Student Loans in a Rough Economy

In today’s harsh economy, student loans are a burden that most middle class Americans must bear in addition to other obligations. They are a nagging, consistent hole in which most of us have to sink a few hundred dollars per month for years on end. Recently, the costs have become so burdensome that some are riding the coattails of recent Wall Street protests and calling for a complete subsidization or removal of all student loan debt to help spur on the economy. Of course, this is an absurd request for most logical minds. We all voluntarily read and happily signed documents knowing full-well what the terms were when we began college. It does, however, exemplify the pains being felt by many Americans in this turbulent economy.

In Texas, a November 8, 2011 ballot initiative will ask voters if they are willing to let the state of Texas to issue bonds to finance student loan programs. Of course, this isn’t a new tax, as officials are quick to point out, but simply the offering of bonds that citizens can purchase that will feed money into an aching academic loan program. With grant money increasingly tightening, the state has shown a need for money to keep these programs alive. Other states will likely follow.

A recent look into student loan defaults in Ohio showed dismal results. More and more students are defaulting on their loans, which is another reflection of the tepid economy. Ohio went from being ranked only 33 in student loan defaults in 2008, to ranking 28 in 2009 and 18 in 2010. The national student loan default rate is 8.8 percent. One tech school in Ohio had a 22 percent default rate. These are alarming numbers indeed. A representative of Franklin University stated that those who are most likely to default on their loans are those who quit school early. So making sure one is at a school that fits well and in a program that can be reasonably completed is critical.

Some people turn to bad credit loans to try to educate themselves and get a better paying job. These loans can occasionally render the individual even further in debt, particularly if the student quits before graduation. Of course, if the student can finish school and actually acquire a new, better-paying job, then a loan can actually help rebuild credit. Typically most subsidized lenders are very willing to work with people, and if a borrower has issues repaying the loan they can get into a deferment or forbearance plan that will protect the borrower’s credit.

In conclusion, new students should carefully read and seriously consider all terms when signing a loan contract. Students should also be sure that the school that they are attending is right for them, and they should ensure that they have a realistic chance of completing their course of study. Finishing college, whether two-year or four-year college or otherwise, is critical. Finishing school and landing that dream job can greatly ease the pain of nagging student loan payments.

Christine and Jason are former students who still bear the burden of student loan payments. They contribute to a student loan forbearance site. Check out their site on Student Loan Deferment.

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