As American students now cumulatively owe about $1 trillion in student loan debt, Yahoo is publishing first-person accounts from those who are still paying and those who have lessons to share. Here's one story.
FIRST PERSON | I am a 24-year-old Southern Connecticut State University graduate, and I finished my schooling in December 2011. I obtained a bachelor's degree in history, with a minor in German. I do not work in the history field at the moment, but have been accepted to begin my master's degree in Berlin, beginning in the fall of 2014. As a student who studied abroad, I cannot understand why schooling in America costs so much, when it can cost very little in parts of Europe.
Right now, I have a little more than $31,000 worth of student loans. My parents owe the other half, around $28,000. Each month, I pay a combined amount of approximately $254, based on my current income.
Students should be responsible for their loans; I pay on time every single month, and try to pay a bit more than the minimum. I chose to go to Southern because it is a state school, and I figured it would be a lot less money than going to a private university. While it was a bit less, it still amounts to almost $60,000 for four and a half years of school.
If I could go back and do it again, I would definitely have started with a community college and transferred after two years in order to save money. I took out student loans because that was the only way I could obtain a college degree. While I am proud of that degree, I do wish that I did not have such a high amount of debt, which will most likely take 20 years or so to pay off, depending on the job I can get afterward. Obtaining that degree will require even more loans, but it seems like the only way to get a job in the field that I have studied.
Student loan debt is a huge problem for America, and it has a negative impact on my life. I think that people who pay on time every month should accrue a lot less interest, as I will pay about $20,000 in interest by the time I am debt-free. I have not found a job that uses my degree, so it is hard not to be bothered by my unpaid loans -- if I am not using what I paid for.
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