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How high tuition costs and low salaries result in painful student debt for a few journalists

The mix of sky-high educational costs prices and low, stagnant wages has resulted in crushing student debt for a few journalists.

But U.S. President Joe Bidens initiative announced last month could give a light relief, with the potential to wipe around $20,000 in individuals federal education loan debt.

However, this program wont fix the underlying discrepancy between expensive journalism programs and low entry-level salaries, working journalists say. Despite withstanding challenging circumstances to repay student debt, three journalists Digiday spoke with hoped their peers could take advantage of the education loan forgiveness program but argued that it doesnt do much for another generation facing these hurdles.

J-school tuitions often cost a lot more than an annual salary. The 2020 median annual wage was roughly $73,000 for digital news reporters, but just $36,000 for newspaper journalists, in accordance with a Pew Research Center report. Graduate and undergraduate programs at Columbia University and Northwestern University, in comparison, cost around $70,000 per year. The graduate program at UC Berkeley, a public school, costs around $20,000.

Many students undertake loans to pursue studies in journalism. About 73% of these who requested scholarship aid for Columbias journalism masters program received funding, with a median around $40,000 in aid, in accordance with assistant dean Elena Cabral.

However when students graduate, those salaries ensure it is difficult to cover down debt. Columbia and Northwestern journalism students who took out federal loans earned a median of significantly less than $50,000 2 yrs after graduating, in accordance with reporting by The Wall Street Journal.

Colleges face a hardcore sell to greatly help journalism students rectify the expense of the education contrary to the pay for the task, Al Tompkins, senior faculty at non-profit journalism organization Poynter Institute, said within an email. Tompkins said hes spoken to students who often leave school with thousands with debt for jobs that pay a comparable being an assistant manager of a Smoothie King.

A FRESH York Times reporter who asked never to be named told Digiday she visited NY Universitys journalism school to create contacts in the town. It cost around $70,000, and she didn’t have financial help from family. When she started her first job at an electronic news site in 2010, she was earning around $40,000 per year and making $1,000 monthly premiums on her behalf debt. She switched jobs every couple of years to obtain raises and worked side jobs.

It had been pretty brutal, she said. In the event that you dont result from family money, you need to find out another system Theres lots of moonlighting happening.

The reporter paid her debt in 2018, 10 years after graduating. Despite how difficult her experience was, the reporter applauded the education loan forgiveness program.

Removing 10 grand from someone whos middle income? It really is life-changing. I dont want any one else to have to proceed through [what I did], she said.

Katie Herzog, co-host of the Blocked and Reported podcast and former writer at Seattle publication The Stranger, is nearly 40 yrs . old and still paying down her student education loans. Herzog wont take advantage of the program and doesnt think its a good deal.

I dont think this does anything to handle the primary cause of the expense of education, she said. I am aware that when youre someone who advantages from this, its likely to look great. But I simply dont observe how this fixes anything for students of tomorrow.

Writer and consultant Hanna Brooks Olsen was the initial person in her family to graduate from college and her parents encouraged her to obtain loans for school. The price of a journalism masters degree put Brooks Olsen off that path, so after graduating having an English degree, she worked multiple gigs, including at Seattles public radio station.

Brooks Olsen took on marketing jobs, rarely traveled and found extra freelance work to cover down her debt. At one point, she was making $1,500 payments per month on her student education loans. She had fantasy dreams in her sleep of paying her final installment. She finally made that dream possible a couple of years ago.

Regardless of the toll student debt took on her behalf, Brooks Olsen continues to be so happy for other folks to obtain their [loans] paid. There isn’t a shred within me who feels as though Im obtaining the short end of the stick if other folks get forgiven.

The only real reason I could pay back my student debt is due to a lot of different little ways I acquired lucky. Thats their lucky break, she said.

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