Editorial: Education on debt should be encouraged
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 03:10
By the time we graduate from college, we each will be – or at least should be – an expert in our individual field of study, whether that is English teaching, mechanical engineering, business administration or anything offered in between. What many of us will not be, however, are experts in our own finances.
Since high school or even earlier in our education, we have been getting prepared for college academically, but not so much fiscally. For most students, their schools, teachers and parents stressed the importance of focusing on studying, participating in extracurricular activities and applying to colleges. But studying involved mostly traditional academic subjects, English, math, science, and maybe psychology or statistics, and not finances.
What most schools do not teach is how to prepare for what happens after the academic preparations. Once we are accepted into college, we have to then learn how to pay for our education, which is not easily feasible for most. Loans and scholarships are promoted as a means to solve our lack of finances while in college, but how to handle the burden of debt after graduation is not often discussed.
As a university with incredibly low state funding and higher tuition rates as a result, UNH has many students who rely on both scholarships and loans in order to graduate. According to the university’s website, 81 percent of students receive some form of financial aid. However, the university and previous educators do little to educate young adults who have minimal financial experience in how to manage their loans and finances not only while in school, but also after graduation.
While college students are independent adults, many have never had to manage significant finances before. Paying for college is and should be our own responsibility, but guidance from the university that we are paying for our education would be advantageous to all. Colleges are structured to educate us in our specific majors, but not in how to cope with the debt that they leave us in.
This is not entirely the fault of the university; financial educations should begin at the lower academic levels, touching students before they are signed up for the loans that have the potential to follow them for decades.
This week, $ALT, a non-profit organization designed to help students control their loans and finances visited campus. The name of the company’s event appropriately referred to student finances, loans and debt as problems that face “20-somethings,” acknowledging that students are confronted with major financial problems as young adults.
Whether or not the information provided at this one-day event will significantly help any students with their finances and loans is difficult to tell, but it is important that events and companies like this continue return to campus.
While the university and educators do not have to restructure the education system to incorporate financial educations, they should at least give students the means to easily educate themselves on these subjects. With so many students relying on financial aid to be here, the university should facilitate the process of handling loans and debt. Our educations should last us a lifetime but our student debt shouldn’t.