Life After Student Loan Debt

High School, College Career, Family? That is the usual series of events for typical individuals. However, for Black America things may be taking a change, especially for hopeful future doctors, lawyers, teachers and other leaders of tomorrow. Student loans will become one of the highest preventatives of individuals being able to provide for themselves, as well as their families as student loan debt reaches $1 trillion dollars.

“By the time I am finished with college, I will owe about $30,000 in student loans to loan agencies” says Tiffany Hughes, a junior Legal Communications major. She says when she first entered college she had not applied for financial aid and paid for school out of pocket. Her father, realizing that it was too demanding on his pockets, then took out a Loan for $20,000 to cover tuition and living expenses. Similar to Hughes, shows that over the past decade student loan debt more than doubled from &$9,250 to $19,200. This then leaves individuals to wonder, what affect will this have on individuals post graduation.

Not only are students paying back their initial loan that was taken out, but it also includes the interest that will accumulate over that specific time frame. In an effort to reduce the loan repayment Hughes and her family have established a system in which they periodically make payments on the loans in order to keep the interest down. While Tiffany and her family are trying their best to prepare for the road ahead, she realizes that these loans will have an effect on her as well as her future family.

Senior, print journalism major, Aleia Woods is also facing similar problems. As May 2012 approaches she is learning to cope with the fact, she will owe about $50,000 in student loans. Unable to pay for college out of pocket as she had done previously, she resorted to student loans during her senior year.

“With me owing such a large amount of money it is overwhelming at times” Woods added. As a print journalism major, Aleia says she doesn’t expect to have a decent paying job immediately out of college, which will ultimately affect her repayment. “I may have to look for a second means of income in order to stay above water financially.”

According to, student loans can affect your credit score significantly, if and only if payments are not made. With the state of the economy, Hughes worries about being able to make those payments back in a timely fashion. In the future, student loans run the risk of not being able to obtain jobs, houses, cars, and worst of all being financially able to support a family, especially when it is their time to attend college.

“Despite all the hardships in college and all that I went trough trying to pay for college, I’m definitely trying my best to be prepared for the generations ahead” says Tiffany. She hopes to be put in a position where she can afford to start a college fund for her children. “If I’m able to put a minimum of $40 a week, for the next eighteen years, in a savings account my child would have $34,560 towards their college education” Tiffany, hopefully said.  Every generation is supposed to progress from where their parents were. “ We have to be more accountable for our actions, we have to plan accordingly for our next generation, otherwise it could be detrimental. I can only hope my college loans won’t hold me back.”

While Tiffany wonders what life will be like once the repayment period begins, Aleia remains hopeful for her future as she says this experience will most definitely prepare her, so when she does have a family, affording college will be the least of their worries. Aleia’s parents plan to refinance their Queens, NY home in order to lessen the $50,000 student loan that she accrued during her tenure at Howard University.