As a junior in high school, I find that college has become a daily conversation. However, in numerous households, financial burdens are a barricade to college dreams.

It is outrageous to find that a respected education costs families tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, putting many into never-ending debt.

I was shocked when I first heard the total American student loan debt is around $1.5 trillion, which is surprisingly $521 million more than credit card debt. To this day, student loan debt impacts 45 million Americans and is creating an unnoticed crisis.

Families are not only burdened, but also have to be blindly directed by lenders. As I researched customer service interactions, I found that communications are simply infuriating. Many servicers pressure customers to pursue plans that only augment their debt.

Even with the Truth in Lending Act in place, it is not adequately enforced. This act requires lenders to lay out all financial plans to students but only gives a three-day period to cancel. Even with this act in place, families still suffer from liability of debt.

Utah has the lowest student loan debt in the nation, but this doesn’t mean that we can ignore the situation as many Utahns prefer out-of-state colleges as well.

Education is not only crucial in increasing our knowledge, but it is also a place to further our social skills and establish our personality. Yet with an unattainable education, students are forced to choose between finding prosperity in their interests or avoiding the detriment of future debt.

Tala Shihab, Cottonwood Heights