Americans Drown in Student Debt

Björn Soenens

October 07, 2019

Originally published in VRT News on October 07, 2019.

NOTE: This article originally appeared in Dutch. This is an English translation. 

Studying in the US is increasingly stressful for more people. Most have to work in order to study. This is a crisis, all observers say. "It's a bubble that has to burst sooner or later." Our American correspondant Björn Soenens went on a report.

In Hempstead, on Long Island, I spoke with a democratic senator in and for the state of New York. Kevin Thomas is now a politician, but used to be a lawyer in The Bronx. Kevin is an Indian American. He himself lives with the weight of $ 200,000 study debts.

Kevin is now almost 35 years old and as a young legislator wants to rid the world of student debt. "This is the new bubble. We have seen the mortgage bubble burst, but the student debt bubble is much bigger. Students and graduates who work are almost drowning. We have to find a solution."

As a senator, Kevin Thomas also fights the abuse of financial institutions. He has driven several legislative proposals on this subject through the state legislature. According to Thomas, there are plenty of banks that use usury and keep increasing the interest on student loans. They state that unfortunately only in the fine print of the contract, he says. 

If you talk to Senator Thomas, he stays calm forever, never losing his cool-headedness. Getting angry is not his style, he says. " I don't get angry, I legislate." 

"Our generation is still living at the parents' home, they get a place in the basement. They cannot afford their own house. It is much harder for them to ever to get out of student debt. They are drowning. We have to fix this. "

Read the full article here.