There is nothing more disappointing than being admitted to your top choice of university only to find that you cannot afford tuition. It is no secret that the cost of tuition in the United States has been rising over the past few decades. At the same time, the importance of attending a four-year university is at its peak. Young people who are entering their college years are now being taught the importance of going to college, no matter how affordable it is.
For most of us college students, we remember the application process and how little we thought about tuition until we got accepted. There is enormous pressure to attend the best and most competitive universities, many of them private institutions. The whole college admission process seems mysterious as a high school senior. Once you are accepted, you make the decision for where you want to go based on what is your “perfect fit”. If you are lucky enough to have supportive parents, the question over cost of tuition hardly comes into mind. It is only once the first tuition bill is sent in the mail, or posted online, that you realize truly how expensive it is to attend college. For some students, the reality of cost sinks in early, and they are forced to sacrifice their dream school because the tuition is too costly. Regardless of where your finances are on that spectrum, the one thing almost every student has in common is: student loans.
As the cost of college tuition rises, the more a student will need to take out student loans. If you filled out the application for university, then you also most likely filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application allows the government to assess your family’s financial need and determine the amount they can offer you in loans. This application is filled out and turned in every year and assists students in being able to afford tuition. Although the types of loans and payment plans differentiate, almost every student will graduate knowing they are in debt. In a job market where the competition is brutal, it is expected that students have an undergraduate degree from a four-year university. It is difficult enough to try and get a well-paying job without a degree, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for students who already have a degree to find work. Many of these students are only four years into adulthood and will spend their graduation day with the looming presence of student loan debt hanging over their head.
The whole student loan process generally becomes better known to students as they go through college. As a wide-eyed freshman, student loan debt rarely enters your mind. By senior year, you are most likely more familiar with the FAFSA process, you have most likely been into the financial aid office many times, and you are now readily thinking about what it will take for you to pay off your loans after graduation.
When you accept a student loan of any kind, you will sign a promissory note, which is essentially a binding contract stating that you are responsible for paying off your loan with interest. This promissory note will contain the terms of your loan, and once you read and sign, it becomes legally binding. This means that students are legally required to start payments to repay their student loans after they graduate. Most loans offer a grace period of about 6 months or so for the student to find a job so they will be able to start their payments. Most students are aware that they will most likely be making these payments well into adulthood. The fact that students will graduate with student loan debt is becoming somewhat of a sad joke to students. The necessity of a college education to get a job along with the cost of university demands that students take out student loans, which are increasingly difficult to repay. It is important for students to remember that accepting student loans is a binding contract and they must be repaid. Student loans do not disappear.
These materials have been prepared by WGW for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.