Is student debt worth it?


Graciela Tiu ‘23

Next year, Kana Park ‘23 will have to make choices about college and saving money.

It’s college application season here on the Hill, and with the pressure of the unknown future, many students are trying their hardest to get into the best colleges possible. However, good colleges can often be expensive, bringing about the issue of loans and student debt, which about 30% of college students take on according to Investopedia. As of 2021, total student loan debt has come up to equal about $1.71 trillion dollars, according to Forbes, with the average student loan totaling $37,693.

Every year, seniors face tough college decisions, including whether or not to take on loans. The Veritas Shield interviewed five upperclassmen to get their opinions regarding taking on debt, along with their thoughts about how debt will affect their college decisions.

Is college worth going into debt for?

KANA PARK ‘23: This is a hard question for me to answer because all my life I’ve been told that everything I’m doing now is for college, making it seem like money is worth college and all of my grades are worth college. It’s just that my entire being is made to go to college, get out of college, get a job and then get money. However, now that I know the importance of money, economics in general and taking various classes, it makes me wonder if college is the end all be all, if being thousands of dollars or more in debt is worth it, and to that I think no. Sure, college can give you a degree if you accomplish enough, but people have gotten jobs without college and people are well off without going to college at all. And there are also colleges where you don’t go into debt; community colleges provide you enough education to let you get a job and finance yourself. So I don’t think it’s worth going into debt for. Of course college is an important part of your academic career, even your adult career, but is it worth all that money to get the namesake?

RENEE DERAMERIAN ‘22: I think our school puts a lot of pressure on everyone to go to a four-year college, and it costs a lot. My dad and my mom both went to really good schools, but they both went to PCC first and saved a lot of money on college debt, so I don’t think that it’s really worth going to a four-year school if you could end up there anyway. If your ultimate goal is just to be something, then I think it’s not worth it.  

ANYA MILLARD ‘22: Undergrad, I don’t know if it is. I think the undergrad degree right now is basically a qualifier to getting any type of job at this point. Really any sort of specialization afterwards, like a grad school degree or even if you’re going to get a doctorate, is often more about what you actually want to study, and I think indicates a real dedication to it. My mom has a degree in radio communications, and she’s an educational therapist because later on she got specializations and grad school degrees and that’s what qualifies her to do what she does. Even if a communications degree maybe adds to being able to speak to people clearly, radio and television is almost a different thing. I think starting your life as a newly minted adult with debts hanging over your head that are just accruing interest is kind of horrible, so I think it’s sort of a complicated question, and again it also depends on your financial situations.

Would you rather go to a prestigious university for four years but be $50,000 in debt or go to a community college for the first two years and then transfer to a four-year university with no debt?

ELLA MINTON ‘22: I really don’t want to go to community college; personally I don’t think it’s for me. I know deep down it’s because there are stereotypes that if you’re going to community college you’re a bad student and it’s your last option. I’m also just excited to go to a four-year college where I can live in the dorms, do little college activities and decorate my room. I don’t really want to live at home; I’m ready to branch out.

LIZ MANSOUR ‘22: I really don’t like the idea of having to go to community college for two years, and I feel like there’s also a social thing about that. First of all, there is the social stigma, and second of all, community college doesn’t always have really great resources. There are certain requirements and there are people who don’t meet those requirements that end up going to community college for four years, and I don’t want to take those chances. I feel like your freshman and sophomore years of college are very formative years. Going to community college would feel like I’m just continuing on from high school since I’ll be in the same area as before. I would basically be living the same life, just at a different school.