Fighting Back Against Student Debt
Education is a crucial stepping stone towards your future aspirations. Yet what should be of great help to individuals instead has become a burden on many. Due to the importance parents, employers, and students themselves have placed on post-secondary schooling, it is a necessity that people often struggle to obtain. This is far from an isolated problem. In 2015, the amount of total outstanding student loan debt in the United States reached $1.2 trillion amongst 40 million students, meaning each graduate carried an average debt of $29,000.
Stepping out from college or university with this enormous weight on one’s head has led to setbacks and postponements. Although research shows that graduates typically fare much better economically than those who do not attend college or university, those who are still paying off their debt delay major purchases such as a car or home. They often take longer to have children due to the financial strain. This places a young, aspiring graduate in a disadvantageous situation at the very early stages of their career. Promotions will not come for years, and in turn the aforementioned life milestones happen later than one may expect and desire. People are also less likely to pursue entrepreneurial efforts, and fewer small businesses can damage the entire economy.
Given all these negative consequences, you will want to mitigate the burden and find ways to eliminate that debt altogether. Working while in school can allow for additional income, and part-time or online jobs may be very helpful in chipping away at your debt. Watching your spending is also important. Restrict yourself to eating out only a certain number of times per month, be willing to rent a smaller place to live than you might have intended, and keep track of all your expenses via a spreadsheet each month. All of this might not be enough to overcome your debt, and further action may be required.
It is important to know which type of loan you have, whether it be national, provincial, or private. This will allow you to contact the right organization for assistance. In Ontario, those who owe a debt through the Ontario Student Assistance Program can apply for financial relief. You will not have to pay until your income reaches a certain level. The National Student Loans Service Centre has programs to help struggling individuals. Options include term revision and a two-stage repayment assistance plan that can ease the burden. These choices, coupled with wise spending and saving, can lead to freedom from debt.
Gaining an education should not be seen as a negative. That credential, and the knowledge and skills it has bestowed upon you, should be a stepping stone to bigger and better things. By knowing how to tackle your student debt, you can ensure that you utilize your schooling to live the life you deserve.
Gorman, Ryan. How student-loan debt is dragging down the economy. Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/3-charts-explain-the-effect-of-student-loans-on-the-economy-2015-5
Holland, Kelley. The high economic and social cost of student loan debt. CNBC. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/15/the-high-economic-and-social-costs-of-student-loan-debt.html
myMoneyCoach. Student Loan Repayment Assistance & Forgiveness Options in Canada. http://www.mymoneycoach.ca/budgeting/student-budgeting/national-student-loan-repayment-assistance