Students hope Obama can bring solution to debt crisis

By Matt Porter

August 20, 2013 Updated Aug 21, 2013 at 5:26 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) When President Barack Obama speaks on Friday at Binghamton University, he will address the so-called student loan debt crisis.

In 2013, the total student debt in the United States surpassed $1 trillion, which is three times more debt than there was 10 years ago.

BU senior Zoe Davis-Chanin said money has been the hardest test in her last four years.

"It's the biggest constraint," said Davis-Chanin, 21. "It's why it affects the job I would take, the path I would go on. It affects the whole outcome of my entire life."

Despite choosing a state school with lower tuition, she's still graduating with more than $40,000 in debt.

More than 37 million students have debt averaging nearly $30,000 per person.

She said it's too much to pursue what she wants: A graduate degree in sociology.

"I found what I love and what I want to do. But it seems almost unfeasible to pursue my dreams because of the debt, essentially."

Instead, she is delaying her education.

She's planning to take a few years off to work full time or more.

Corey Ray, 24, also stopped pursuing a degree in education after three years at Morrisville Community College in Norwich left him with $20,000 in debt.

"At the urging of most everybody I knew, they said 'You're smart, you should go to college,'" Ray said. "I said that seems like an OK idea, get a better education."

But the debt mounted, and Ray decided instead to take a job like his father as a carpenter, and his dream behind him.

"I wanted to help kids, I wanted to be a teacher," he said, "And teach the lessons that our history has and help them shape their future."

Ray makes a little more than $15,000 a year now.

Factoring in loans and taxes, Davis said he makes less than $6.50 an hour.

"The ladder to the middle class is made of rotten wood," he said. " It's a scary process trying to climb it."

With more debt weighing down students, the ladder is becoming harder to climb.

It's an issue students are sure to raise with the president this Friday at the University Union.