Preparing for debt: students face the reality of accumulating student loans

Tim O’Brien,’12
Biology major, Music Performance minor

O’Brien, like many other seniors, will be in some debt after he graduates in the spring. O’Brien’s debt accumulates to $5,000 and he is going to work to pay it off after he graduates. He is going to try and work over the summer to help pay for his debt as well apply to grad schools to achieve an MBA. O’Brien felt that students should definitely be mindful of their financial status.

“The cost of tuition is definitely expensive and it is a major expense that limits a lot of prospective students I feel,” O’Brien said.

Mason Hill,’15
Environmental Studies major, Chinese Studies minor

Mason Hill was able to receive scholarships from Allegheny, and he also received a Vermont State Grant and some federal scholarships. He is fortunate to have his family help him with tuition as well as his student loans.

Hill, after college, is hoping to be able to travel before attending grad school. Hill believed that students should begin to be fiscally responsible by the time they leave so they aren’t hit with a huge amount of debt when they leave.

“I feel like tuition is too high. I can understand it being private so there isn’t a lot of funding from the state…it’s too bad, but it is what it is. It’s what you take on when you come here.”

Justine Eicker,’14
Psychology major, English minor

Justine Eicker receives Allegheny scholarships and currently relies on student loans and the help of her parents. Eicker isn’t 100 percent sure how much debt she currently has, but she believes it may be upwards of $70,000. Eicker’s worry about debt stems from not wanting to put her parents in too much financial trouble because she has siblings that also attend private schools.

Eicker believes that the cost of tuition is too high but believes the school is prestigious enough to merit the cost. Eicker, who is helping pay tuition by work study, also thinks students should be very cautious about accumulating debt, especially if they want to continue with their education.

“Students should have at least some sort of idea about [debt] because if they want to continue, they have to realize that they need to pay for this school, and the school after that,” said Eicker. “Knowing about your debt will also help students be more money-conscious so they don’t spend thousands of dollars as soon as they get out of school.”

Leah Stefanelli,’15
Psychology major,
Physics and VESA minors

Leah Stefanelli, as of now, is approximately $18,000 dollars in debt and must pay for her tuition with the help of her parents’ retirement fund. Though her parents are helping, she is trying her best to help out through scholarships as well work study during the school year.

Stefanelli is hoping to go to help pay off her debt after college by working before attending grad school as well during if that is a necessity.
Accumulating debt is something she said she is very conscious of and thinks students should be too.

“Everyone has to be responsible for themselves and keep track of finances because after college, parents can’t take care of you forever and you have to learn eventually, said Stefanelli”

Jordyn Chartier,’13 International Studies major, with a concentration in Latin American Studies,
Spanish and Chinese Language minors

Jordyn Chartier is one of many students who does everything she can to pay for tuition. She works throughout the year and during summers, takes out student loans, and her family pays what they can. Chartier was a recipient of the Trustee Scholarship and another study abroad scholarship. However, by the time she graduates she will still have $50,000 in debt because of her student loans. Chartier is going to defer payment until after she graduates because of how difficult it is to make the payments during school.

Chartier really would like to go to grad school; however, she may have to reconsider because of her accumulating debt and she does not want it to get worse. She hopes to get a good job out of college, but if that isn’t the case, she plans on working and hopefully going back to school later. Chartier said she struggles with the stress that debt has brought her.

“I have stressed more about money and my debt than anything else. I understand the value of education, but it’s so disgusting, the strain it puts on you and sheer numbers alone,” said Chartier. “Just think how many cars I could buy with my debt.”