In the Interest of Interest
In the fourth quarter of last year the student loan debt in the United States officially hit 1.5 trillion dollars .
Many students are faced with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.
Over 16-million students in the U.S. under the age of thirty owe money. The crisis has grown out of control in the last twenty years with a growth rate of 129% since 2008.
Zachariah Simmons, a former student of the University of North Texas has resigned himself to repaying loans for the foreseeable future.
“It seems infinite to me,” Simmons said. “It’s just an asterisk I’ve put on my life that’s just going to be there until I’m done.”
Zachariah’s situation is one that many students face. Over 48-million students owe money to lenders.
One common thing among students is their fear of looking at how much debt they have gotten themselves into.
Hunter Logan, a junior at UNT, says he is afraid to see what he will owe.
When I graduate, I will be graduating with student loans” Logan said. “I don’t know how much I will be in, I am kind of afraid to see that.”
This lack of self-education, partnered with predatory practices by loan originators can be troublesome for students.
Simmons says that after poor performance in his first year at school, the hidden costs of unsubsidized student loans posed an issue.
“I hadn’t done very well so there were no scholarships available and there were not a lot of grants that I was getting,” Simmons said. “I was going to get unsubsidized loans. So I have several unsibsidized loans that have fluctuating interests rates that they can do whatever they want with.”
Zachariah’s story isn’t uncommon, a 2016 report by Consumer Report National Research Service Center says that 38% percent of students surveyed who received loans didn’t graduate.
Additionally, 69 percent have trouble paying their loans and 43 percent didn’t get help from their parents on making their financial decisions.
Simmons’ feelings are ones that many students have dealt with, the fear of being on their own and the lack of knowledge required for a 20-year financial commitment.
“I know for me specifically whenever i was younger it was terrifying to think about things like that. To actually go in and ask questions was horrifying,” Simmons said. “I didn’t actually have my parents around, I didnt have anyone to protect me or so I thought.”
To hear the full podcast, and my conversation with Zachariah Simmons click here.