Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

U.S. student loan debt nears $1,000,000,000,000


The total U.S. student loan liability is approaching the one trillion dollar mark, which translates to $3,195 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

To put it another way, if one trillion crisp, new one dollar bills were placed against each other face to face, not side-by-side, or end-to-end, but on their razor-thin edges, the line of bills would wrap all the way around the equator eight times.

After the eighth time around, the line of bills would extend for another 4,800 miles-and it all has to be paid back, all 197,285 miles of it.

As the economy struggles to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, repaying student loan debt is high on the list of concerns for many students, especially seniors. Students who took out loans are concerned that they will not be able to afford the payments, which average around $200 per month for most college graduates.

Anthropology major Kelly Gustainis echoed the concerns of many of her peers.

“I am worried about paying back my student loans because there are not a lot of guaranteed jobs for people with anthropology degrees,” Gustainis said.

According to, total student loan debt currently exceeds $990 billion, and will cross the psychologically important trillion-dollar mark in early May 2012. That $10 billion gap is closing at a staggering $2,853.88 every second.

For the 2010-2011 academic year alone, UTSA awarded $134,738,757 in federal Stafford Loans.

“Stafford loans have a bigger impact on (school) funding than any other financial aid source,” Director of Student Enrollment Services Eric Cooper said. “Everyone is eligible for loans; not everyone is eligible for Pell grants.”

He added that many of the benefits students have come to expect from a quality education like class size, classroom availability and state-of-the-art technology would be seriously degraded in a world without funding from student loans.

Money from student loans is making higher education possible for millions around the country and improving the quality of that education in the process, but there are some ways to help reduce the amount of debt following graduation. recommends five practical tips for minimizing student loan debt problems.

1) Borrow federal first. Federal loans are cheaper.

2) Live like a student while in school to avoid living like one after graduation.

3) Don’t borrow more for your entire education than your expected (annual) starting salary after you graduate.

4) If you’re borrowing more than $10,000 per year you might be borrowing too much.

5) Make full use of grants and scholarships when possible.

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