The Cost of College: Student loan life at the University of Iowa

By Ian Smith on January 8, 2013

How much does college cost now-a-days? simple answer: A lot.

Anyone you ask is likely to give you an answer along those lines. Around half of students take on some kind of debt to pay for college. Getting a loan is not only a wonderful way to accrue debt but it comes with its own unseen pitfalls. Firstly, when you aren’t actually seeing your wallet get lighter it’s easy to forget the money is being spent, and more importantly; It isn’t just free money! The sooner you realize that the better, some might say, but it can be quite a burden on a student. More importantly, are you getting what you pay for; a “higher education”?

Planning for the future is a big thing one is meant to learn in college, however if you are preoccupied with finances it is easy to let the scales tip in that direction and let your studies suffer. Senior Jeff Crowe studying economics and political science at the University of Iowa has taken out both federal and private loans to pay for his education handeling all of the paperwork and number crunching himself when asked if the money he owes for college worries him he said “It more annoys me than anything else, education is supposed to be the great equalizer but I have to worry about working to to pay dues while trying to study, and the debt I will have after I graduate.”
Crowe says overall he has had to see his grades suffer in the expense of work but is glad for the real world experience it has given him. “Aside from majors like accounting and engineering it’s more what you learn outside of the classroom that gets you where you need to be.”

In a creative field like English or Studio Arts, which some might say is a study of how not to make money, you can spend your time beefing up your resume and hardly realize the reason you are at college in the first place is falling to the wayside. If you are in college to study and build your skills in a specific field shouldn’t you be focusing on just that?

If it is a “higher” education, why has it become the norm? Professors, students, and employers all seem to be content with an average “higher” education as long as you have some experience. International student Xiao Shao from Zhengzhou China, who recently graduated with a B.A. in english, consulted her undergraduate adviser worried about her GPA only to find that the average GPA for english majors at the University of Iowa is a measly two point five and she had nothing to worry about.

“C’s get degrees” seems to be the motto of today’s college student, and no one seems to think that is a bad thing. Everywhere I turn I hear people saying “your GPA isn’t THAT important”. College has become an assembly line, and unfortunately the supply is higher than the demand. If you don’t shake yourself awake and hop off that assembly line, dance around, and show off what you can do before you get to the end of the line you will just plop into the waste-bin underneath it called debt/unemployment.

Honestly, thank God for loans, if not for them, loads more people would not be in college, I being one of them. I wanted to be in college because I wanted to get a higher education, but I’m not getting one. I’m getting an average education, but is it worth the money? Yes, because you have to have it to be average.

My advice to the student who knows what they want to do; start your own business; Get some diverse summer internships, and get your degree as fast as you can. Waste no time searching for an actual higher education while getting your undergraduate degree, you will not
find it. The best you can attempt is to educate yourself, you are paying all of that money for an education, and if the university program itself just teaches you to jump through hoops, you can still use their resources to do it yourself.

By Ian Smith

Uloop Writer
I'm from Texas, I like to play sports, I love people and traveling :)

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