Student Debt, The Overlooked Issue: An Interview with VT’s Beth Armstrong

by John Mark Mastakas

Debt. It’s something nobody likes to talk about. Regardless, it’s not an issue to which we can simply turn our backs.

Beth Armstrong, the Director of University Scholarships and Financial Aid at Virginia Tech, believes that in order to beat student debt, the first step is making sure students truly understand what they are dealing with. I spoke with her about how she thinks we can work to stop this growing problem.

“Our greatest challenge is being able to get students and families to really “understand” what having a loan means, and it is a topic about which my staff and I are constantly brainstorming” said Armstrong.

According to Armstrong, at Virginia Tech, 37.5 percent of students rely on some sort of financial aid and 51.4 percent have a student loan. While this is an issue that many students deal with, few confront the it with an assertive and up front approach. Failing to get ahead of one’s student loans can lead to serious consequences, like defaulting on their debt.

While student loan management is something that our higher education system has been trying to cope with for many years, we have yet to see a…

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