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Student Loan Debt and The Current State of Cyber Security

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By: NessaT

December 27, 2018

Federal Loans and the Current State of Cybersecurity

By Nessa Tragos, Cybersecurity Independent Consultant

Will the Current Student Loan Debt Crisis Affect the Current State of Cyber Security?

When I say debt, I'm not talking about technical debt that some companies have. I'm referring to the monetary debt that plagues many young students who attempt to better themselves with a degree that they may or may not use.Lately, I have been reading in the news about the student loan debt crisis. According to Riley Griffin, Federal student loans became the highest debt segment, with a growth of almost 157% since the Great Recession versus mortgages that decreased 1.1%.  Additionally, Federal student loans interest boosted in just less than two years from 3.8% for undergraduate students, and 5.3% for graduate students, to 5% and 6.6% consecutively, according to the Department of Education. On top of that, current students first priority now lies on working to pay their loans rather than spending time studying, shows a study from HSBC, meaning they are learning less and getting less prepared to fill the 301,873 cybersecurity job openings available today. Many are asking if higher education is worth or not. It should be, especially in fields such as cybersecurity that is so in need of talent.One way to deal with this crisis is to allow students to pay just what they spent, eliminating interest rates and, in return, the student, who is now a professional, is required to do pro bono work.  I know doctors and lawyers who do not do pro bono because they are still paying their student loans after over a decade after graduating. And now that cybersecurity is as important as medicine, securing information systems should not be a privilege where some companies can afford to secure their information systems while others, such as small and medium businesses, cannot. Therefore, making education affordable will improve the global cybersecurity posture that needs much improvement.Volunteer work in fields such as cybersecurity would benefit significantly if students did not have to pay Federal loan interests that sometimes can be as much as four times the original cost.  It would be much more valuable to help entities secure information than dealing with the cost of a security breach.  Just last year, the global cost of security breach was $3.86 million, according to a study from IBM. Is this good for the economy.  Not to count the results of a security breach, such as financial loss, loss of reputation, cost of compliance, and legal costs including settlements and judgments. So, what can be done?  A change in Federal loan interest rates would be a start, especially since we must improve the current state of cybersecurity and individuals with higher education level could contribute to improving such.
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