According to Forbes, college students will face the highest student loan debt ever in 2019.
“There are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone,” Forbes reported on its website.
The outlet claims that student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt category in the United States. Student loans fall behind mortgage debt and surpass both credit card and auto loans, according to Forbes.
Student Government President Rishi Shah said that during his time as treasurer, he advocated for better transperency and lower tuition rates. He claimed that he was invited to the University Budget Committee meeting and realized that as a private institution we’re not increasing our tuition higher than other private institutions.
“We were right at the mid tier of tuition and it gave our university the perfect argument to continue its increases,” Rishi said. “I quickly realized that this was a national issue that we must address as a collective force.”
During the 2017-2018 school year, the increase that was proposed from the University Budget Committee was 3.3 percent, .2 percent higher than the national average. However, according to Shah, the Finance Committee, which oversees the Budget Committee, refused this proposal and hiked the rates to 3.9 percent.
“This is exactly why I advocate for a student seat on the Board of Regents and to have better representation where it truly matters,” Shah said.
Shah explained how Seton Hall can lower tuition by phasing out the Mobile Computing Program. This program costs each student $675 per semester.
“We also need to take a look at the parking fees, especially for our students who need to purchase a pass for the South Orange campus and the Nutley IHS campus,” Shah said. “It is completely unfair that we have students driving to another campus to take their courses and pay hundreds of extra dollars a semester to buy two different passes. We need to remedy this and create a fair pricing structure for all students.”
Senior mathematical finance major Jake Underkofler claimed that although student debt adds a burden on university students, it motivates them to maintain a thorough work ethic.
“Student debt is one of those things that everyone is concerned about, but in most cases debt is a good motivator to work hard because you have to pay it off,” Underkofler said. “Granted, hundreds of thousands of dollars is a ridiculous amount, but Seton Hall does offer scholarships and financial aid so personally it has not taken a personal toll on me.”
Social and behavioral science major Maylin Rivera said student loans discourage students from engaging in experiences outside the classroom.
Moreover, Rivera stated that student loan debt hinders personal fulfillment and presents a misleadingly small burden, which will later appear as a significant load.
“I think student debt takes a toll on happiness,” Rivera said. “It seems like a future issue to deal with but, it’s a burden as soon as you take out your first loan. Sometimes it causes me to decline certain experiences that may be a little costly.
Rivera expressed apprehension about graduation as it signifies the beginning of repaying her loans. She also conveyed frustration regarding her need to pay for classes that do not focus on her major Rivera said, “I look forward to graduation, but I feel as though that joy will be negated by the reminder of how much money I have to worry about paying back.”
Thomas Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.