By now, most Americans are aware of the issue of student loan debt. This nationwide problem is often masked by the appeal of college and the opportunities promised upon earning a degree. Although the advantages of acquiring higher-level education are evident, more graduates experience stress due to loan debt than ever before. Many Tennesseeans wonder about the outlook of this situation, and if relief from student loans is possible in the near future.
The Times Free Press is one of many news outlets reporting on the widespread issue of crippling debt caused by student loans. According to a study, the Times revealed in 2013 that Tennessee was one of the most successful states when it came to managing student debt. But that success has a darker side: an overwhelming number of graduates still struggle financially as a result of debt. As of 2011, Tennessee students graduated with the sixth-lowest debt in the country, and some areas in the state saw even lower amounts of debt. Many credit their post-graduate economic health to the Hope Scholarship.
At one time, the state ranked among the lowest to struggle with student loan debt, but why are so many graduates still living with crippling amounts of debt? An update from the Memphis Business Journal voiced that those healthy statistics have, unfortunately, changed in more recent years: as of 2015, Tennessee ranked eighteenth in the nation for student loan debt. The state’s 831,000 borrowers owed roughly $26,707 in loans. The spotlight, however, remains on the fact that these loans are simply stagnant — more than 20 percent of 2009 graduates with high balances owe more now than they did upon graduation. A clear path to solution may not exist, but the issue of student loan debt is one of the most prominent with today’s younger generations.