by Jaelan Leonard
College should be a time of exciting new experiences in route to achieving an education, but sometimes the burden of paying for your schooling can put a damper on the pursuit of your degree.
According to Studentloanhero.com, United States college students are a combined $1.48 trillion dollars in student loan debt. What is even more surprising is that students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) borrow student loans from the federal government at higher rates and graduate with significantly higher debt totals than students who attend predominantly white institutions (PWIs).
A study done in 2012 by UNCF.org showed that a quarter of HBCU bachelor’s degree recipients borrowed $40,000 or more to pay off their student loan debt.
“I wish I was more prepared with understanding where my finances go instead of letting my parents handle most of it. I’m in college now, so it’s important for me to be financially independent,” said Autumn Smith, a sophomore student at Hampton University.
Despite there being heavy financial burdens, many students feel the need to understand the importance of being financially literate so that they won’t fall victim to the endless battle of paying off huge loans that have lasting consequences.
In order to support lifelong financial mobility, many HBCUs have incentives to produce alumni who are successful in their careers. Some become mirror images of the university’s legacy, and are able to pay off whatever loans they have (this allows universities to stay eligible for federal financial aid).
While in college, students can take the initiative in developing financial practices that will set them up for effective personal monetary management in the future.
However, many Students are interested in programs that help students navigate through the financial aid process and programs that focus on improving the short- and long-term costs associated with education loans and other debt assumed while in college, their repayment obligations, and their protection as borrowers.
Financial education programs, one-on-one counseling, and innovative personal monetary management tools can help provide students and graduates with information and skills to effectively manage their finances moving forward in their lives.