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Culture > News

Student Debt Just Keeps Getting Worse

It’s hard to believe, but student debt is actually increasing. The Associated Press has identified three trends that have made student debt worse than it was even 10 years ago. It used to be that getting a bachelor’s degree was a huge plus in finding a career, but not always essential. Now, it seems like an undergrad degree is not only a minimum requirement, but not enough.

In 2013, the average income for a twenty-something college graduate was $41,000. This number has dropped more than $5,000 since 2000, and this decrease in median income for college grads without a graduate degree has been a steady trend since 1970. In contrast, the average income for people over the age of 30 with graduate degrees has increased consistently over the past few decades.

Sounds like the simple solution is to get a graduate degree, right? Wrong! According to the Associated Press, the average debt for college graduates already increased 22 percent from 2000 to 2013. And those who go directly into a master’s program after college go on to owe an average total of about $70,000. Students earning a professional doctorate in medicine or law owe an average total of about $128,000 by the time they receive their degrees. So, exactly how are we supposed to get higher income if we can’t afford the graduate degrees that will give us the opportunity for these higher incomes in the first place?

The problem of student debt is a vicious cycle. When college graduates are struggling to pay off their loans because of decreasing incomes, they must delay other major purchases, such as a home or car. When consumer spending decreases, the entire economy slows down and worsens the problem. These issues are still often blamed on the recession of 2008—But that was nearly eight years ago now. Even if things aren’t improving for students in debt, shouldn’t they at the very least not be getting worse?

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Meghan Murphy


Meghan is a third-year Communications and Media student at Northeastern University in Boston. A proud New Jersey native, she is an aspiring writer and producer hoping to someday live in New York City. Meghan loves sushi, exploring new cities (London is her favorite), all things Harry Potter, and spending time with friends and family.