Interest troubles with student loans
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
For those who don’t have benevolent benefactors backing them, post-secondary education can add up to quite a pretty penny. The prospect of taking on a soul-crushing loan isn’t a happy one, nor is the thought of attempting to maintain steady work on a full-time school schedule. Fortunately, the government and their student loan godsend have got your back on this one. Or do they?
While it’s all rainbows and butterflies during your studies, the aftermath of college/university can be a wholly different tale. Of course, it’s no real surprise that the government only truly takes an interest in you when it comes to paying them back. Apparently the knowledge that, because of their contribution, a young adult is now equipped with the tools to succeed in this world is not enough for our magnanimous loan shark. As soon as you’re out the door with that goofy grad cap perched atop your head, the so-called “grace period” begins. But this grace period isn’t quite as gracious as one would like it to be. While you don’t have to pay for six months, you do get to watch a pile of interest build up.
The current structure of a student loan makes about as much sense as the origins of Scientology. But I digress.
The point of student loans, or at least the supposed point of them, is to provide financial aid to students so that they can study, attain new skills, and then go forth and get a job related to their post-secondary education. However, in this increasingly difficult economy, the threat of getting buried under a heap of debt can be a terrifying reality. Many students don’t find employment immediately following graduation, and can fall into dead-end jobs completely unrelated to their desired field. Tack on the cost of living (rent, food, clothing, etc) to the growing loan payment (a $27,000 degree can rack up $8,000 in interest), and it’s easy to see why so many become stuck in these minimum-wage positions. With no time to actively pursue a career in their chosen profession, they may find that degree on the wall becomes nothing more than a very expensive piece of paper.
And if the thought of an underwhelming job isn’t bad enough, just getting that job isn’t a guarantee. In Canada, the jobless rate is sitting at 14.7 per cent for those between the ages of 15 and 24. While this number is a fraction of Greece’s (51.1 per cent), it is nonetheless a disturbingly high figure.
So, am I blaming the interest on student loans for the demise of many once-promising careers? Not entirely, but it certainly is a contributing factor. And while there are many things we just have to live with in this world, low interest on a student loan shouldn’t be one of them. Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island already figured it out; it’s about time the rest of the country followed suit.