Alumnus still dealing with school loans 6 years after graduation

By By Andreas Rivera

By Andreas Rivera

In 2003, Shawn Archer graduated from the U with his master’s in mechanical engineering8212;but it was hard to celebrate with about $80,000 of debt because of his student loans.

Archer had taken out a Federal Stafford student loan to help pay for school with a 7 percent interest rate. During his time at the U, he got married, had children and worked a part-time job for a prosthetics company. Archer’s budget was tight8212;even with a fellowship grant that paid for one semester, the debt still stacked up.

“I’ll be making 25 years of monthly payments,” said Archer, who said his payments are about $400 a month.

Bushra Hossain, a freshman in pre-medicine, was taken aback by Archer’s story.
“That’s why I’m scared of student loans,” she said.

With a Federal Stafford loan, the federal government offers a student an amount for the year and the student can take the full amount or less. Students do not have to start paying while in school, but after graduating are obligated to start making payments.

Archer’s advice to students with these loans is to take only the money they need, instead of the full amount the government offers. He took the full amount because he felt he needed it, something he said he might have done differently.

The Alumni Association said it doesn’t offer support or groups that deal with student debt after graduation, but will refer alumni to financial institutions that consolidate and help manage payments, such as National Education Loan Network, the student loan institution that Archer used to manage his loan.

Today, Archer is content and confident that he will be able to pay off his loan.
“I’m not worried,” he said. “I’m making my monthly payments and hopefully, I’ll pay it off.”

[email protected]