Seniors leave with diploma and debt

By on February 6, 2008

According to college boards the price of student loans is rising. Seniors are facing a larger debt than in previous years.

According to Roberta Dorso of the financial aid department 74 percent of Quinnipiac students have received financial aid in the form of Stafford and Perkins loans. Seniors at Quinnipiac face the problem with mounting anxiety.

Senior James Meringer a print journalism major owes about $60,000. “I get knots in my stomach just thinking about it,” Meringer said. “I’m not looking forward to it, it’s really scary to think about,” said Merringer.

Meringer who works in the financial aid department sees more seniors coming in to ask questions as graduation slowly approaches. “Everyone is starting to face reality, it’s really stressful,” Meringer said.

Senior Director of Financial Aid Dominic Yoia said “Loan debt is typically pegged to tuition costs so as tuition goes up, so does debt.”

Danielle Appel, a senior business major has a part-time job that pays $10 an hour and is fighting to pay the bills.

“It’s stressful I have to pay $840 for rent, cable and utilities. Every time I go to work I get depressed because I know that the money that I am making will only go to bills,” Appel said.

Teresa Weston, a junior public relations major has similar worries. “By the time I am done I am going to owe between $80,000 and $90,000 due to interest. Right now I am trying to block out that I owe so much money,” Weston said.

According to Sara Capellini, a senior broadcast journalism major paying back student loans is a look at the “real” world outside of Quinnipiac where she will be forced to stand on her own two feet.

“My mom said she had to pay off her loans herself so she thinks I should is just something you have to do, even though it’s a frightening thought,” Capellini said.

Appel is facing the problem head on. She has factored a small loan payment of 53 dollars into her budget for the rest of the year.

“It’s going to be really difficult at first but hopefully I’ll adjust,” Appel said. “I do feel that once I start working full-time a huge weight will be lifted off of my shoulders.”

“Students need not worry about not being to pay off bills,” Yoia said agreeing with Appel. “Students who borrow the full complement of Stafford loans over 4 years will have an average monthly payment around $200, which is probably less than the monthly payment for their first new car which is often purchased after graduation.”

Yoia advises that those who have borrowed more money should think of consolidating. It gives the student the ability to combine all their loans into one payment as well as extends the repayment time to 30 years.

However, Yoia advises that students should be careful when consolidating and realize that the interest will be much larger.

According to Yoia, 99 percent of graduates maintain regular payments. Only one percent fail to do so which is less than the national average of five percent.

“Such a low default rate is a great indicator that Quinnipiac students not only realize the importance of repaying their loans, but also graduate and find employment with salaries that make repayment manageable,” Yoia said.

Despite the concern of seniors like Capellini and Meringer over how they will manage paying off student loans on the paycheck of an entry level job, Yoia is confident seniors will succeed.


About Ashley Reynolds