Student loan debt is a concern that many millennials face after graduating from college. For Rebecca, student loans have been her biggest barrier to financial independence. Rebecca is in her mid-twenties and a graduate of a private four-year university in the region. Her degree in theatre and fine arts led her back to Buffalo where she now works in healthcare. At some point during her time in college, she decided she did not want to work in her chosen field of study. It’s a relatively good-paying job she has now, with health insurance and benefits. She works in Buffalo’s growing medical corridor.
Rebecca currently lives in on the West Side of Buffalo. She resides with a roommate to reduce her living costs. She moved to the West Side from North Buffalo stating, “North Buffalo apartments are very pricey.” She has been able to save more money in rent living on the West Side. She has no children and she has a car, so she can more easily get around her community. Although living in a less expensive neighborhood and sharing living expenses with a roommate has freed up some of her finances, the money she is able to save has gone towards paying more on her student loans.
“Daily I feel as though, compared to some of my friends, I have a small amount of student loan debt. I feel as though it has held me back from a lot, and there were many sacrifices I had to make [because of the student loans]….Paying $900 a month is absurd. It is a real crisis.”
Rebecca’s goal is to buy a home but she cannot just yet. She is overwhelmed by the student loan debt. She has a car loan now too and a small amount of consumer debt. She has hopes that one day student loan policy will be reconsidered. “We need to turn back and look at the system and think about why they allow an 18 year old to take out that amount of loans.”
Paying $900 a month [for a student loan] is absurd.”