Struggling for the means

UND students find a way to pay for college expenses. Photo courtesy of

UND students find a way to pay for college expenses. Photo courtesy of

Loans are a drag for some, but a savior for others.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, roughly nine out of 10 high school students attended a public high school, rather than a private high school. Meaning, the grand majority of college students have little to no experience in paying for school. This leads many to ask questions like, “How will I pay for college?”, “How do I apply for loans?” and/or “What is an interest rate?”

After some time to learn, most students find an easy path to funding their futures while in school. For others, the funds are much harder to find. A great loss is out on society when bright minds are left underutilized simply because the cash wasn’t there to get into college.

Holly Nokes is a UND student with a story few can relate to. While in high school, she, her mother, and a few pets found themselves living the basement of another man’s home. The financial struggles reached a point where her mother no longer had to pay rent, because he noticed she was struggling to feed the family.

For those out there who believe the poor are lazy or who believe that those without money are so because of sin or morals, Nokes is the counterexample.

“No. I knew there were programs out there that could help me,” Nokes said.

Now, she’s an ambitious student and makes it all work thanks to the very same loans the rest of us take and a late-night shift at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Keep in mind, Nokes’s story is not a norm for those in her family’s condition. A lot has to go right for someone to find the funds for post-secondary education. The student must start with ambition, potential and a proven record of success in high school. The parents must be supportive of the cause, already know the track to take, and bring the student up in an environment where resources are available.

For many students, it was obvious that college was the next step. They knew they’d have to take out loans. The only variables were which school lessened the burden and how many hours a week they’d have to work. Many take their place for granted, others are just lucky to be where they are. It’s about what you make of it.

Jacob Notermann is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]