Student loans become a grim reality for most college students

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.18.26 PMToday in the work force, education usually means a better job and maybe a higher salary. Facing the message that education is essential to get ahead in the workforce, thousands of students pour into colleges for more information and experience each year.

And each year, more and more students graduate from college and are pushed out into the workforce. Once they are there they get told they need more hands-on experience. You have to start from the bottom to get to the top.

P.Z. Matthews, a 22-year-old senior political science major from Somerdale N.J., always felt he wanted to change the world. When he graduates he hopes to find a job in foreign policy, but as graduation nears, he is wondering what will happen if he cannot find a job right out with his debt so high and payments coming fast.

There are actually federal student loan forgiveness and consolidation programs set up to help recent graduates by providing a number of options to help relieve some debt.

“I would definitely be interested in a program like this,” Matthews said. “Although we still have to apply to see if we are eligible, it’s nice to see there may be an option.”

According to . this is a federally funded program to help students with their federal loans in several ways, such as “income based payment reduction, forgiveness programs, consolidation programs” and more. However, there are a lot of guidelines that need to be met to qualify for the program, the most popular of which is the teacher and public service loan forgiveness programs.

“I think this an amazing program,” said Tim Hunter, a 21 year-old junior biology major from Exeter, N.H., “but I don’t think it’s fair that it’s exclusive to certain career paths.”

Hunter wants to pursue a career in medicine and even though his career path is accepted by the program, he still feels just because someone’s career isn’t listed doesn’t mean they should not be considered to receive the program’s help.

Corps member Patrick Venetz, a 20-year-old junior criminal justice and Spanish double major from Old Forge, N.Y, who is in the corps, feels that it was fair that certain career paths were more favored than others for the program he said it was a “nice gesture towards a civil minded career.”

While the program is still in the newer stages, it is one that is much needed yet not well known. “I had no idea this program existed,” said Bethany Jones, 22, a history education major attending the University of New Hampshire from Shrewsbury, M.A., who may be eligible for the teacher loan forgiveness program, “I hadn’t even thought there was a program that might actually do that.”

Matthews agrees that the program does give graduating students hope of some sort of help with the “massive” loans they need to take care of after they graduate.

“Before interest, I will end up owing around $80,000 in loans,” Matthews said, “and then add on my parents loans that will defer to me, that is at about another $35,000.”

Matthews also had suggestions for extending advertising, he nor his friends had ever heard of the program.

“ Maybe they could use social media or advertise at campus events,” said Matthews. “ This is a great program and it should be advertised better so others can discover it, too.”

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