Students in Debt

Visit the Student Financial Aid office in West Hall for more information about student debt. Student debt is something that most people believe they can't live without.

From taking out student loans, to not living within their means, a number of college students face student debt at some point in their four years, and after.

James Zugg, the graduate student assistant at Red to Black, said he believes 75 percent to 80 percent of students face problems with student debt. Red to Black is a student-staffed program that helps other students gain knowledge when it comes to their finances.

“We work with a lot of students who don’t know how to budget and or they get a credit card and they’re maxing out their credit cards and don’t have a way to pay them off,” Zugg said. “I would say another one is taking out more in student loans than what students actually need definitely causes them a lot of stress and it can impact their lives later on down the road.”

Zugg said he also works for a credit union, and has helped people with their student loans.

“When one of the couples that came in they had just paid off their house, and her husband did not know that she had taken out student loans,” Zugg said. “They had to take out another mortgage to pay off her student loans after they just paid off their house (because) her student loans were due and they needed to pay them off.”

Dayton Ahlsted-Barnes, a second-year agriculture economics student from Abilene, said students get into debt in many ways, including getting credit cards and letting the balance snowball.

Being in debt can bring students a multitude of problems, Ahlsted-Barnes said.

“I think there are problems that students face when it comes to debt,” Ahlsted-Barnes said. “It can stop you from furthering your education, lower your credit score and put a lot of stress on the student as debt doesn’t just go away.”

Tech, along with other outside sources like Dave Ramsey, can help students with their debt, Ahlsted-Barnes said. Tech offers scholarships, loans and grants for students.

“Red to Black is a great source. We help students budget and learn to manage their money better,” Zugg said. “The Financial Aid Office is another great resource. Definitely seek out as much free money as you can. There’s a lot of great opportunities at Texas Tech for scholarship opportunities. And you know, don’t take out more loans than what you need.”

Ngoc Tran, a first year pre-med student from Wichita Falls, said he is working on paying for school through loans and his merit scholarship.

Only being a first year student, Tran said he cannot foresee if he will take out a loan in the future. However, Tran said if he were to borrow money and be in debt, he would pay as much as he can during school, then pay the rest after graduation.

“Some tips I would give for students after college that regard student debt would be to not stress too much about it,” Tran said. “Depending on the loan you get, most loans will let you start your payments six months after you graduate. Even then if you manage to accumulate a large amount in loans. Once you have your degree and start your career you’ll realize that it takes no time to pay off your loans.”

Ahlsted-Barnes said he already has a payment plan set into place to pay off his student loans every month.

According to the Tech financial aid website, it costs around $27 thousand per year to attend as an undergraduate student.

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