As tuition fees continue to rise, college debt is also on the rise, but surprisingly college students don’t consider them as a burden.
According to FinAid.org, students graduating from college will have no less than $23,000 worth of debt after completing a degree. In a survey conducted by Sallie May, the student lending organization, in 2019, merely 17% students pay off credit debt. This means that almost every graduating senior has an average credit card debt of $4,138.
For most of us, just looking at the total amount of debt can be daunting. But for many students, they see debt the other way round. A study conducted at Ohio University noted that debt only make students feel “empowered.” The study was based on the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ database. It surveyed 3,079 students of which most of the respondents were in their mid-20s.
The findings show that the more loans a student has, the better the outlook they have in life. For students, debt has a reassuring effect in their sense of autonomy and increases their self-esteem. Quite interestingly, loans have positive effects on students and are not viewed in a negative way.
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The finding affirms previous studies that suggest that student loans are seen by students in a positive light. Student loan opens up opportunities for students so they represent something good. The study’s lead author and sociology professor at Ohio State, Rachel Dwyer, admits that it is not completely clear how debt can give positive reinforcement for students. According to her, perhaps students consider debts associated with education as worthy investments.
Furthermore, Dwyer also said that student credit-card debts are also seen as investments for the future. The majority of students use their credit cards for educational purposes such as buying books or purchasing some good clothes for school.
The study says that students consider debt as worthwhile investments for their future and a transition to adulthood.
But as students begin to realize the consequences of having debts, the glow slightly fades. The study noted that among graduates, aged 28 to 34, a majority have reported signs of stress over the money they owe. Perhaps by this time, students realize that payment is challenging and that their salary is not as grand as they previously thought.
According to Dwyer, the burden of repayment bites as soon as they start paying off their debt.
Although the students’ positive view on educational debt is generally good, there’s a need for caution, said the authors. Students may think that their future earnings are enough to cover their entire debt, thus their debt keeps on compounding. They may find therefore find themselves in a predicament where their expected salary is not enough to pay off their debts. This situation presents only one winner, and that is the lender.