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Financial Crisis Hits Home With Student Loan Repercussions

This story was written by Kate Snyder, The BG News

Bowling Green State University students are finding out you don't need to be a stock broker to be concerned about the nation's recent economic woes.

The financial crisis, which started in the housing an mortgage industry, could potentially spread to the student loan industry and other areas impacting students.

"Imagine a world where nobody can get a loan," said J. Kevin Quinn, an associate professor in the University's economics department. "Businesses would shut down, students would not be able to get loans for school."

It may be hard for some students to understand how people buying homes with loans they could not possibly pay back, could possibly effect their ability to get a student loan. But University economics professor Tim Fuerst explained how the two are linked.

The crisis began when housing prices skyrocketed and crashed, Fuerst said, leaving bad mortgages and loans that couldn't be paid off. Now the banks that gave out those bad loans are in trouble. And because those banks also provide student loans, those students who depend on student loans for their tuition may be taking a hit.

"If the bank doesn't get money coming in, they can't lend money out," Fuerst said, explaining banks aren't getting the money from the housing loans that they expected.

Banks don't keep all the money their customers have. Most is lent out to people, to businesses and to students.

Now the banks and businesses are suffering from the lack of lending, and the government is looking for a bailout proposal that will succeed.

All the news of the recent crisis has started to cause concern among students.

Sophomore Lauren Schaff said it was scary to think about getting a loan or a job after graduation.

Even those who depend on their parents to pay for school are affected because their parents are affected, Schaff said.

She has student loans from her bank, Key Bank, but pointed out that a lot of students are turning to Sallie Mae, a student loan company, instead of private banks.

"If the economy's doing bad, the banks are thinking 'How are we going to get our money back?'" Schaff said.

Sophomore Kevin Gressley heard his bank, Merril Lynch, might go under. But he's not too worried yet.

"Over the summer when I'm wondering if I can come back to BG or not, I'm going to be worried," he said. "Next year, if it gets worse, I'm going to be in trouble."

He thinks there needs to be consequences for whoever started this.

"If we bail them out, it's going to repeat," he said.

Gressley is also concerned with how this will play out on a global scale.

Other countries who depend on the U.S. economy for stability are having to bailout their own economies.

"I'm worried about the economy for more political reasons," senior Aaron Mranca said. "Because it's affecting the world a lot more than it did in the past."

He thinks the economy will be okay and the stock market will come back up.

"It will rebound," he said. "It will come back."

Mranca used to have a few stocks, but gave them up when his family accountant advised him to.

That was a while ago, though. Right now, he doesn't think it's a good idea to take money out of the stock market. But people are.

"People pull back from stocks because they want something safer," Quinn said. "In trying, we bring down the stock market."

It's this kind of fear, he said, that is partly behind the crisis as well. People are withdrawing money and exchanging stocks for safer enterprises.

"It's like rushing out of the theater when someone calls fire," he said.

And as far as fixing the economy goes, most believe it depends on who is elected.

But Mranca still thinks it will eventually even out.

"I'm confident enough there are enough resources to bounce back," Mranca said. "We've withstood worse over the past hundred years."