Student loan debt, a terrifying gateway to a better life

April 4, 2016

Andrea Moeller
Special to the Scribe

Taylor Fabian summed up the problems he faces in 12 words.

“I’ve got 99 problems, and all of them are student loan debt,” said Fabian, a junior.

A recent study by Gallup explained that in America’s debt-filled economy, student loans are responsible for the highest levels of indebtedness across all generations.

While UCCS enrollment is at an all-time high, the majority of students, especially millennials, are buried under a growing mountain of personal debt.

For the average student, their loan debt accounts for an average between 36 and 57 percent of their total annual income.

“I was able to take out loans and go to UCCS for three years before I dropped out, even though it’s been a year and my loans have come out of deferment, I still don’t make enough to begin paying them off, which means that my debt total is steadily growing from interest” explained Nalani Dowell, a would-be senior at UCCS.

When you factor in all the costs of post-graduation living including rent, utilities and other luxuries like cable and internet, it’s no wonder that a majority of students post-graduation continue to defer their loans, ignoring the consequences of increased debt over time.

These increased levels of debt are also responsible for a higher reported credit card debt among many Americans to help supplement their income.

Most millennials complain that the average salary upon graduation is not enough to support a household and maintain a comfortable lifestyle, thus making them more likely to carry three times the amount of credit cards than older generations.

“I have to rely on my credit card in order to buy textbooks and groceries; if I didn’t have a credit card I wouldn’t have enough to make ends meet with my monthly salary from the school,” said Chris Roth, senior.

The rising costs of tuition due to diminishing state investments into postsecondary education is also a reason for an increase in student loans nationally.

While many media reports place the total balance of student loan debt at over the $1 trillion mark, the loan breakdown at UCCS is a lot less intimidating.

The average debt total for graduating students at UCCS is $25,860, while the national average sits at $27,850. This number is also better for students who are residents and receive in-state tuition.

Editor’s Note: As part of COMM 2900, Writing for the Media, students submitted articles that tied a Gallup poll to the local area. The best was selected for use in The Scribe and is printed here.