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Question 3

Do you have student loan or credit card debt?

Photo prompt #3: Take a picture of the most expensive thing you own.

I did have student loan debt after I graduated, but it was a little over a thousand dollars and, fortunately, I was able to quickly pay it off. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my parents did not have to pay tuition because my father was an employee of the University of Delaware. Sadly, I don’t know if schools are still giving out those kinds of benefits to spouses and dependents of employees. I certainly hope they are because if that opportunity had not been available to me then I too would be swimming in debt right now, just like so many of my peers.

Still, room and board, meal plans, books, and extra fees are not cheap and my parents did not have an easy time paying for all of that.

There is a definite flaw in the priorities of our universities, but what also needs to be re-evaluated is the way our state and federal government allocate money towards education. We all know the statistics on graduates and student loans, right? Our government should be investing its money on young people’s education by giving out more grants to graduate students, not spending it on expensive wars.

In terms of what colleges and universities have been doing, I ask myself: Does it make sense for a school to keep adding more and more brand-spanking-new buildings when less and less people can afford to attend? It seems as if universities are more concerned about national standings or being at the top of prestigious lists than they are about trying to help students avoid debt. I understand that outside organizations and other private donors are more willing to invest money in a particular university when they see that they’ve been ranked at the top. But it seems as though, once a school has that money, they are more likely to use it toward the construction of state-of-the-art fitness facilities than they are to give out scholarships worth more money.

What else are students paying for each new school year? More amenities? Do we really need flat screen TVs in the lounges? Does the increase of cost translate into an increase in the value of their education? Probably not. We’re becoming an elitist society, where those who come from wealthy families not only get the best of everything, but are the only ones able to afford a basic college education.

I do not currently have any credit-card debt, but I worry about that changing in the near future. How possible is it to continue to avoid falling into debt, especially when you’re on your own and have no one else to rely on for money? I have a constant preoccupation with how my actions or lack of actions are affecting my credit score.

I don’t think people choose to go into debt, but for one reason or another they’re forced into it. I wish I didn’t have to have a credit card at all. I don’t like spending money I don’t have. I’d rather not own a house or a car if I can’t afford to pay the full amount in one lump sum. I’d rather rent a condo or an apartment until I can afford to buy and live in a city where I don’t need a car. But you can’t get very far in this country without following the established rules of the credit-rating system. You can’t make big purchases without a satisfactory credit history.

Money doesn’t buy happiness but, in our society, I think being debt free and having financial security are necessary for inner peace and an emotional sense of well-being. When it comes down to it, I think all that the average person really wants is financial stability and to be able to afford basic necessities — not to become wealthy. I did not save as much money as I should have from my previous job, and that I regret tremendously.

Saving money isn’t easy when you have a job and it’s practically impossible when you’re unemployed.

One comment:

  1. Vincent Capone at 1:53 pm, October 9, 2012

    Great post – it’s very telling what schools value most when they build a new fitness complex over the deteriorating liberal arts buildings.