While filing my taxes, I was astonished that in 2015 I paid $18,769.58 in student loan payments, and $8,628.07 of that was just in interest. That's 45.9% of what I paid!
I would never change my choice to come to NYU — it remains the best decision and thing that has happened to me. It was transformative, it was broadening, and it taught me how to be an empathetic human who can fully connect and embrace other humans. And if that's what it cost for a young gay boy in Nebraska to change his life and marvel in awe of how beautiful the world is, so be it.
That said, in all the discussion of college affordability, I wish we could have more of a focus on who is profiting from the student lending industry. Let's not just look at how to reduce cost of admission. Let's also look at how we make financing more available for more people in ways that aren't focused on profiting off of students in such a grandiose way. I would understand the high interest rates and high profit margins if lenders were assuming a lot of risk. But unlike credit card debt, student loan debt can't be discharged and private lenders often require a cosigner to guarantee the debt will be paid. For the most part, student loan debt is unforgivable.
I have much more to say on these issues — and I undoubtedly will post again on them in the future — but for now, Happy Tax Day!