As seniors head toward graduation, student loan repayment looms as worry

 

Student loan debt continues to pile up on America’s college graduates, according to a recent CNN article, which states that the average college graduate leaves school with $29,000 dollars worth of student loans (www.cnnmoney.com).

Although Norwich University has a fair share of students under full or part scholarships from various branches of the military, most seniors are worried about their debt and future job market opportunities.

Seniors at Norwich are preparing to graduate with debts ranging from zero to as much as $100,000. Slightly higher than America’s average, Zachary Milesky will graduate owing approximately $43,000, he said.

The current rate of unemployed college graduates and increased student loan debt has some Norwich seniors skeptical over possible opportunities, but most are optimistic about their future jobs and careers.

Daniel Hein, a 22-year-old criminal justice major from Nashua, N.H., was unable to commission into the Army due to an allergy, so as a contingency plan, he is hopeful for a law enforcement job. Hein will have to pay off close to $70,000 in federal loans to be debt free.

“Currently I am going through a hiring process with a local police department back home, roughly 25-30 minutes from Nashua,” he said, “If all goes well I will be leaving Norwich early, and starting to work in late April, and then begin the police academy in May until August.”

Law enforcement is one of the job markets Norwich graduates continually pursue. Developing leadership skills, and having a military mind-set certainly boosts ratings for potential officers, as well as having an extended alumni base.

“Norwich has really helped me become a more professional and detail-oriented candidate for the jobs that I want,”said Lindsay Evans, 21, a senior communications major from Canterbury, NH, “They gave me the skills that will help me get a job over other applicants and I have a large network of alumni who can help me with job connections as well.”

After graduation, Evans will need to scrape up $14,000 due to her three loans she is dependent on. While having a positive outlook on how Norwich developed her as a professional, Evans is aware that Norwich does not control the potential job market. Thankful that she has prior work experience, she remains pessimistic about employment rates for college graduates.

An article written by the Associated Press stated that, “About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year (2012) were jobless or underemployed.”

Zachary Milesky, a 22-year-old fifth year communications major from Brewster, Mass., carries two government subsidized student loans which total $43,000. Currently serving in the Vermont National Guard, and serving drinks part-time, he is pursuing a career as a firefighter, although he is extremely skeptical of the opportunities of a new graduate attempting to acquire a job.

“I know the job market for anyone is very competitive right now, especially for fresh college grads. Because jobs are so scarce, employers have the benefit of picking and choosing the best and most qualified applicants, causing the standards for workers to rise drastically,” he said, “As a result of this, the more education and experience an applicant has, the more competitive they are. This makes a bachelors degree seem commonplace and a masters degree almost required in order for somebody to be considered competitive. That only adds to the pressure of young workers-to-be because that only causes them to need to take on more debt by getting more schooling so they can get a job to not only make it in society, but also pay off their disgustingly high amount of debt that they took on in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Gaining an advanced degree such as a Master’s degree could put a candidate in the front-running, but it would also mean more student loans, and a larger debt hole to later climb out of.

“Now that I realize I want to work with children I would have added education with my major so that I would have more experience in that field and not have to worry about more classes after I graduate this May,” Kaylie Miller, 21, a senior psychology major from Long Lake, N.Y. said.

Desiring a teaching job, Miller will need to gain an advanced degree while trying to combat her multiple student loans that rise to over $80,000, with a part-time job. She will move to North Carolina after graduation to move in with her fiancé, she said.

After her graduation, Nathalie Ouellette, a 22-year-old senior and communications major from Randolph, N.H., plans to live with her boyfriend and get her feet firmly planted in the adult world, then pursue an advanced degree in public relations.

Ouellette will be riding the debt train pulling approximately $70,000, a considerable amount. She believes that even though the job market is “intimidating and competitive,” Norwich’s communication department is “a lot more hands on and practical versus just spitting out facts for exams – we work for actual clients in several classes so we get to learn while actually feeling out what an actual job in that field would feel like.”

Norwich unfortunately does not offer a public relations concentration, Ouellette’s passion, and therefore she would like to pursue a masters to help her gain a better job and get out of waitressing.

Unlike Ouellette and Miller, most seniors plan to move back in with their parents until they feel they can financially support themselves.

Norwich prepares students to succeed after graduation, with lessons learned both inside and outside of the classroom.

With graduation set just on the horizon, the adult world closing in fast, things seniors have done the past three and a half years could mean the difference between immediate success or struggle after college.

“I am comfortable with my college career, I know I have utilized certain resources, and in turn things are looking very positive for my future,” Hein said.

Speak Your Mind

*