The Need for Affordable Education
Both Tim Steinbach, a business major, and Kaylynn Hoffman, a special education major, are third year students at SVSU who share a similar problem: they have student debt.
But this is not where their similarities end.
Both Steinbach and Hoffman worked around 40 hours a week over the summer. They have parents who helped aid them in funding for college. They currently have jobs now, and also received a scholarship that went towards their tuition. Steinbach and Hoffman both live on campus, feeling that it is the easiest option for their involvements and on-campus employment opportunities.
The question remains, however, as to why they are still in debt despite all of their hard work and help at paying it off.
They are not the only ones who have to deal with taking out loans, and they are not the only ones who realize that they eventually have to pay it off. Many SVSU students have the burden of student loans despite their best efforts to pay for the expenses of college.
Hoffman is around $10,000 in debt this year.
“School is expensive, and I don’t make enough even to cover all of the costs working 40 hours a whole summer,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman’s parents both have jobs and make too much to get enough financial aid, and therefore, loans are her only option if she wants to continue her education.
“It’s really upsetting, because I know I’m going to graduate and I’m going to owe lots of money, and it feels like money rules our lives,” Hoffman said.
The education system is flawed nowadays, and many students are feeling the struggle of living in a nation where even working full-time every summer is not enough to pay for the school year, let alone all four or five years of it.
“How is it so expensive? I get that the university has be maintained, and they have to pay teachers and for the places we live, but it’s so expensive, and I don’t understand why,” Hoffman said.
SVSU is definitely not the only university with this issue. Every university nationwide is seeing students have to take out more and more loans, and therefore, many more students are going into debt. It’s a crisis, but what many people forget is that the crisis not only affects the nation, but also the individual student as well.
Ryan Schroeder is a 4th year student who is also in student debt. He’s not as worried personally about it because he believes that it is simply a way of life now.
“The way I feel about student debt is that, with SVSU it’s not such a huge deal, I do sympathize with students going to UofM or MSU or these big schools where they will by thousands of dollars in debt. People will have massive weights on their shoulders for so long,” Schroeder said.
But the issue continues getting worse each year. Even if it is a way of life, a change must be made or the individuals themselves will feel that weight increase until it is unbearable.
“Affordable education is a necessity right now. If we’re looking to vote for any elected office, we should be looking at somebody who puts education as a priority,” Schroeder said.
Twenty years ago, an individual could work all summer and pay off their higher education expenses without an issue. Degrees were not necessary to have a job that could sustain an individual, or even a family, but today, people are told they will need a degree in order to have a good job. But sometimes, the debt gets in the way of what the individual truly wants to do with their life.
“My ultimate goal is a be a pastor, so I can’t really have debt and be a pastor, so I have to put being a pastor on hold until my debt is paid off,” Steinbach said.
Steinbach not only had to pay for classes, but also had to pay for books, which are also very expensive. He believes that the three hundred or more dollars he had to pay for books would be better used towards tuition, and wished that books weren’t as expensive.
“I’m sure there is a better way to do it, I just don’t know how,” Steinbach said. “It just feels like a way of life now.”