Student Loan Debt Worse Than Ever Before

For the majority of Americans, attending a four-year university means taking out student loans. In the past these loans were looked at as the ticket to a higher education and a better life- an easy, dependable way to finance an education, get an income, and slowly pay it all back. Today, however, the phrase “student loans” has a much more negative connotation. It used to conjure an image of someone attending college who previously couldn’t. Someone who was going to make it on their own by investing in themselves and their future. Today when we hear the phrase we think of students wallowing in debt, suffering from monthly payments and growing interest rates. And with good reason- the national economy student loan debt reached over $1 trillion last year! Now it has even surpassed credit card and auto-loan debt.

What compounds this problem is that the labor market is also struggling. Graduating from college is no longer a guarantee of employment, as it was in the past. So when these students (who have been encouraged by the system to take on the overwhelming amount of debt necessary to attend a four-year university) graduate, they can’t find the jobs they need to help pay back those loans. On July 1st of this year, interest rates on student loans are expected to double- from 3.4% to 6.8%, meaning that when it comes student loans, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

One of the most effective ways to combat this problem is by attending a vocational school. With an ORT education you can do two things: 1) get your schooling at a much more inexpensive rate, and 2) get an education that prepares you to enter the workforce immediately. Vocational schools provide students with a hands-on, apprenticeship-style learning environment that gives them the chance to gain actual job experience in their chosen field of study- exactly what employers are looking for. Don’t get fooled into thinking student loans aren’t the only option. Check out the ORT website to see if the vocational path is the right one for you.

LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.