Student loan debt is like an STD

It’s hard to ignore the true value of a college degree in 2011. You are sunk without it but nothing special with it. 

Work hard, and you will almost certainly earn a diploma and a hole in your pocket. 

As jobs dwindle, tuition rates continue to increase. Meanwhile, the value behind a college degree has diminished, yet we all continue to file into classes to show our 
Hoosier spirit. Getting a degree used to be the light at the end of the tunnel, but today, the only promised possession is student debt and hopefully some lucky stars. Why do we do it? 

We have to. Unfortunately, the undergraduate degree has replaced the high school G.E.D. it just requires a wad of cash that would make a high school teacher’s apples drop.

In our under-performing economy, what is the answer to paying tuition when the merits of employment are not guaranteed? 

Student loans sound as appealing as the bread and butter you might as well start imagining as your future dinner for the rest of your life, if you choose to take the loans and somehow supply enough singles to pay them off. 

And let’s be real — the financial aid office is about as helpful and hospitable as a robotic voice message informing you for the 25th time that you are overdue on payments. 

The ravishing job market the recession has laid out for the “children of the future” has let us down, and the student default rate is going back up. 

The U.S. Department of Education released a report stating that the cohort default rate on students loans climbed to 8.8 percent in 2009 from 7 percent in the previous year, according to The Consumerist. More and more students are unable to pay their loans on time, and the drastic increase in accumulated student debt next to the decreasing value of an undergraduate degree has certainly caught college students’ attentions.

Loading up on loans might have been a student’s initial temporary sacrifice to seek financial success in the long run, but in the world where lacking a master’s or doctorate might mean no money at all, students have another reason to use that free counseling session at Counseling and Psychological Services.

It’s time to start from the bottom, take any side job you can get and build some lasting connections in the money-mad world, or invent the new Facebook.

Otherwise, our IU diplomas will be placed next to our middle school continuation certificates alongside a legacy of lasting debt.

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