Recently, students in a class taught by Classism Exposed contributor L.A. Kurth responded to an essay in Yes! magazine about the student loan debt and the feasibility of a debt strike.1 Their responses illustrate the loss of opportunity and potential we ensure by offering loans with interest as high as 20% instead of grants or work-study to pay for college.
What if a great student doesn’t want to end up in debt? Is he not going to go to college just to not be in debt? I guess so.
This happened to a friend of mine. He went to the same high school as me, and he was a great student. He said he wanted to go to a local four-year university after he graduates. He saw that he had to pay around $7,000 [a year] and he decided not to go. I remember him saying, “The only way I can go is if I get a student loan, but nah, I’d rather not go to not get in debt.”
I also have a cousin that had the same problem. He was going to go to a local community college and then transfer somewhere else. He had to pay $1,000 to get in, and I remember him saying, “Damn, I gotta pay a lot to get in a community college. Imagine how much it would cost when I transfer.” And I don’t want to get a loan ‘cuz I’ma[sic] have to pay all that money back.”
I think it’s really sad how many great students can’t go to college because of fearing to be in debt.