I went to school for acting. It didn’t last long but that was what I thought my passion was at the time and I was going to do anything to get there. But before the end of the first semester, I was kicked out of the program. This launched me on a series of failed majors including but not limited to; English Lit, Anthropology, Poetry, and Creative Writing. I failed at most of these too, eventually moving away from college to live in a dingy apartment while working on the next great American novel.
I did go back and get my degree. In the meantime, I racked up some pretty serious student loan debt while failing and frolicking at various universities. I truly wanted to get myself into a better paying job with benefits and I knew college could help. Right after I graduated I couldn’t afford a car so it severely limited my ability to find a job I wanted living in a small city in upstate New York. I walked two miles to a job prepping at a deli every morning and then walked four miles to a job cooking at a restaurant at night. I worked almost every single day for a few years, a day off was a random occurrence that was usually met with heaps of laundry and back bill paying. My hard work paid off and I was able to buy a car, get a better paying job with my experience, and move into an apartment that I didn’t have to share with hundreds of busy rodents.
Fast forward to today. I’m married and have one child. I still live in the same neighborhood in the same city but now I have a driveway. Off-street parking pride aside, I’m not unhappy with what I have been able to provide my family. We have food and a roof and a car, my wife and I both have jobs and my son is healthy. All in all, I have nothing to complain about.
I am, however, unable to provide one of the essentials of becoming an adult, one of the oldest ways that a boy becomes a man because my student debt load makes me look awful on paper. My back ratio is riddled with student loan debt and this prevents me from being able to take out a favorable loan. My family and I live paycheck to paycheck, so there’s no way to save up enough to put down a sizeable down payment, or any down payment to be honest. Today’s market doesn’t allow for people like me to find a house at the right price. It’s vicious and without a hefty down payment or triple the loan I can get preapproved for, we continue to rent.
This isn’t just a complaint piece. Its honesty and candidness about an issue that lots of the younger generation are facing. We are an educated generation but a price. We won’t know how this will impact future earnings, wages, or buying power until we’re all old and gray, some thirty-plus years from today.
My family and I are not living lavish, our vehicles are old, our neighborhood is not the safest. We’re not inept with our money, we don’t have enough to be inept with, and it will be pretty difficult for me to dig myself out of this issue without the ability to build capital. Something I won’t be able to do unless I could get a better loan and buy a house.
I’m not afraid of work and sweat equity seems to be one of the easiest ways to make some money. But while many of us our asking if college should be paid for, I’m wondering if we should make it common practice to exclude your college loans in a typical back ratio when it comes to purchasing a home, especially a first home. College is meant to be a business and as a graduate, I am a customer. How could my alma mater sit idly by while the reason I can’t take the next step forward is their product?
Asking the right question is what leads to the right answer. So if you’re reading this, tag your alma mater and ask the question; shouldn’t colleges band together and aid their investors, customers, and associates by keeping their debt from showing up on my credit report?