Student loans and debt are huge challenges for young adults to take on,
especially those who pay for college entirely on their own.
Christian Terry is a senior here at Keene State College, and he is paying every penny himself for his education. “Paying through it on my own is definitely stressful, however rewarding in the end knowing that I worked for my college to be paid for,” said Terry.
Likewise, Senior Alexandra Esandrio also puts herself through college, and said it is very stressful, and has caused her to make sacrifices in both her social life and academic life to do this. “I don’t get to put as much effort into my schoolwork if I’m working a ton, “ Esandrio said.
Esandrio was an Resident Assistant [RA] last year, and Terry is currently an RA. Terry said, “The RA job is great because it pays for room and board.”
During the summer, “I have a full time job at home and save up,” and during the school year, “I work in the NOC [Night Owl Cafe] and the game room,” said Esandrio. In addition to this, she said she also works on a farm for her neighbor during the summer.
As if working 40 hours a week isn’t hard enough, Terry said he often works overtime between his two to three jobs. “I worked an eight a.m. through ten p.m. job besides Tuesdays,” but still worked eight a.m. through four p.m. on Tuesday.
Both students receive scholarships which take a bit of the financial stress off of their shoulders.
“It’s comforting knowing it’s there. It keeps me on track with academics, I love school, [and] I push myself for a good GPA [grade point average] to keep that scholarship,” said Esandrio.
Likewise, Terry said he receives the Presidential Scholarship as well as an annual scholarship of $1,000 that he received in high school. “If I didn’t have a scholarship I’d be working a lot more,” Terry said.
Cathy Mullins is the Director of Financial Aid here at Keene State College. She said it is important that students know what resources are available to students for help, “It can make going into repayment less scarier,” said Mullins.
Mullins said there are many income based payment plans where students can have 20 through 25 years to pay off loans, instead of the average 10 year plan. “If they can get a payment that’s 50-100 or month, that’s more doable than a payment that’s 200-300 a month,”
Once students enroll, they can pay as little as zero a month in some cases. “Once you get a job and get yourself settled, then you can increase those payments,” said Mullins.
Both of these students plan to pay off their loans as quickly as possible.
Esandrio said, “My goal I’m really striving for is two years.”
Terry said his goal is to have his loans paid off within 10 years.
While Esandrio said paying college on her own is stressful, she said she feels, “ hopeful that I will have a good future.”
Similarly, Terry said, “It feels rewarding to be able to work and to have my education paid for.”
Izzy harris can be contacted at