Laugh, Then Cry: 11 Hilarious Student Loan Memes Guaranteed to Hit Close to Home”

February 28, 2024

Student debt
Is upping taxes a feasible way to alleviate student debt? Source: Shutterstock

If you ask college students or graduates in the US and UK about their biggest concerns, a common theme emerges: student loans. In the United States, the average student accumulates a hefty $37,172 in student loan debt, often surpassing what some graduates earn in a year of work, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The situation is even more staggering in the UK, where the average debt reaches £34,800, equivalent to $44,800 in the US. Government statistics reveal that a whopping 83 percent of student loans will not be fully repaid before being written off after 30 years.

Student loans have become a more pressing issue for Americans and Brits than geopolitical concerns like North Korea. Despite this, there seems to be a lack of viable solutions from the government to address this significant challenge in higher education. Faced with an inadequate funding system, young people find themselves with no alternative but to endure the current predicament.

In a world that often feels unfair, expressing frustration through memes has become a popular outlet. It might not solve the problem, but it provides a peculiar mix of laughter, stress relief, and a touch of crying. Brace yourself for the strange sensation of expressing discontent through humor.

1. The ultimate paradox

The cycle of student life goes like this: apply for a student loan to get into college > work towards that degree and hope for a good life > graduate > struggle to pay off hundreds of thousands for said student loan > ? Is it too late to have a good life?  > death…

(Okay, so that may be a little dramatic, but it’s all in the name of meme!)

2. The compounding interest in life

Compounding interest is so bad that the only way some have ever managed to pay off their student loan is through some form of insurance settlement that allowed them to write off their debt.

3. Another paradox

When you applied to refinance your student loan debts, and they rejected you because you have “too many financial obligations,” *mind-blown*

4. This tweet raises a much greater question- why do we choose to call it student loan ‘forgiveness’? What did we do wrong?

5. When paying them off is like a six-month trek to the pits of hell

Except that it’s not a six-month-long journey, but decades. In the US, the standard repayment timetable for federal loans is 10 years but it usually takes the average four-year degree holder 19.7 years to fully pay them off.

Across the pond, mechanical engineers earning an average starting salary of £25,000 can expect to pay 100 percent off after 29 years and four months. Graduates going into journalism or publishing, with an average starting salary of £19,000 will only be able to pay back 43 percent of their total student loan after 30 years, the maximum time limit before it’s written off.

6. Working ’til death do us part

While unemployment may be down, wage growth isn’t showing any upward trends in the US. Meanwhile, British graduates face a labor market where high-skilled youth unemployment is higher than the national average. As such, many graduates are looking at a lifetime of work with little possibility of retirement.

7. Adulthood = serfdom

College used to make everyone rich. Not anymore. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with a bachelor’s degree receive median weekly earnings of US$1,189. Still, monthly repayments can go up to hundreds of dollars, using up a substantial chunk of wages that could otherwise go towards a mortgage, car, starting a family, etc.

8. How to get rich… and pay off that student loan fast

Jokes aside, there are some decent ways to repay those student loans faster. There’s the Income Based Repayment Plans created by the Department of Education, where monthly payments are determined by your annual income of the previous year. Those willing to move to Kansas can also benefit from student loan assistance thanks to the Kansas Rural Opportunity Zones program to stem the state’s population decline.

9. When you won the mum lottery and got one that paid off your student debt for you

Hurray for the lucky guy! Now excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out in a corner wishing she was my mum.

10. This is how old you’ll be when you’re done paying

At least it’s over, right?

11. The unfortunate reality of interest accumulation:

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