UNITED STATES—Going to college is something that should be affordable for all Americans, but unfortunately we live in a world where money is the driving force behind everything. For those who were lucky to get the chance to go to college, and successfully obtain a degree, the headache has just begun.

Yep, I’m referring to those student loans. That money that you were forced to take out because you had no other option. When you’re in school you’re not thinking about the money that you will have to payback, you’re simply thinking about paying your tuition. Some universities will halt you returning for the semester, attending classes or registering for classes if you owe a balance on your tuition.

The thing about student loans is the fact that you barely have six months after graduation before you have to begin paying that debt off. Pause. How many college graduates do you know who literally come right out of school with a job right in their lap. It never happens, if it does its rare. Yeah, planning junior year and senior year for life after college is crucial. Most students don’t consider that, but for those of us who do, it’s still not enough.

If you’re lucky, your debt may not be more than $30,000, but on the other end, I know friends whose debt surmounts to close to $100k. Yeah, imagine the stress of having to pay off such a significant amount without having any options. There are options: go back to school to halt having to repay on those student loans. But who wants to go to school the rest of their life to prevent paying off. Its unfortunate, but I know a few people who are.

Other options to consider include deferment, forbearance and selecting to consolidate your loans. Even with those options that debt that you amounted just continues to incur interest to a point where $20,000 can turn into $30,000 in a few years. A student loan is like that thing that haunts you nearly 20-30 years after you’ve already completed college. In the back of your mind, you know, someday this debt I amounted I have to payback, and there isn’t really too many options to get out of it, I mean death, but who would go to those lengths?

Even with financial aid, many universities and the federal government is not doing enough to offer those funds to students to significantly decrease the amount that has to be taken out in student loans to pay for school. I mean, I amounted over $30k in student loans and that was nearly a decade ago. Imagine what the price of college will be for our kids 10-20 years from now. Estimate around $50k-$75k for a college education for an in-state student, significantly larger for those who venture out of state or attend those private or Ivy League colleges.

I have made the argument in the past that anyone who is a taxpayer should have the right to attend any public university in the state they live in if they apply. If education is the key to success, shouldn’t we as a government do more in our power to ensure those things are happening? It seems the notion of college is an elitist opportunity; only a select few will get the option. What does that mean?

There will always be those who will have more than others based on the education that they have obtained. Does this mean a college degree solidifies a guaranteed job, not a chance in hell! The fact that you have so many college graduates nowadays back at home and working jobs paying slightly over minimum wage is a testament to that. I’ve come to realize that the price of a college education is much costlier than I expected, but I would not trade it for the world; what I’ve earned and experienced is unlike anything I’ll encounter in life.