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The Geyser

The Geyser

The Geyser

student debt

1.77 trillion dollars: that’s how much Americans alone owe in student loans today. The average student paying back money owes about $37,338. That’s not including interest, which can easily cause a person to pay thousands more than that.
The big companies like Sallie Mae that lend out money they refer to as “free money” target students graduating high school and looking at college. A young adult about 17 or 18, not even old enough to buy alcohol or a pack of cigarettes, is given the option to borrow thousands of dollars, sending them into an endless spiral of debt and financial instability.
Reid Lende, who teaches many classes at Park High, also teaches personal finance. The class is to teach students how to be financially literate, something many teens and even adults just aren’t. In Montana, these classes or related classes will soon be required. One thing the classes teach the students is about how to fund college for themselves, if they choose to go.
Lende believes that many students aren’t as educated on the subject as they should be. Many students look to financial aid when thinking about paying for college. According to Education Data Initiative, 71 percent of students who want to go to college consider some sort of financial aid. Which can mean multiple things, mostly it means grants, student loans, and scholarships.
Grants and Scholarships are two of the best ways to pay for college; these are both forms of money that one can earn to go to school that they don’t have to pay back. Student loans, on the other hand, have to be paid back and rarely ever will a student only pay back what they were loaned. CNBC says that the average American will pay about $5,994.07 in interest alone on a 10-year plan. The average American takes about 21 years to pay back their student loan debt. This grand amount of debt can be given to anyone “as long as they have a pulse,” says Lende.
The best way to avoid having to spend that heaping amount of money on debt is to cash flow college. Cash flow is a method of paying for college where the student never takes out any type of loan or debt. This method can be hard but it’s worth it to never go into debt. The best way to cash flow is to save as much money as possible by doing things like having part-time jobs during school and summer jobs, even taking a gap year if you are serious enough about it. The other part is to throw oneself far into the world of scholarships and grants. To do this, one must complete the FAFSA, the application for federal student aid. Filling it out shows you what grants you are eligible for and helps your scholarships. For Park High students wanting to know more information can be found in the guidance office.
If a student cashflows college and doesn’t take out any debt, all of that money is theirs. That’s all money that they can spend however they wish: they can buy things, save it, invest it, and watch it grow to earn money.

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Trinity Borquez
Park High student writing and taking pictures for the Geyser for the experience

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