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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

For many past and present Wildcats, student loan debt casts a shadow on their future

Students who have accumulated debt at the UA either during or after their undergraduate career tend to struggle with student loan repayment because of varying financial situations.

Undergraduate students attending the UA take out an average of $6,562 in loans per-year while attending the university, according to CollegeFactual.com. By the end of a four-year undergraduate term, the average debt accumulated, if continued at this rate, skyrockets to a total amount of $26,248.

“It took my son six years to receive his Bachelor of Science in mathematics,” said Karla Soto, chief financial officer for Tucson Unified School District. “Now, he is struggling to find a job that will help him pay back this debt. … At times, I wonder what it would be like if he had not accumulated this debt.”

Soto states that she deals with debt on a daily basis and realizes what a struggle it is for students and their families when they suddenly have to repay the money used for their college education and have no way of paying this money back.

Among several students attending the UA while juggling expenses is Riccy Partida, a studio art junior.

“I started off as a computer science major and did that for the first two years while attending the UA,” Partida said. “Since then, I have had to take out multiple loans to help pay for my expenses, and now that I switched majors, I am worried about how I will be repaying these in the future; my parents are worried about just how this is going to work out.”

Even after receiving a degree, many students still have difficulties in finding a career, which in turn can place a burden on the student, those who help them and their families.

Some students have no other option than to rely on their families for help.

Lizette Alvarez, Class of 2011, received her bachelor’s degree in education and was fortunate enough to land a job at an elementary school in Nogales soon after graduating from the UA.

“I have been working as an elementary school teacher for four years now and still have approximately $30,000 in debt, and because of this debt, I am unable to live on my own and have been living with my parents since I graduated,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez said she is grateful for the support her family has given her. She said she realizes this has been a great stress on her family and hopes to have her debt paid off in the next six years.

For incoming students worried about handling debt, the UA offers scholarships to those who qualify. Although the university offers these scholarships, many students still need to take out loans to pay off the remainder of their balances and, therefore, still accumulate debt.

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