Students indifferent to national loan debt

Story by Sara

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When an October report announced that the average loan debt for 2011 college graduates increased by 5 percent from 2010, many national media outlets panicked.

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While some Baker University seniors appear to be apathetic toward these statistics, others are concerned about what they will mean for the future of the American economy.

Senior Kelley Jenkins said the rising student debt, which increased to more than $26,000, is daunting given the current job market.

“It’s concerning because the American economy is not doing well and it’s hard to find a job in order to pay back those loans,” Jenkins said. “We are struggling and it’s difficult enough for students to get through college as it is without the help of the government.”

Senior Kristina Eggleston, who is raising three toddlers, is dependent upon student loans and said she will work a little bit at a time to pay back the debt she owes. However, she is still not very optimistic about the nation’s current economic state.

“It’s sad that we aren’t making enough money to be able to pay our bills, and pay back what we need to pay back because the cost of living and everything else has increased so much,” Eggleston said.

Senior Patrick King borrows about $5,000 each year to help supplement the tuition his scholarships do not cover. However, he said is not as concerned about the debt he faces after graduation as some of his peers.

“It worries me a little, but I’m not as worried as some of my friends because I know that I’m not going to settle for anything other than my best and what I know I can do,” King said. “So I am going to be working my butt off for my entire life.”

King, who has studied economics at Baker, said the average debt total does worry him slightly about the future of the country, but he believes Americans should be able to “pull out of this just fine.”

As he works to pay back his loans, King said he plans to show that he is good at what he does in the professional world, get a good job and live frugally for a few years.

Senior Dylan Berg also relies on student loans but said because his graduation is on the horizon, he is not too worried about the national average.

“I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to Baker or any school like it (without student loans),” Berg said. “I would probably have to go to a public university back in my home state. That would probably be the only way I would be able to afford college.”

Due to her financial situation, Eggleston agreed.

“This is my senior year so I have pretty much reached that limit,” Eggleston said. “I just know it is going to be a lot to pay it back.”