Editorial: Managing our debt or marrying rich

Many people make jokes about “poor college students” who can’t pay for anything, but student debt is no joke.
Nationally, student debt has become a huge issue over the past few years. The total amount of college loans has tripled and continues to soar, as reported by the New York Federal Reserve.
Rider students know firsthand that student loans play an important role when it comes to getting a higher education.
A study by the Project on Student Debt, a branch of the Institute for College Access and Success, found that Rider students who graduated in 2011 had an average debt of $35,449, and approximately 72% of students who graduated that year had some sort of debt.
Since college is so essential for getting that high-paying job, we students looking to take out a loan should become informed consumers and understand all aspects of our commitment, suggests Jamie O’Hara, vice president of enrollment management at Rider.
Federal loans are what most students take out since these loans have fixed interest rates and can have payment plans that are income-based.
It’s great that federal lenders are able to work with students and the financial situation that we are in after college to make sure that we all can slowly but surely pay the full loan back. Unfortunately, with the large loans that some of us have to take out just so we can graduate, it could take years to pay everything back.
While it’s such a shame that students have to go through all of this just so we can get an education, O’Hara advises students to first educate themselves about the possibilities and the dangers of taking out a loan.
Students should create a budget and keep track of all personal and unnecessary costs. We should keep track of our information, such as total debt, interest rates and payback options.
After graduation, we’re likely to start taking on more financial responsibilities, such as renting or purchasing our own places, buying cars, going on trips and starting families. Now add on paying off our school loans — that could be a heavy cost load.
Before taking out any loan, we as students should make sure that we will be able to pay it off and stay financially stable. By learning about these loans before they’re taken out, we will know what we’re getting ourselves into.
Finaid.org states that two-thirds of all undergraduates at four-year colleges take out loans at some point for their college education. So we’re not alone swimming in pools of debt. But we’re doing so while there’s no lifeguard on duty.
The decisions we’re making now do not just affect us. There’s a good chance that they will affect our parents, our spouses and our families in the future.
The only other option we can think of is maybe to marry a celebrity, a New York Yankee or someone with an insane trust fund. And that’s not the degree we signed up for.
The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by Assistant Opinion Editor Danielle Gittleman

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