Rhapsody Taylor, 20, a rising junior at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, is a straight-A student. However, she may not be able to return to school in the fall, writes Anna Orso for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Taylor can’t afford tuition costs and her mother’s own $80,000 in student debt has left her without a loan co-signer.
Michael Antoniadis, a 31-year-old from Upper Darby, enrolled at ITT Technical Institute – a now-defunct, for-profit college accused of pushing students into risky loans – in 2012 hoping to get training for a job in computer science.
Miscommunication with the school over his courses forced him to switch programs and pushed back his graduation by a year and a half. Now, he has a student loan debt of $70,000 for what was originally a two-year program.
He can’t get work in computer science, and he’s driving for Uber while caring for his mother and grandmother. His loan payments are on hold, as he’s filed with the Department of Education for a loan discharge.
The student loan debt crisis is particularly acute in Pennsylvania, which at 2016 graduation had the second-highest average debt load in the country at $35,759. Nearly 70 percent of students of four-year institutions in Pennsylvania graduated with some sort of education-related burden that year, the fourth-highest in the nation.
Read more about student loan debt in The Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.