Students share thoughts on racked up college debt

By CHLOE RAMBERG, staff reporter

 How far would you go to pay back your student loans? Graduating seniors at Central Washington University are about to enter the real world, with a whole lot of debt under their belt.

A degree is becoming essential in this competitive job market, and students are beginning to feel the pressure on their wallets.

Colette Jessen is a senior at Central, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature. Upon graduating from high school, Jessen was awarded scholarships and also received an associate’s of art degree from the Running Start program.

“Even with two years of school paid for and $40,000 worth of scholarships in my pocket, I still ended up with close to $15,000 worth of student loans I will need to pay back,” Jessen said.

Jessen’s dream would have been to use the money she owes in student loans as a down payment on a house. Instead, in order to pay back her debt to Central, Jessen will continue her current job as a waitress.

“It’s funny that I will be paying off my debt with a job that doesn’t even require a degree at all,” Jessen said.

Jessen is one of the fortunate students, with $15,000 being a relatively small amount of debt for many college graduates.

Ryan Toussaint is a senior graduating with a degree in geography from Central. He estimates his current debt to be around $40,000.

“Or in better terms, almost more money than my dad’s brand new BMW,” Toussaint said.

Toussaint has experienced numerous jobs in order to begin paying back on loans he owes, including working at Snoqualmie Pass, doing odd jobs for neighbors and people around town, and painting houses over the summer.

“Its stressful to know that amount of money is hanging over my head,” Toussaint said. “There aren’t a lot of jobs out there I wouldn’t do in order to get rid of my debt.”

While Toussaint hasn’t had the unfortunate luck of taking an extremely odd job, he said he’s keeping his eyes open for the chance to make as much money in as short amount of time as possible, whatever that may be.

Jordan Softli, a senior graduating with a degree in business marketing, seems to be in the same boat as Toussaint.

“I’m not sure exactly what my current debt is, but I transferred into Central from a private school, so I’m guessing it is pretty obnoxious,” Softli said.

Softli has some peace of mind with a job lined up for after graduation, but will be handing most of his paychecks over to pay for his loans.

“Most of my excess cash usually goes to food so this could be a good, healthy thing,” Softli said. “However, I would probably use my money to save up for a new car or to pay rent on an apartment.”

Softli also has a back-up plan to pay his debt, just in case his job after graduation falls through. Like Toussaint, he is not above taking unusual jobs in order to pay his student loans.

“I am considering Channing Tatum’s job before he became an actor though,” Softli said. “I believe I could make a lot of money as ‘Juggernaut J,’ I have a LOT of good moves.”

 

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