Editorial: Don’t carelessly borrow money


Leah Stasieluk/Iowa State Daily

Students should be responsible for their student loans; don’t take out money if it’s not possible to pay it back. 

Editorial Board

A frequently publicized problem is students who struggle to finance their college dreams. Less often heard of are the students with more loan opportunities than they know what to do with.

For those who attend in-state universities, tuition can be (relatively) cheap enough that their loan allotment exceeds actual cost of college. Rather than cutting students off at the precise amount that they need to pay tuition, Iowa State allows students to adjust their loans on AccessPlus from $0 to the maximum amount.

This benefits many students for whom tuition is not the only college-related expense. To be able to attend Iowa State, students need a place to live. Because of this, many students are able to use their student loans for monthly rent, groceries and vehicular expenses.

As these expenses are related (though indirectly) to an individual’s education, they should be able to use “student” loans to pay for them.

The ways in which some students struggle to make ends meet is a testament to the frugal nature of college life. Many students throw themselves further into future debt for the sake of a bed to sleep on.

Meanwhile, other students outfit themselves with the season’s latest fashions, eat at restaurants five nights a week or indulge in other frivolous expenditures. To be fair, many of these individuals get spending money from their parents or other family members. However, this isn’t true for everyone.

Because students are able to adjust their loans, it’s possible for them to abuse the borrowed money, spending it on luxuries unrelated to their education. By doing so, these individuals suffer twofold: by denying themselves an important lesson, and by complicating their future financial circumstances.

College is about learning, in more ways than one. There is more to be gained than the knowledge found in the classroom. For students who came to college straight out of high school, college is about growing up, and budgeting expenses is a large part of that. Living four years without the luxuries of life is possible, and it serves as an important lesson to students. Knowing how to live on the cheap is an essential skill.

Additionally, loan money isn’t free money. It has to be paid back with interest. You might think you need that cute pair of boots, or the newest gaming console, but is it worth it when you consider the interest compounded from the years of unpaid loans? Probably not. An individual might not be in a more secure place financially after graduating, so it’s irresponsible to rack up debt for the years down the road.

College debt will be difficult enough to pay off even if you only take out enough for tuition. Students who graduated in 2013 had an average of $35,200 in total debt, which can take decades to pay off. Don’t make it any more difficult by taking out loans for unnecessary spending money.

It’s a student’s responsibility to use the “loan adjuster” provided by Iowa State maturely. On one hand, it’s a bad idea to take out so little in loans that you are forced to eat ramen three times a day. On the other, it’s irresponsible and ignorant to give yourself the luxury of spending money.

With every purchase you make with loaned money, remind yourself, it must be paid back.