Misuse of financial aid may cause burden for students

Leonardo Montañez, Staff Reporter

As the end of the semester arrives and the spring semester is upon us, it is time for students to renew their financial aid and it is time when students may misuse that money again.

According to the blog Generation Opportunity, students on average owe around $27,000 in student loans.

Noe Cardenas, sophomore music major, has taken out around $7,000 in loans, but said he has used some of it for purposes outside of school.

“It is easy to use the money that they give you since we think of it as free money,” Cardenas said. “I used it to buy things for myself and pay other things—I do use it for books and all, but still.”

According to Generation Opportunity, student loan debt is more than $1 trillion nationwide and there are approximately 37 million Americans with student loan debts—almost 12 percent of the population of the United States.

“I just hope that I don’t end up owing like a hundred grand. I plan to start paying them as soon as possible,” Cardenas said. “It is a constant pressure, it really looms in your conscious whenever you think of money.”

Loan debt has grown around a 511 percent since 1999, according to Generation Opportunity, since 1982, college tuition has grown more than 439 percent—meaning it is almost five times more expensive now in 2013.

“I don’t particularly like using or borrowing loans, but that is the only way I can pay for college,” Cardenas said. “I don’t deny that I enjoy using them, but at the same time I wish didn’t have to give that money back.”

Layla Stull was formerly a studio art major, but dropped out of school in 2011. She needed to leave college because she had accumulated a debt of $25,000 within her first three years of school.

“I actually don’t quite remember how I used all of that money,” Stull said. “What I do know is that I didn’t understand how to use loans, apparently, because when after a long period of time I checked, my debt was there.”

Stull said that she is now working to pay her debt off and will come back to college once she has enough money.

“I can only tell students to be careful, it is a very easy to mess up and end up owing the government a lot,” Stull said. “Learn how to use government money, use it wisely because it is not as they say, it is not free money.”

Leonardo Montañez may be reached at [email protected]