Deconstructing student debt debacle

CF offers increased chance of earning debt free degrees

In a world where having a college degree has become more of a requirement than a benefit, the importance of affordable education continues to rise.

Though Investopedia  reports that as of 2020, roughly 30 percent of all American adults carry student debt, CF offers hope for a debt free degree.

Jean Imes, CF Director of Financial Aid, said that while, “16.5 percent of CF students received loan disbursements. 76% of students graduate with no student loan debt.”

CFs low student debt rate can be attributed to multiple factors.

The College of Central Florida is among the top 1% of colleges in the nation for affordability, according to U.S. Department of Education statistics.

In addition to offering affordable education, CF offers over 1.5 million dollars in scholarships and teaches personal budgeting to minimize the need for loans.

With all of the financial aid opportunities that CF offers, it is highly beneficial to apply for scholarships.

One group of students that faces a particularly uphill battle is students paying out of state tuition.

CF student Josh Rodriguez was forced to pay the increased rate following a move from Maryland to Florida prior to his freshman year.

“Paying for college stressed me out a lot, affordability affected the college I picked and even the career path I chose. I did not receive scholarships while attending CF. I paid triple what I’m going to start paying in-state.” said Rodriguez.

Though out -of -state tuition is a temporary side effect for those migrating from states outside of their college choice, the side effects can be long lasting.

Rodriguez continued, “Paying off student debt was ridiculously hard and I had to work extra to make the payments so it wouldn’t affect me negatively. Getting scholarships could have saved me from extra hours at my job.”

Rodriguez’ story is not an uncommon one. A study by Education Data revealed that an astounding 87.6 percent of college students in the state of Florida are not residents.

With nearly 90 percent of all Florida college students paying increased tuition rates, it is crucial that they explore all financial aid opportunities.

The Federal Reserve estimates that the student debt topped 1.7 trillion dollars in the second quarter of 2021. Unless financial aid opportunities are taken advantage of, this figure could continue to soar amid the pandemic layoffs.

John Fiorenza, a former CF and Flagler College baseball player, had words of advice for incoming college students.

“Prioritize getting scholarships and I’m glad I did. I applied for a lot, and focused on athletics and academics so I would be able to get as many as I could,” said Fiorenza.

College may be essential in a workforce that continues to elevate the importance of degrees, but the rising student debt crisis is also cause for concern.

Focusing on financial aid opportunities such as scholarships is crucial. While companies such as Sallie Mae offer student loans to cover education in the short term, debt is inescapable.

As Rodriguez said, “College is worth the price if you succeed, but the price isn’t just money. It takes sacrificing a lot more to be successful in college. But in the end it can be worth it.”