposed to enter graduate school immediately after graduation. I got into my #1 program, but unfortunately my funding didn’t work out and the costs were too large to cover on my own.
      No I’m looking for a program that offers more funding options but there’s just so little funding compared to the amount of students that are competing for it. These universities will offer one or two awards and have hundreds of applicants which is completely insane.

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  2. You took the words right out of my mouth. Dare I say this… I regret going to college. I feel like it’s a part of the American dream but now with the exuberant amount of graduates who are unemployed or who are making minimum wage in conjunction with the massive amounts of students loans these graduates have (myself included), it just doesn’t seem worth it.

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    • I’m glad that you were able to relate to my post Kaily. There are so many of us out there who feel the same way. I can only hope that our government hears our voices because there policies are criminal.
      It’s an honest shame that you are driven to regret your education. It shouldn’t be the case for you or anyone else.
      I believe in education but this path is so destructive.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh don’t get me wrong I believe in education. I also believe that it should be free. If we are after a productive society on par with the reset of the educated world, our government needs to give people a reason to be educated. I would happily attend college for free even if it meant a minimum wage job. What I can’t bear to see is all the graduates out there with 60+ thousand in loans and the same path.

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    • I concur! Hopefully if more citizens make their thoughts known then we can change things. Just like you said we should all have this opportunity for free. Knowledge shouldn’t be held for only a select group of people. Or come with such negative consequences on our lives after school.

      Liked by 1 person

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