UNITED STATES—It is something many who seek a higher education dread: student loan debt. I recall vividly as an undergraduate I did everything and I mean nearly everything in my power to ensure I took out the bare minimum when it came to student loans to pay for school. Why? That fear of knowing that you have thousands of dollars that you will eventually have to pay back once you complete school. I mean even working a full-time job and work study wasn’t and still isn’t enough when it comes to paying tuition and room and board.

Now, if we are being totally honest, the cost for room and board at many universities is utterly ridiculous. I mean the size of a dorm that two people are expected to share is beyond claustrophobic, it’s pathetic. I mean my freshman year I nearly died at the prospect of sharing a dorm with 3 other people and barely having enough space to turn around without invading another person’s space. The universities are trying too hard to cram too many people in the smallest amounts of space and then charging epic rates that they should be ashamed of.

While room and board is a problem, that is nothing compared to the cost of tuition. It just seems the prices keep going up and up and up. When I first started college in the early 2000s, the cost of a 3-credit course was around $500. Since then, the cost has nearly tripled to over $1600. That’s crazy. Think about it, an average student has to take at least 12 credit hours to receive financial aid. Do the math people? That’s over $6500 for just 1 semester and that’s not even including all those hidden university fees that students are unexpectedly charged each semester!

In a year, one is spending $13k on tuition, and probably another $7 or $8k in room in board, that’s easily $20k a year, and that does not include books or miscellaneous items needed for travel or decorating your dorm or apartment. A college degree easily can cost over $100k, and when it comes to financial aid you might be lucky if you garner $10k a year, the rest is likely a result of student loans. When it’s all said and done, students have probably amounted around $40k-$50k in student loan debt. You have 6 months after graduating to start preparing to pay back on that debt.

What’s the problem, most people graduate and can’t even find a job in 6 months, yet a year. Making matters worse is coming to the realization that you’re not going to graduate and have a $40,000 a year job fall in your lap. If anything you’ll be lucky to find a job that pays at least $10-$12 an hour. Yes, what a shame, all that money spent for absolutely nothing. At least that is the perspective so many college graduates are coming to realize.

I mean I know people now, who don’t even consider the thought of college, because they don’t want to be indebted to paying student loans the rest of their lives and they have a valid point. You’ll be paying those debts for at least 20-30 years of your life. If you’re lucky, if you’re lucky, you might be able to say my debt is all paid off by the age of 50. For most people they might be paying that debt until they die.

Oh and we haven’t event chatted about the issue of interest. Yuppers, you’re accumulating that interest on that debt whenever you don’t pay it, so it just keeps on adding up as time progresses. So a $20,000 loan easily becomes $30,000 or more once you factor in interest. So it’s like the government never wants you to pay that debt off, they want you to be in debt as long as possible.

Some things can be done to adjust matters to make them easier for students. For starters, lower the interest rate on most of these loans. Second, have some sort of forgiveness program or trade off. If a student who is actively looking and searching for a job is unable to find one after 6 months from graduation, the school should pay off some of that debt they have accumulated or at least reimburse them a portion of the tuition they paid to put towards paying off debt.

We like to promise people the notion that a college education will automatically land you a better job, guess what America it does not. It just guarantees you education, not a job and you paid a lot to learn something that you might have learned just by spending a few bucks on a few bucks and reading the material yourself. In the end, it is the cost of tuition, room and board and student loan debt that is making more and more people turn their attention to finding full-time quality employment versus attending school for four years, amounting tons of debt, having no job and stressing how you’re going to pay off the debt you amounted to obtain an education, which should be free for all individuals if you ask me.