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Paying Student Loans

We’ll look at the new battle over student loans and what Americans pay.

In this Oct. 6, 2011 photo, Gan Golan, of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degrees," holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt, during Occupy DC activities in Washington. (AP)

In this Oct. 6, 2011 photo, Gan Golan, of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degrees," holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt, during Occupy DC activities in Washington. (AP)

Student loans are steamrolling a lot of Americans’ personal finances these days.  College costs a bundle.  Debt shows up way before the diploma.  The burden can crimp lives and last a lifetime.  This summer, the interest rate on a lot of federal loans is due to jump – double – from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Now that’s a political football.  But the whole thing is no game.  More student loan debt than credit card debt in this country now.  A trillion dollars.  For millions it’s a ball and chain.  Our new indebted servitude.

This hour, On Point:  the new battle over student debt.

-Tom Ashbrook



Claudio Sanchez, education correspondent for National Public Radio.

Heather Jarvis, a student loan consultant who runs the website askheatherjarvis.com.

Sarah Stemen, investigative reporter with the Lantern, the Ohio State University student newspaper. She is a senior at Ohio State. You can find one of her articles on student debt here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Time “Every few weeks now a petition pops up in my Facebook newsfeed urging the government to forgive all student debt. The comment from the person posting the petition usually goes something like this, “Guessing this will never happen, but can’t hurt to sign on!””

Wall Street Journal “Total U.S. student-loan debt outstanding topped $1 trillion last year, according to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and it continues to rise as current students borrow more and past students fall behind on payments.”

Chicago Tribune “A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last month found that total student debt — a staggering $870 billion — was more than Americans owed on their credit cards. A more recent report, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, put that figure higher: Federal and private student loan debt have shot past the trillion dollar mark.”

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  • Zero

    Paying for exorbitant student debt and saving for your kids rising college tuition at the same time doesn’t leave much for consumerism or the American Dream. 

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Forgiving student debt carries as much moral hazard as forgiving credit card debt: People choose to go into debt to go to expensive schools while others choose not to go into debt by going to less expensive schools.

    At least some who go to expensive schools are aiming to join the 1% and I wish them well with their calculated risk. However, I’ll be angry if I hear my tax money is going to bail them out because their calculation bumped into the reality of a recession.

    • Ironman

       Richard, do you have kids? And what is with the direct correlation that going to “expensive” schools automatically equals wanting to join the 1%? That’s absurd.

      So, in your mind, you essentially think that kids of lesser means should opt for community college instead of an admission to Yale if that’s what they can afford? Nice. Another way of saying to poor or even middle class kids, “who do you think you are” and “know your place,”–stay confined, and stay shackled.

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        No, I’m not attempting to make a class issue out of it, but I’m saying that if you get into Yale and you can’t find a way to pay for it without going into debt, then you have to calculate if going to Yale is worth going into debt for.

        Is the difference between going to Yale with debt and going to U-Mass without debt worth carrying the debt for? And, if it is then great, I don’t have a problem with it at all. I only have a problem with the moral hazard of attempting to have that student debt forgiven since it was taken on voluntarily when there were other options.

        When I was applying to graduate schools (many years ago) I got into two: a private and very highly respected school which would have required a student loan and offered no assistance, and a state university that was a lot more affordable and offered me a graduate teaching fellowship which meant if I chose that school I’d not only pay no tuition but would have a teaching job while in school. I chose that school rather than the elite school and graduated with no debt and enough experience from the GTF to land a decent teaching job.

        I’m not denying that I might have had a better education at the private school or that the degree from that school might have meant more but had I chosen that school and gone into debt that risk was on my head. To blame the job market or the school after the fact seems odd to me.

        • Anonymous


          Chances are that if you went to Yale, Harvard, or some other “elite” school, you are less likely to be struggling with debt.  By going to those schools, you are more likely to get a job that pays you enough to pay off the loan or you’ve received enough non-loan financial assistance to ease the burden.  Ivy leaguers are not the ones debt-relief will help.  It will help the kids and parents of kids who went to colleges who are trying to appear to be more like Harvard and MIT by investing more and more money into providing a “lifestyle” rather than helping kids graduate without debt.  We all want to go to college because we were taught that the best and surest way to the american dream was college or finding a well paying job providing a service to a company that you can call home until you retire.  One of these options is no longer available, through no fault of the worker mind you, and the other, college degree, is quickly moving out of reach for many people. 

          In addition, nothing burns me more than people who make broad assumptions about others with little or no empathy.  It’s great that you had the opportunity to take graduate with little to no debt.  I did notice that you stated “many years ago.”  You should think about that.  The cost of everything has increased exponentially from “many years ago” and who’s to say you’d be offered the same opportunity of a fellowship and that that state university would be as affordable now as then. Trust me, state schools are not as inexpesive as they once were.  

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            I agree with everything you say NPRJunkie, including that I’m basing some of my opinion on experience in a time that’s long gone.

            However, my point is simply that choosing to go into debt to go to college is a choice. I wish nothing but the best to those who make that choice and I hope they land the kinds of jobs that allow them to pay off the debt easily.

            Asking for the debt to be forgiven when the right job is not landed is what bothers me.

            And, while state universities are in fact more expensive than they were when I went they’re still cheaper than BU or Yale.

  • U.S. Vet.

    In the Fall of 2008,

    Goldman Sachs got bailed out by the for-profit, privately-owned, ‘Federal’ Reserve at an interest rate of 0.025%.

    Since the federal goverment and the ‘Federal’ Reserve created the economic crisis with their policies, at minimum, the Feds should forgive all college debt, or at least lower the interest rate to 0.025% for (federal) Stafford loans, the same way the ‘Federal’ Reserve presently bails out big Wall Street banks and foreign banks at a quarter of 1% interest, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.

  • Gregg

    Anytime anyone goes into debt it’s a calculated risk. There was a time when a college degree was the best way to a better life. Any degree was better than no degree. The paradigm has shifted and that is no longer true.

    • Anonymous

      No, it’s still true. Having a college degree is better than not having one. What has shifted is the cost.
      If one has a degree in technology, which has more jobs than people to fill them right now, you’re in pretty good shape.

      • Gregg

        “Having a college degree is better than not having one.”

        In very general terms, yes but I was making a slightly different point. It is no longer true that any degree is better than no degree. There is just too much information available in this information age. You can learn brain surgery on the internet.

        • AC
          • Gregg

            Thanks AC, that’s a hoot.

        • Anonymous

          “You can learn brain surgery on the internet.” I don’t know about you but if I need to have surgery I’m hoping my surgeon went to medical school, did their residency and is a licensed MD.

          That’s a pretty absurd comment, one can learn to be a brain surgeon on the internet.
          One can learn to be an idiot on the internet as well.

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        Although many “making it” in the tech world have MBAs, not computer science degrees.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      I agree with both of your thoughts:

      Taking out a loan for pay for college is a calculated risk.

      There are now an over abundance of college graduates going after too few jobs which devalues the degree as a means to getting a good job (but of course not in having an educated, literate and worldly population).

  • AC

    obv. there is a problem with this loan system, but i am concerned about simply ‘forgiving’ it – what was the money (if correctly paid back) slated for? does it fund other student’s getting a chance at education? research? what? where was the money supposed to go that won’t be fulfilled if people simply don’t pay it back……?

  • Ironman

    Thank heavens we are at least talking about this topic. We are raising four children, all of whom worked hard in school, and got into top private colleges. We have tried to mitigate their debt as much as possible, but all but one will graduate with loans. One child attended Colby College that gives aid only in the form of grants, as to not saddle students with debt. Bless Colby for using their money this way.

    I will advise others who have children to get to a financial adviser who UNDERSTANDS THE FINANCIAL AID SYSTEM and start protecting whatever assets you have NOW. It doesn’t matter what your means. The vulture that is tuition will take every last bit of your savings/assets unless you understand the system and protect yourself. Yes, it is a system, and you can protect yourself against its gaping maw. You can create a financial profile allowing you effectively to pay public college tuition at private institutions. It’s true because we’ve done it.

    Even though we took steps to protect our assets, we are still burning through a chunk of our home’s equity. But, it’s a lot less than if we than we would have. It’s made the difference between making top education possible for our children and not creating a precarious future for ourselves in the process. But believe me, it’s hard enough as it is.

    What colleges have done with the rates of tuition is criminal. Next years, tuition room and board will be $57,000 for EACH of our two kids. Who can afford that?! Well, truth is plenty of my kids friends pay full freight, but that’s another story altogether….

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      You and your kids chose to go to colleges that are “top” and “private” and expensive. Congratulations on your kids getting into those schools but it was your choice to take out home equity loans to pay for them. There were no doubt other schools you and your kids could have chosen that would have been more affordable and yes, less “top.”

      That leads to the question: what do you get out of going to Colby (or private school X) that you don’t get out of going to your state university and paying in-state tuition? If that difference is worth the risk of carrying debt then that’s a risk you take and hopefully it pays off.
      I’m not defending the high tuition rates of elite schools but in fact, as long as you create a demand in spite of those high rates by going into debt to send your kids there, the schools will charge those rates.

      • Ironman

        Read again. We are paying state tuition rates at these private schools because of the financial aid planning we did. Still a burden even at that level. I did not say home equity loans, I said equity. No loans.

        Our son, as a neurology resident at Johns Hopkins seems to bear out that the cost of sending him to a “top” undergrad program has paid off. Going to the public community college that we could afford, no questions asked, I doubt would have gotten him there.

        Let me ask you again, do you have kids?

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          “sending him to a “top” undergrad program has paid off.”

          Then great, that’s the answer to the question.

          However, that might not be a formula for everyone: my guess is some folks start at community colleges and state universities and still get into Johns Hopkins medical school.

          But, your point is taken: going to a better undergraduate school might help make a top rated med school possible. That risk, if you decide to take it, is calculated. That’s my point. I don’t begrudge anyone for taking it but it’s a risk.

          One could also go into debt at Yale and not get into med school. One still has a fine Yale undergraduate education but a bit less potential means to pay back the loans.

          I do have (step) kids: one who went to college and grad school and is carrying student loans, one who didn’t.

          I was against the debt carrying but we’ll be helping to pay it back over the next few years as we can afford it.

    • William

      If you look at the rewards of a good degree the costs really are not so bad. A person will work on an average of 40 years after college so even if you pay 300k for a medical degree that is not so expensive.

    • Charles A. Bowsher

      I am obviously ignorant what your statement “You can create a financial profile”  actually means, but it sounds like to me you took advantage of the private colleges generosity by lying about your financial need or assets.  If so then how much did that “cost” you?, How much does it “cost” your kids to learn that lesson? How much will it “cost” the rest of us to have yet another generation of “entitled” people running around?

  • Vicki

    Sending our three kids to college wreaked havoc on our finances. But we did it anyway in order to give them “a good future” that hasn’t come to pass. We also sent them because it kept them safely on our health insurance plan! The issues of health insurance and college tuition are strongly linked.  

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       Not if the Supreme Court overturns Health Care!

  • http://www.michiganbankruptcyblog.com/ John

    Looking forward to this important discussion, but your panel is lacking the frontline defense that troubled borrowers turn to: a bankruptcy lawyer. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer or National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyers (NACBA) representative could help shed a lot of light in this discussion as to the impossibility of paying these debts that many, many borrowers are confronted with. Confession: I am such an attorney, and it is a real heart-breaker that, thanks to the 2005 BAPCPA Bankruptcy Code amendment by Congress, I can do virtually nothing to help these people.  

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       That would be brought to you courtesy of a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican President!

       Same people who want to privatize Social Security and give Alzheimers patients “Vouchers” to purchase Medicare coverage.

  • Hidan

    Can’t really agree with the folks complaining about student loans,if someone is going to go to a school that’s say 30k/40k/50k a year they should expect an high student loan repayment fee. I or other taxpayers shouldn’t have to bail them out.

    Can’t do anything with that liberal arts degree that cost 80k to get? sucks for you. leave me out of it. The loans done outside the school systems are the ones to watch out.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Why get a 80K student loan and ending up in McDonald’s counter.

  • aj

    Before 1966 when Ronald Reagan became Governor, California’s PUBLIC junior colleges, teachers colleges, and universities were tuition free with no fees. And with virtual open admissions for student residents of the Golden state. This public system of post-secondary education was the epitome of the ‘American Dream’ and the envy of the Nation.

    But in retaliation for protests on the Berkeley campus emanating from the righteous Free Speech Movement started by the legendary Mario Savio on December 2 1964 with his ” put your bodies upon the gears ” speech in the student quad. Governor Reagan not only cracked down on students in a brutal fashion, but he imposed draconian “fees” on them as punishment and to  ‘teach them a lesson.’


    Before 1975, the public municipal City University of New York system of junior colleges, state colleges, and universities were tuition free with no fees. CUNY was known historically and proudly as ‘the Harvard of the proletariat.’ 

    But in retaliation for righteous protests in 1969 by black and puerto rican students who ‘Occupied’ a number of campuses city-wide demanding integration, because though it had been technically ‘open admissions’ in practice the powers that be systematically maintained a predominately white student body. So in retaliation the ruling elite of the city used their power in City Hall to punish these righteous students and their quest for the ‘American Dream’ (long denied), and imposed draconian “fees” on them for the first time ever under the guise of fiscal constraints.


    Both are disgraceful acts done by and for the 1%. Know your history people.

    Long Live Mario Savio!! Long Live Stokely Carmichael!!!  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Makes you wonder if they didn’t stimulate the ‘occupations’, to have an excuse to impose Draconian Measures?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    In Germany the government in courage young people to take Vocational school training like automotive techinicians and get compensated $1,000 a month and after graduation those students will work for BMQ, Mercedez or Porsche.

    6 to 2 year degree and get paid well without the stress of repaying THOSE STUDENTS LOANS.

    In American students takes Bachelor’s degree, Master and PHD and STILL ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH LIFE AND STILL ENDING UP PAYING thousands of unpaid students loans.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      my bad BMW and technician

  • Goldbug

    Lowering the interest rate on this debt is a good step but partial or total forgiveness is brainsick…

  • Fred from Newton, MA

    High interest rates on student loans is legalized piracy.  The bank/lender gets really cheap money from the taxpayers, then lends it, secured, at 3x the current cost.  Just like taxes, student loans can not be discharged in bankruptcy.  Unless a person dies, he/she pays the loans (and there is always life insurance which could be required…).  So, why should the interest rate be far greater than other well-secured loans?  Because —  plutocrats like the Romneys have decided to “pay themselves first”, enabled by lawmakers, like Senator Scott Brown, who have made it possible.   Little risk, high reward to the lenders and the politicians they support.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68


    Pharmaceutical, Student loans and Health insurance companies causes burden in American life.

  • Victor Vito

    I graduated from a state university in the mid-nineties.  Tuitiion has QUADRUPLED since then.  I paid off my loans in 5 years.  I fully understand why repayment is almost impossible now.  Yet another fissure in the American Dream.

  • Victor Vito

    What would happen if interest were made illegal.  I wonder what the honest answer to this question is?

    • Ray in VT

      In general or just on student loans?

      • Victor Vito

        I guess in general.  Interest and loans aren’t a law of nature.  Would a world withut interest send mankind back to the stone age? 

    • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

      You would have to pay for everything including your house and car with the cash in your pocket or stuffed in your mattress. Oh, and try raising the funds to pave that road or build that high school sans a bond market. Bond market is bigger than the stock market.

      • Ray in VT

        You’re probably pretty right on.  Interest is one of the ways that individuals/institutions make money.  If you take away the the profit, then banks won’t loan.  They’re in it to make money.  I think that it’s necessary to make the system function.

    • AC

      if you are a true christian, from what i understand, it is a sin to deal with loans (or any monetary/business transactions) where ‘interest’ is involved.
      Somebody told me recently muslims still live by this rule, & often bury boxes of cash in their yards….i’m not sure i believe that

      • Ray in VT

        There may be some Biblical, or at least institutional, prohibitions against it, which, I have always heard, is why Jews were so highly active in banking in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, when Christians were generally not allowed, or at least discouraged, from banking.

      • Drew You Too

        Ahhhh, the good old Money Changer principle. The Money Changers are now globally the most financially rewarded and coddled individuals on the Planet. I seem to recall a story that the only time Jesus became angry was when the Money Changers had set up shop in The Temple. Wonder how pissed he’d be at the current state of affairs?

  • Guest

    I was thinking about getting an M.A. in an obscure subject.  Don’t need the degree, though.  Tuition is so outrageous that it’s not worth it.  It’s going to be cheaper and better quality to hire a tutor via skype.  Today there is no need for a physical campus, except for a library.

    • Ehdoss

      This will be the real downfall of our country.

      The idea that you can do everything from the internet and there is no value in the classroom or teacher is wishfull thinking.  Face to face interaction and face to face responsibility are lost on the web.  All real advancements in society are made with real things and real action.  It’s tougher in front of the teacher, that’s why it’s worked for all these years.  Otherwise books would have replaced the classroom 300 years ago. 

  • Ray in VT

    I took out some 60k in student loans in order to get my BA and MS.  It hurts to pay it back every month, but I knew what I was getting into, and I knew that I would be able to get a better paying job in my field than I would have without the degrees.

    I was able to lock in low rates with flexible repayment options.  If the rates do actually double, then it will be much more difficult for students to pay back their loans.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    WHY should Student Loans pay interest HIGHER than Prime Rate paid by largest banks?   Education IMPROVES our country!

    • Drew You Too

      “WHY should Student Loans pay interest HIGHER than Prime Rate paid by largest banks?”

      Not my view but I think it comes down to something as simple as this: If you can’t keep them ignorant, keep them poor.

    • Jasoturner

      Follow the money.  Improving our country has nothing to do with it…

  • Jim

    I thought student loan and college tuition would trigger the collapse of this great nation. but i did not bring foreign students especially students from china into the equation. I really underestimate this market force.

    I just do not see college tuition going down. Unfortunately, our cultural value will take a hard, hard hit unless the Federal government step in and help alleviate this problem. I just do not see it if we have a conservative group in the house and senate and we would definitely not see it if mitt romney gets elected. he is simply an elitist who strongly believes in maintaining the have and have not in this country.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    IF more of these students got into Trade Union Apprenticeships, they would get an education in a needed skill, AND get paid for the job experience that is part of the Apprenticeship!
       Other benefits are included!

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       What if you are in a right to work state?

  • Jasoturner

    Health care and education.  Two enterprises that should be liberated from the grasp of capitalism and accepted and funded as a fundamental component of a cultivated and civilized society.

    • Anonymous

      I agree, but you wont see that happening in this country.

      • aj

        Forgive the intrusion, but California public post-secondary schools were tuition free, no fees, pre 1966!

        As well, New York City public post-secondaty schools were tuition free, no fees, pre 1975!

        • aj

          Something like 85% of Higher ed students attend PUBLIC schools. We need to make PUBLIC higher ed tuition FREE with no fees!

          Charge for room and board, but get rid of the bells and whistles. School is school! NOT an amusement park!

          Also, faculty health insurance is killing public college budgets. If we had medicare for all, this problem would disappear!

      • Jasoturner

         Highly ironic.  I was talking to my old college advisor from B.U.’s engineering department.  He indicated that kids were using the internet to get answers for engineering problems rather than calculate the answers themselves.  Which means, those kids are using the (free) internet to satisfy their requirements at a school that probably costs $30K a year to attend!

        That said, maybe the internet does have the potential to educate at low cost.  The potential would seem to be there.

        • AC

          lets see them try and pass the FE!!

        • Ironman

           $30K? Try $59,100 for the comprehensive fee. Mind blowing, isn’t it?

  • Alison in MA

    When my brother was sworn into the Marine Corps a year ago, each new recruit was asked why they chose that path for their lives. Nearly every one cited the chance to get an education as a major reason for signing up to be placed in harms’ way. My choice was to enter into a crippled economy with more than 20k in debt. For my brother and people like him, the chance at an education may cost life or limb. For me, there is the less dire cost of ever present financial anxiety, delaying marriage and starting a family, and potentially foregoing a career serving others in order to feed myself. On the surface, these seem to be personal choices but to me, it feels as if our futures are being held hostage.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    16 tons – student loans are the bank’s 21st century version of sharecropping and mining towns.

  • Glenn Koenig

    This is nothing more than a society riddled with rapacious people and institutions, desperately looking for vulnerable populations to exploit financially.  Our cultural meme that “everybody should go to college” is ripe for exploitation by the colleges themselves, the government, banks, you name it.  High school students are vulnerable to manipulation.  The attitude toward the student is simply, “we got your money, you got your degree, so good luck, pal!”

  • Walworth Samuel

    My biggest surprise comes from the fact that, most of us Americans pay extra ordinary high fees for education (many in terms of loans) and hit the career path.
    Where as Immigrants (Legal and White Collar) from other countries come here with ZERO student loans and always get a heads up in the game.

    Should I think its fair?

  • Mazie

    Colleges and Universities will continue along this current path of huge pricetags with no promise of preparing students for the workfoce as long as consumers continue to pay the price tag.  A Massachusetts University President recently made a statement that the Federal government needs to make it easier for students to obtain more $$ to fund their education.  This is higher education leadership…more student debt?  They’ve been getting away with this far too long!

  • Julia

    Ten years later, I’m still paying off my student loans from law school and my husband is paying off his college loans, too. Buy a home? Have children? Savings account? Are you kidding me?

    • Anonymous

      I know other fellow law grads that are scavenging for jobs- even one that took a 25K/yer job just to have some experience, while there might be 40% of people now not practicing law. While tuition keeps going up, law schools are becoming cash cows. Applications are down however.

  • Parent

    We just went through the college admission process. Our “expected family contribution” according to FAFSA is under $10K, yet one college gave our child only loans! We think it’s because our home value has skyrocketed (in boston area), so the message is we should take out a 2nd mortgage! Fortunately we received good aid packages elsewhere, and we’re hoping to cap the student loan at $20 to $25K over the 4 years — IF we can somehow pull an extra thousand a month out of our income and savings.

  • Anonymous

    I did everything I was supposed to do- valedictorian in high schoo–economics degree and then pursued a professional degree in law/business. Now I am overqualified for entry-level jobs and underqualified for jobs with experience.  Schools are becoming cash-cows and are not required to do anything to help alums. Now I face “fleeing” the country since I’ll never be able to pay back my loans.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    Why doesn’t Congress take about $150 billion (about 2 months in Afghanistan) and absorb a good chunk of the college-related debt owed by current and recent students? Its not all of it but it would make a big difference to those of us bogged down by having to shell out anywhere from 50%-90%+ of our post-tax income.

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       Same reason everyone is up in arms about the $850,000 GSA party in Vegas.  To keep us in a frenzy about side issues instead of all the elephants in the room.

  • Parent

    Another problem is that, as the maximum for federal student loans goes up after freshman year, the colleges all seem to reduce their grants by the same amount the loan rises! How can kids avoid taking out a larger loan when the college is yanking money away from them? 

    And if the family tries to earn more money to pay for college (I’m considering adding a part-time job to my work life), the grant goes down too. 

  • http://www.agingwithstudentdebt.org/WELCOME AWSD

    if colleges would focus more $ on the costs of education rather than all the frills like facilities and sports (that have nothing to do with education) it would drive the costs down…tuition increases are not all due to cuts in state funding!

    • aj

      Here’s a great example for you. Do you know who the highest paid employee of the Federal Government is?

      The head coach of the ARMY football team!! And this problem is drastically worse at state schools!

  • Guest

    Why are we only focused solely on oans and not the skyrocketing cost of college, or the fact that people take loans in majors that have no return?  

    In otherwords: Do all colleges need to be in a rat race for research and all the huge costs associated with that?  Can’t colleges just teach?  Do we need to give loans to students whose job prospect is minimal to none?  Should we give loans out to people who simply can’t pay it

    I want loans to be affordable for all, but let’s not be smart about it.  Radical reforms are needed not tweaks.

    • Drew You Too

      Research and the huge associated costs aren’t the primary problem. Administrative costs are where the cutting should begin.

  • Tncanoeguy

    It seems that the cost of higher ed is the problem – increases well above inflation.  Colleague of mine who was in higher ed talks about all the deanlets on campus and administrative bloat.  Competitive schools compete for students with more and better amenities which probably forces less competitive and less financially stable schools to attempt to compete, which they can’t.  Not sure what to do about that but…  My daughter is lucky that we can send pay for her education at a selective school ($55 K per year).  Are the colleges doing enough to help less capable families?   

  • T. in Virginia

    I have over $100,000 of student loan debt, and paying it back seems nearly impossible.  While it may be good public policy to lower the burden on me and others like me, I want to be very clear about one thing: this student loan burden is MY responsibility, not the government’s, not my neighbor’s.  These loans enabled me to go to college and law school, both at top institutions, and without them I would not have been able to go to those schools.

    If it makes sense as a society to lift some of this burden: great.  But people in my position should not complain about the gift we’ve been given.  I knew the costs and agreed to them–what kind of a man would now put that responsibility on someone else?

    • Walworth Samuel

      Guess what, the Chinese, Indian, Australian, Irish, British, Norwegian colloegue of yours, dont have that 100k loan on them.

      Dont be surprised that their govt. gave them almost free education and sent them here to start a family and own a house as soon as they land.. but for you..  be thankful for the 100k loan you got.

      • BHA in Vermont

         And they probably charge the same many hundreds of dollars/hour for their legal services.

        • T. in Virginia

          People graduating today and in the last few years with a law degree are NOT finding well-paid legal jobs.  Obviously, large student loan debt is not a problem if you end up making a large salary upon graduation.  Many law graduates today make $20-$40K/year, which is not enough to repay $100,000+ of debt.

          I’m not interested in discussing the legal hiring market–I just wanted to quickly address this point.

      • T. in Virginia

        If the people of America should decide tomorrow that education should be funded in such a way as to lessen the debt burden of people like me, fine.  But do I have some God-given RIGHT to reach into my neighbor’s pocket to pay for my college and graduate education?

        I merely state that one should bear the burden of one’s own agreements.  With each loan, I agreed to be bound by the terms of that loan.  True, I might have benefitted from better advice when I was 18, but that hardly excuses my responsibility.

        A few generations ago, someone like me–intelligent but poor–would not be able to attend two top colleges.  Now, student loans make that a reality.  We debt-burdened graduates should dilute our resentment with a healthy share of gratitude.

        • Walworth Samuel

          T, I am in no way emphasis that one should make merry with others hard earned money.

          At the same time charging a cost prohibitive fees for many of the programs is simply like killing the golden goose out of the greed.

          I am saying this because, its no longer the 20th century, things have changed and so we must also adapt.

          The rest of the world has caught up with us and want to have their own fare share in the global game, and if we continue to ignore our own people, then the life as we knew it, will no longer be available for our generations soon to come.

          • T. in Virginia

            Fair enough.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Thank you for that T. I appreciate your comment.

      I think the interest on student loans should be as low as possible or lifted altogether and maybe one way to take some of the weight off of a large debt is to create ways for professionals like you to work it off by doing public service.

      I hate to have the federal government create yet another layer of bureaucrats but maybe there ought to be a clearinghouse for people with debt and skills to offer the skills to others as a way to pay back the debt. You do free legal counseling to people who can’t afford a lawyer and the federal government pays back some of your debt.

      Sort of like Americorp after the fact.

  • Mike in PA

    Colleges will continue to increase tuition so long as states continue to cut in other areas and so long as the federal govt continues to subsidize post-secondary education with low rates and bankruptcy protection.  The federal govt needs to, right now, pass legislation that does not protect institutions which offer diplomas without being able to place those students into jobs.  The federal govt needs to, right now, pass legislation permitting students to pay off loans at an amount closer to principal.  The federal govt needs to, right now, permit graduates to write-off college debt from their social security benefits.

  • Andy

    I’m not paying my loans. If you can find a way to live off of less than around $800 a month, they can’t garnish your wages. I resent the fact that I was encouraged by adults, such as parents and school counselors, to take on large amounts of debt to obtain my worthless bachelor’s degree. High school students are not adequately prepared to make this type of financial decision. The idea of working at a call center for the next 20 years to pay these loans back is appalling.

  • Erin in Iowa

    I keep hearing stories from people who “worked their way through college” – of course that was in the sixties and seventies.  What was the average price of tuition in relation to average salary in those days? What is the growth rate of college tuition over the last 40 to 50 years?

    • http://www.agingwithstudentdebt.org/WELCOME AWSD

      Since 1980: Salaries
      for full-time instructors has approximately kept pace with the rate of
      inflation and many colleges seek out part-time instructors to keep their
      costs down.The consumer price index rose 179%.The cost of medical care is up 436%.The cost of tuition has skyrocketed by an alarming 827%, far exceeding CPI and even out of control healthcare costs. The actual cost of education has approximately kept pace with inflation.


      • Tncanoeguy

         Are the customers to blame?  We expect every medical test possible, fancy dorms and dining rooms.  Or is it administrative bloat? 

        • http://www.agingwithstudentdebt.org/WELCOME AWSD


    • Tncanoeguy

       Look up Virginia Foxx – US Congress (tea party) from North Carolina.   She says she worked through college, didn’t need loans, blah blah.   Here education at UNC in the 60′s would cost $46 K in today’s dollars.  The actual cost for four years at UNC today is more like $141 K.  Hard to pay for that with a minimum wage job. 

    • aj

      Your spot on. As usual. my opinion

  • P.R.

    $140,000 in undergraduate and graduate debt and no job prospects in my field.  Add a 21-month old, whom I should be saving for.  What horrible decisions I made!  If only I could turn back time…

  • Kbeau5

    Boston College will be $58,735 for students entering next fall. We received $15,000 in aid. How does a middle class family fill that gap? Off to UMass Amherst, which is ONLY $25,000.

  • Matt Renaud

    Graduated from a Vermont state college with a B.A. in 2010 and have not been able to find a job with my degree.  Currently a few thousand over the average debt load.  Vermont gets some of the least state assistance for its in-state students.  Have enrolled into an M.A. program in order to defer my loan payments, but it seems like a big risk.  Will it pay off in the end?

  • SK

    Tom, please ask your guests to discuss the treatment of student debt in the U.S. Bankruptcy code.  The courts have read the code to require an impossible standard a debtor must meet to get student loans discharged.

    • http://www.agingwithstudentdebt.org/WELCOME AWSD

       The popular argument against discharging student loans in
      bankruptcy is that it will be abused–although at the time Federal loans were
      dischargeable, less than 1% were discharged–hardly an abuse.  The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 include a number
      of safeguards to prevent abuse and fraud and make it
      difficult to file bankruptcy.  It is also important to note that there is no evidence that
      student loan debtors are more likely than other borrowers to file for

      • SK

        Well noted, AWSD. Also, with the reforms to the bankruptcy code in 2005, more debtors are put in Ch. 13 than Ch. 7, i.e. more people pay a dividend on their debts, rather than getting a straight discharge. For people who really are down to the bone, it makes sense to allow them to get some relief through bankruptcy.

  • Tallredzebra

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  During the Republican primary, Rick Perry actually had a good idea.  He suggested that we have a no frills $10K college.  I think this would translate into no sports teams, no fancy classrooms or luxury dorms–just excellent professors and students with passion for learning and willingness to work.  What do you think?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Many students have loans they will never, ever be able to pay back – it will hobble them their entire lives in terms of the jobs they can get, loans, mortgages, everything.

    These are the same folks who will up to pay for our SS and Medicare, and it just ain’t gonna happen. This country is a train wreck waiting to happen.

  • Cal Ferris

    My student loan debt for undergrad and grad school is still near $65,000, and my son is four years away from college.  My huge monthly payment forces me to rely on credit cards at the end of the month when money is tight, leading to more debt.  I’ve been unable to get out of this cycle, and I my oldest child is four years away from college himself.  I’m scared for myself, for him, and for others in situations similar to myself.

  • BHA in Vermont

    $25K in loans is probably small. A lot of schools are $30K, $40K, $50K a year including R&B.

    And jobs? What jobs? Even if the loans were interest free, it is tough to find a job you can live on let alone pay off many tens of thousands in debt.

  • Glenn Koenig

    Colleges take unfair advantage of naive high school students through a general atmosphere of intimidation and fear.  The truth is that traditional 4 year colleges are overpriced, inefficient, and not held accountable for their failure.

  • Deborah

    1 child to service academy, 1 graduated from private college, 1 in private college…we are committed to helping them graduate debt-free; I am 55 today, and we’ll be paying the loans until my 85th birthday.

  • Boston mom

    The only reason I had the where-with-all to refuse some of the Stafford loan money I was offered each semester is because I was a returning student in my 20s and had worked beneath the poverty line as a waitress for many years. I continued to work a few jobs through college, waiting tables, detailing cars, student paper, etc., so that I could do so without taking every dollar that was offered to me. The grants, obviously I took and needed. When I couldn’t afford books, I’d go back and accept some of the Stafford money. I wouldn’t have been able to go to college were these loans and grants unavailable, and I get tired of the argument that these are just lazy kids who don’t know what they’re doing. All the kids I knew getting loans and grants worked their tails off. They too knew what it was to struggle and knew there was no back up if they didn’t do well! 

    • Boston mom

      I will also add that I worked in NY for two years so I would qualify for instate tuition. As an Army brat, i was only eligible in Arkansas, where my parents had gone to school, and did not want to attend school there. 

      • Boston mom

        I will also add that we are still paying back all of our loans, both my husband and I had to take them to get our degrees.

  • Laura

    Economically, what enabled the price of tuition to increase so quickly in relation to the costs of other goods/services? Was it a supply and demand dynamic… more families/students were demanding a certain type of college “experience” and the institutions responding with fancier accommodations and price tags to match?

    • aj

      Yes, and removal of state funding, removal of federal grants, part time wages have imploded, and faculty health insurance costs has skyrocketed.


  • BHA in Vermont

    I am glad to hear that people are carrying more in student loans than credit card debt. People SHOULD NOT carry credit card debt unless there is an emergency situation. 

    • Anonymous

      For some, living is a goddam emergency. Played properly, one can keep credit card interest to 3–11%; not so different from other loans. 

    • jb366

      Disagree.  Credit card debt can be discharged in bankruptcy.  Student Loan debt cannot.

  • Brothersower88

    Education is one of the best ways to advance your person and socioeconomic standing.

    Educations (recognized by institutions) are pretty expensive.

    Do you risk the expense for the chance at advancement?

    If I make a bad investment in a mortgage or stocks and lose my shirt, I can go bankrupt for a second chance. 
    If I take a risk on my education, and cannot pay it back, I have no recourse?

    Why should any investment that doesn’t pay off be a permanent anchor around a person’s neck-mortgage or student loans?

    In general, graduates are in their most productive years of their life, but because of their debt they are limited and chained to doing something to pay the debt instead of investing in their own business, the arts, or public service.

    Something to think about…
    If you look at a person’s checkbook you can tell what their priorities are. 
    Looking at the U.S.’ budget, it looks like it really likes making “swords”, but significantly less desire for “pens”.  The U.S. spends more than the rest of the globe combined on its military.

    • Brothersower88

      In the interest of full disclosure, I am a graduate with student loans.

      My wife also has student loans-she graduates shortely.

      Living a life of austerity and without any devastating unforeseen events, we project to pay them off 6-10 years.

      We have no debt other than student loans.

  • John

    High levels of third party payers (including federal and state government) leads to high prices and low value in Education. The same problem exists in healthcare. If colleges had to get by based on the actual value they delivered for students and families you would see a revolution in Education. Reimbursement to Universities should be tied more to the success of students as it is in the Ivy League (through giving). Hokey 1 year business degrees earned on a spare time basis w/o quality are unlikely actually benefit the student.

    The high prices drive borrowing…the low value causes problems.

    John C. MPH

    John C. MPH
    PS I agree

  • Lauren

    I graduated from the University of Vermont in 2008 with $80,000  of debt, and currently pay $655 a month in student loan payments. This is more than I pay for rent, utilities, and food put together. I wish someone had told me to become a mechanic, because right now with the lack of employment prospects, it seems like the only way out is jumping in front of a train. 

    • BRB in VT

       This is horrifying.

    • aj

      It’s not right. Where the hell is our government? Why don’t those rotten gutless slime bags do something!. We’re dying here!!

      • jb366

        What’s not right? That people have to follow through on the financial obligations they have willfully undertaken?

    • aj

      Tom Ashbrook gave you a shoutout! One day we’re gonna bring this rotten system down! And your gonna want to be there! Keep your head up kiddo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000221674524 Dianne Swain

    the bankers control congress, that’s the reason we have to pay for college.  We can pay money for wars, but we can go to college for free.

    • aj

      Makes you want to sing the National anthem, doesn’t it? (sarcasm)

  • X-Ray

    How about the outrageous rise in college tuition? When I went to (a private
    for-profit) university 50 years ago the cost was about $1200 per 2 semester
    year. Inflation from then is about 8 times, or about $10,000 present value. But
    actual tuition is now $30,000. What’s with that? Who is controlling the cost of
    higher education? It seems like a blank check.

    • http://www.agingwithstudentdebt.org/WELCOME AWSD

      It is a blank check that big banks cash everyday.  They have spent MILLIONS lobbying and buying our lawmakers!

  • Ehdoss

    There is a big lack of student responsibility, in my opimion.  There is no accounting for this money, can there be a payback and will the student get an education.

    I have heard rumors of students taking out large loans and buying gold, per internet advice. 

  • TomK in Boston

    This is a major front in the class war. Follow the money. Once states were committed to providing top-quality, nearly free public higher education. The University of California “master plan” was a document that reflected our wonderful USA before the class war broke out in 1980. There was no student loan debt. The internet and biotech were developed at UC, and that’s why so many tech cos are in CA.

    Now the priority is making the rich richer. So, the states keep taxes low and underfund the universities. Many “state” Unis now get under 20% funding from the state. Inevitably, tuition rises, and students need loans. The net result is redistribution of wealth from the students to the undertaxed wealthy and to the student loan companies.

    As usual now, those who are getting screwed elect the pols who are screwing them. Middle class families demand tax cuts that save them hundreds of dollars so they can pay thousands more in tuition. Sheep will always get sheared.

    Anyone struggling with student loan debt who has bought into the low tax ideology should look in the mirror for the problem.

    • aj

      You’ve nailed it.

    • jb366

      Follow the money into the pockets of the bloated administration and tenured faculty. 

  • Parent

    re Roger’s comment: UMass is $21,000 a year for in-state, so even in-state tuition isn’t an answer for avoiding debt for many students in our state, at least!

    • aj

      Really, that must include room and board, No? Still expensive though.

      • Boston mom

        PRobably not AJ. It’s ridiculous how expensive instate tuition at state college has become. 

        • aj

          Wow! 21,000 in state tuition! That’s bloody insane! I guess the only option is hold off on the big public research university until graduate school. It’s not right. 

    • Sandy

       Same in NH.  UNH is around $25,000 for in-state, including room&board, which I believe is the most expensive in-state tuition in the country.  The smaller state schools here are on the order of $20,000.  These in-state costs open up the idea of going out-of-state for many NH high school grads.

      • Roger

        Actually, UVM is the most expensive in-state university in the country and has been for a long time.  The state of VT has never provided much financial support for UVM.

      • TomK in Boston

        It looks like UNH is a state U in name only. 6%???

        Welcome to “public education” in the USA of the Ryan hunger games.

        Following a 48 percent reduction in state funding for the upcoming fiscal year, the largest cutback in UNH’s history, administrators implemented plans to cut $33 million from the university’s budget this fall.

        To minimize the impact on tuition and jobs, UNH instituted a hiring freeze, cut $10 million in benefits to staff and offered retirement incentive plans. Tuition for in-state students was increased by $650, which UNH associate vice president for finance David Proulx ’92, ’00G describes as a “very last resort.” Had USNH forced students to shoulder the full burden of the state cut, in-state tuition would have increased by $4,650, “something that was obviously not going to happen,” he says.

        But with the state’s contribution now at just 6 percent, cutting UNH’s budget “can’t be a permanent solution,” Proulx says. “We need to be smarter about what we do, consolidate operations and not do things that are no longer relevant.”

        “We must think more like a private university,” Proulx adds, “pricing to market demand, using technology to our advantage, increasing private giving and being flexible. 

        • Sharyn

          Have UNH administrators and president taken a pay-freeze?  What is the UNH president’s salary, btw?

      • Anonymous

        I went to UNH in the mid-70s. If i recall correctly, out-of-state tuition was ~$3,700 for the year. Not exactly cheap by the day’s standards, but doable. I got some scholarships, some loans. I had worked every summer since the eight grade and worked, in one way or another, all the way through college, except freshman year.

        With no secondary education, and working in the trades, my parents borrowed about $9,000 to build a ranch house in the early 60s. 

        The ruination of the middle class, with stagnant or falling wages, and increased costs (relative to wages and inflation) of just about everything began with Reagan trickle-down, and has been abided or exacerbated by all presidents of both parties since.

        And yet, compliant, clueless, whiny BOHICA sheep, masquerading as voters, continue to support the two corrupt, plutocratic parties, as if doing the same thing over and over is going to produce a different result.


        • aj

          Great post nj. BOHICA?

          • Anonymous

            Military acronyn; bent over, here i come again.

    • TomK in Boston

      State Unis have been getting far less funding from the states over time. In some it’s under 20% – it actually doesn’t make sense to call them state U anymore. Umass is better…

      WORCESTER – With UMass President Robert L. Caret saying that the University and its students need to return to a posture where the state is subsidizing at least 50 percent of the University’s general educational expenses, the UMass Board of Trustees today approved a $502 million budget request for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

      President Caret said that the state this year is funding 45 percent of the University’s general education budget, with students and their families picking up 55 percent of the cost. As recently as a decade ago, the state funded 63 percent of the UMass general education budget.

      if was 63% a decade ago, you can bet it was 70-80% 2 decades ago, etc.

      We used to agree that inexpensive public education was a great thing for the whole society. Now the right prefers “you use it, you pay for it”, and above all, don’t collect the taxes to pay for it.

      Student loan debt is a cancer on the USA. Follow the money.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Are you seriously telling me that these students are unable to understand that when the get a check for $12,000 that unless it is a grant or a scholarship they will have to pay it back at more than $100 month for ten years just to pay the principal?  I went to school in the 1970′s and 1980′s. My debt at the end was such that I had to pay back $141.83  every month for ten years.  My interest rate was 7%, so don’t start whining to me about 6.8%. It’s called taking responsibility for your decision. It’s part of being an adult. My first new car was when I was 35 years old!  It has been my only one. All the rest were for less than $1,000.

    They don’t know where the money is coming from? This guy needs to eat a piece of pie!

    The real problem is children should not be making adult decisions before they are ready. Their parents should be held responsible.  18 and 19 year olds should not be going to college.  They need to be doing a year or two of national service. Learn some life skills, learn about money, debt and adult responsibility.  How much of this trillion dollars in debt was spent on beer, parties, cars, girls, guys, etc?

    The young lady does not have my sympathy.  Learn to read and understand a contract, or don’t sign it!

    Right on Roger!

    • Anonymous

      The tuition was very low in the 70′s and 80′s.
      If you had to this now you would be in debt that would be in the range of about $800 to $1000 per month.

      It was lower in the 90′s. It’s out of control.

    • guest

      Are you implying everyone should join the military? I would argue that NO ONE should join the military. Allowing the [incredibly irresponsible oligarchy of a] government order you around and send you to war to die is probably the worst life decision you could make. If nobody was naive enough to sign up, we couldn’t have these ridiculous, purposeless, unfunded wars.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      I agree, national service is a piece of the answer and in exchange, help with tuition, both in the future or in the past paying off student loans.

      Even if students aren’t partying away money, choosing to go to an expensive private school requiring a loan instead of a less expensive school requiring less of a loan or no loan is a decision people need to be held accountable for. It’s a calculated risk: a degree from Yale may land a better job or a better grad school (and more debt) but it might not or the job market might change (recession).

  • Lara

    I don’t think I really understood what it meant to take out loans as an undergrad, but now that I do, I still feel like it’s my only option.  I’m starting grad school in the fall, as is my husband, and we are not nearly in the financial situation we’d like to be in and are taking out more loans than we want simply because it almost seems like we’ll never be able to afford school without loans and we don’t want to put our futures on hold any longer. 

  • Erin in Iowa

    This conversation isn’t very helpful for people who want to go back to school.

  • Lettheleechesgorge

    College cost and Student Loan lenders are making a coordinated effort to fleece the American Student. The schools can ask the world and the first born for tuition and lenders are happy to lend whatever it takes and laugh all the way to the bank since the debt will follow students to the grave. What is next? Student debt prison?

  • Sue

    I don’t think full disclosure or more counseling on loans is the solution.  If a person who can’t afford to pay, out of pocket, the costs for an education and that person decides not to go to college, where is the good in that?  The problem is the cost of the education.  If an educated workforce is desired, there should be more government money going to education.  If those that make millions and millions on the backs of those who are less fortunate, and those millionaires and billionaires desire a more educated workforce, then they should pay more taxes.  If an educated workforce is not needed, then higher wages need to be paid to those without college degrees so they can have at least a chance at acheiving the American Dream.      

  • Anonymous

    There are a lot of comments about the lack of student responsibility but there are a lot of students who find themselves in the same situation as I found myself. I went to a community college and saved myself two years of debt but when I transferred to a 4 year college to finish my BA- they did not allow transfer students to live on campus (due to lack of dorm space) so I had to live off campus. I worked 30 hours a week during college while maintaining a full course load, however, my paycheck went to rent and living expenses in an expensive city (made expensive due to the housing shortage). Years later, I find myself 35K in debt due to a BA and MA and only able to find part time work. I assure you I worked, and continue to work hard to pay off the debt I accrued but there needs to be reform concerning the cost of higher education.

  • David

    The assumption so many people in this discussion seem to have is that the sole purpose of education is and should be to become a better worker for corporate America.  This is a valid use of one’s education, but the suggestion that being educated for other reasons, without consideration of how one’s degree affects future earnings, is irresponsible and foolish demonstrates how thoroughly our culture has been appropriated by materialism and corporate capitalism.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Sounds like an unemployed art history major ;)

      I don’t disagree, there is a lot of personal growth living in a dorm while getting a degree. But with the cost now being totally prohibitive, it seems one MUST look at the ability to get a decent paying job “with” the degree and the financial anchor attached.

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    My my what a totally f*k*d up system.

    The government splurges trillions on no-bid contracts, a totally bloated military and unnecessary foreign wars – but bears down unmercifully on graduates to repay student loans. 

    Don’t get me wrong – students need to repay what they’ve borrowed.. but the system doubles down on on penalties and compounded squared interest pushing out the ability to repay beyond the pale.

    I wonder if we have here the makings of not only another financial crisis, but a social backlash of revolutionary proportions?

    • Sharyn

      What to speak of gov’t agency junkets and over-paid administrators of student loan programs.  Our representative in Congress need a serious pay-cut too.  (Think they’ll vote themselves one?)

  • Glenn Koenig

    What is wrong?  It starts way back in first grade with our adultist ways of running education.  If we had much more youth empowerment, from the very earliest ages, then teens who wanted further education would approach these big institutions with open eyes, and a ‘buyer beware’ attitude that would demand a better education for the dollar.

  • http://www.agingwithstudentdebt.org/WELCOME AWSD

    Yet to be discussed is a possible solution which is H.R.4170 introduced last month by Rep. Hansen Clarke.
    Check this out http://www.agingwithstudentdebt.org/h-r-4170-campaign/h-r-4170-overview
    If you want to begin to restore balance to this corrupt system, sign this petition: http://signon.org/sign/support-the-student-loan?source=c.tw&r_by=525506

  • Chi

    Maybe the problem isn’t too much debt but rather that the rate of pay has not increased sufficiently in the last 30 years.

    • BHA in Vermont

       It has for University admins.

  • AC

    what’s the difference between a ‘lender’ and an ‘extortionist’ ?

    • Drew You Too

      There’s a difference? I’m waiting for the punchline…lol

      • AC

        i don’t have a punchline, i’m not that clever :(

        i was just wondering legally where the line is drawn, since that lady talking about the interest on the interest increases seems like an ‘abuse of office’….

        • TomK in Boston

          LOL, there is no difference. Remember, the student loan companies are representative of  the “Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” that form our financial sector, with 30-40% of total GDP.

          Reaganomics has turned real jobs where a single worker household could send kids to college with no debt into macjobs, has destroyed  the home equity that was the biggest asset of the middle class, and now is effectively privatizing our great state universities. In every case $ are redistributed from the bottom and middle to the top. 

          When you look at the student loan industry, think of a giant pump sucking up the $ of ordinary Americans and spitting them out in the bank accounts of the Romney types.

  • Sijie Wang

    I’m a medical student at a public school and I can see both sides of the argument.  On one hand, there are a lot of kids who are choosing impractical majors at expensive schools.  However, on the other hand, schools really are being irresponsible with respect to their tuition policies.  I went to state school with a full tuition scholarship, yet my head spins at the cost of a medical education.  I’m moving home next year, at age 24, to save money with my parents for the remaining two years of my education.  This is not how I pictured my life would be.  I studied engineering in college, worked at high-paying part time jobs, got straight-A’s, and did internships/research.  Tuition at my school has doubled in the last 10 years.  In the last review of by the medical licensing board, student debt was one major issue highlighted, yet the administration did nothing to address it despite having received $1 billion from the state for a hospital expansion. Tuition continues to rise at 4%/year.

    I did everything right, yet I still can’t afford a public medical education.  Of course, the government would LOVE to loan me $200,000 with capitalizing interest at 7%, but I refuse to be a cash cow.  So back to mom and dad’s place I go!

    This is not how I thought my hard work would pay off.

    • bellavida

      Good for you for doing whatever you can to minimize your debt load.  I feel for American medical students.  I have several friends that are MD’s, most of whom got their medical degrees in Mexico and Peru (where a medical education is a fraction of what it is here in the US).  They completed their residencies here in the US, and after that, were sitting pretty in their fields of internal medicine, pulmonology and gastroenterology without a loan to worry about.  I don’t know why the government doesn’t offer more loan repayment to medical graduates, especially if you choose to go into fields like family practice, pediatrics and internal medicine.

  • Travis

    It seems to me that there is an arms race in higher education. Colleges and Universities are trying to provide every amenity that a student (or parent of a student) could possibly want. Be that state of the art research facilities, top-tier professors, or research professors that do more to gain prestige for the school than for the real education of the paying students. Yet no none seems to ever ask where the money for this is coming from or whether or not it is worth that money.

  • Matt Renaud

    The point being missed here is that there are no jobs available to new graduates upon obtaining a degree.  I have only had a few interviews during relentless job searching since obtaining my degree in 2010, and any of those jobs were not even offering a livable wage to a college grad.  Once you add up rent, utilities, car insurance, groceries, etc., it’s not even an option.  We hear the unemployment rate is shrinking and that jobs are coming back, but where are they?

    • AC

      what is your degree in? we can’t find people!! we have several openings world-wide for various science/engineering disciplines….we’re desparate for people to relocate to Toronto, but no one wants to deal with their weather (inc. me, lol!!)

      • BHA in Vermont

         For some, it isn’t the weather but the population :)

        Toronto’s “city” density (10,750/sq mi) is 3x the density of the largest city in Vermont and has 61x the number of people. The Toronto urban area is 10% larger than the most populous county in Vermont and its density (7,600/sq mile) is 26x. There are almost 9 times as many people in the Toronto metro area than live in the state of Vermont.

        How do you get AWAY from all those people???
        To each his or her own ;)

        As they say: Nice place to visit, wouldn’t want to live there.

    • Sharyn

      Where are those jobs?  Temp, part-time, and substitute teaching.  Underemployment is the serious problem.

  • Anne Cataldo

    Banks prey upon the young, naive students who they know will not read the “small print” before signing their proverbial lives away.

    I, unwittingly, went to a private college (graduated in 2007), and was completely oblivious to the hell that awaited me post-graduation.

    17-year-olds (at least in 2003) were not thinking 10, 15 years into their financial future. They were not anticipating a global financial collapse.

    My parents both work two jobs in order to assist my two siblings and I with our student loan payments. All three of us have full-time, salaried jobs with benefits and we are still struggling.

    This is a travesty.

  • Tncanoeguy

    There seems to be a trend in this country of a good education being seen as less of a public good and more of a privilege – leading to the further bifurcation of society? 

  • Matthew Pendergast

    So I’m accepted at Harvard and you want me to go to Cape Cod Community College instead?

    • Ray in VT

      It’s all about what’s best and most practical for you.  If you can afford it and Harvard wants you, then go for it.  I think that many students and families reach for the highest rung, even if it isn’t necessarily in their price range or ultimately a benefit in terms of future prospects.  I know that when I was looking into grad schools a professional who I knew in my current field said to go for the cheapest degree because it was the degree that mattered, not where it came from.

      • Jim

        i quit an ivy league school and became a plumber $$$

      • BHA in Vermont

         I had a prof in college (CA state college) who had a degree from USC. He said he stuck it out the last year only to have the USC name on the diploma. Didn’t think the education was any better than what one got at the state colleges. My cost PER QUARTER was the cost of 1 credit at USC at the time.

    • Zing

       No; I want you to pay back your student loans..that’s all

    • BHA in Vermont

      - How much will you/your parents owe when you get out of Harvard?
      - What is the probability you can get a job that can pay a living wage AND pay off that debt in a few years?

      If the answer to the first is low, then go for it. If it is HIGH and the answer to the second question is “not so good”, I think you are smart enough to answer your own question.

      And think about: If you fork over a quarter million dollars for your BS (with or without loans), is the job you get going to return in excess of that quarter million compared to the job you get if you do 2 years at a CC, then finish the BS at a 4 year? There is no footnote on your diploma that says “2 years at CC, 2 years at Harvard”. 

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Congratulations on your Harvard acceptance. You should go wherever you want to go and get the best education you can. Just make sure you can pay for it or pay off the loans you might have to take out to go to Harvard.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    Going to the best school you can makes sense to a point.  Local
    Community College offers those first two years of core requirements at
    very affordable rates of tuition and yet are over looked by many. How
    different is Eng Comp 101 at an Ivy compared to a CC? There is an old
    adage that if a student gets good grades at a CC they can go anywhere
    … save your money people for where it counts the most on ie; upper
    division and grad courses at one of those better schools. CC’s need to
    be looked at in a more serious light.

    • Anonymous

      There is an incredible difference in the education you receive at a CC compared to a University– I went to both and came away from my CC having learned very little. I had a very understanding Prof during my first week at University that taught me how to properly write a paper- I had been failed by 14 years of school at that point.

    • BHA in Vermont

       I’m trying to convince my wife of this for our 17 Y/O.

      My sister has a BS in biology and a PhD in Organic Chemistry. She worked in industry for some years. She teaches Chem and Organic Chem at a CC. I have NO doubt that she is at least the equal of any Ivy professor where the tuition is $50K plus. She could ‘teach’ at a research university (where the professors spend little time teaching and a whole lot of time writing grant requests and doing research) but she wants to TEACH.

      What is the educational value of a research university when the professors are judged not by how well their students do in and after college but by how much research MONEY they bring in? Where the admins make 2 to 5 times what the professors make and most classes are taught by even lower paid part time faculty?

      • Roger

        Your sister does sound as talented as an Ivy league prof.  However, what about the capabilities of the students she is teaching who would be your 17 Y/O’s classmates?  Does your sister need to teach to the average student?  Our daughter is at an “expensive” top notch liberal arts college which turned out to be more affordable than UVM as an in-state student because of that college’s ability to use their sizable endowment to offer a good financial aid package.  The financial aid package does include some loans.  However, we think they will be managable and gives our daughter additional incentive to take her college education seriously (skin in the game).  I am most happy about is that our daughter is in a community of intelligent people that value thinking and learning.

        • BHA in Vermont

           True, she is teaching some average students. But I think that has a lot to do with our attitude that one MUST go to a top (and very expensive) school to get a good education. If we turn our mentality around, the above average kids would go to CCs with good teachers for “the basics”.

          Your comment about UVM is true. Years ago, a friend’s kid went to NC State. It was much cheaper than UVM as an in state. Guess that hasn’t changed.

          Time to look north. Colleges in Canada cost a WHOLE lot less than those in the USA.

  • X-Ray

    Getting a degree in Art History or Performance may be personally satisfying
    but will probably not result in a foundation for a rewarding lifetime of productive
    earnings. We need an emphasis

    on the “hard” courses of studies such as engineering and sciences; good
    for the individual, good for the economy, good for the country.

  • Mattbeagle

    Much of the discussion does not address the real issue. Higher education, like anything of value, has increased in costs over time. At one point we valued higher education much more as a nation. Financial aid, which once covered a much larger portion of the cost of education, has not kept pace, and not only are we not serious about increasing it, we have actively reduced it. Most students need to take on debt to afford college. Yes, there are ways to reduce the cost and even to to get a degree without debt, but this means students have much reduced choice in terms of which schools the attend. If students’ families have low incomes, do we really want to say that they have to join the military? That they have to attend community college? That they have to attend an in-state public university? That choice comes only to those with means? The real issue here is that we do not value higher education enough and do not provide help to those who need it. Yes, there are problems with student loans, but reducing the need for that debt would go a long way toward addressing the problem.

    • Tncanoeguy

      Paul Ryan wants to slash Pell Grants – thinks the government has no role in helping people get an education.  Better learn Mandarin because we’ll be working for the Chinese some day. 

  • Andreabellinger

    Don’t forget to mention that parents who did everything right, started that college fund was born, lost one to two years of college in the 2008 meltdown.  Then add entry level jobs of between $11,000-$15,000 for the kids and the economic down turn and you have a mess.   I am a 50 something whose parents all taught in state college systems.  I watched their salaries go up year by year to VERY comfortable levels.  And finally always follow the money – banks take very little risk and make lots of money. . .

  • Claudia

    It cost me $23,000 a year to send my daughter to New Hampshire’s State university (second most expensive in the country).  It is costing me living expenses plus $4,000 a year to send my son to Cornell (tuition is normally $40,000).  I was a State Rep. when we got the Cornell offer.  I said on the House floor:  interesting that I cannot afford to send another kid to UNH, but I can afford to send my second kid to Cornell.  We now know how the one percent is created.  

    • BHA in Vermont

       Are you suggesting that the Cornell offer was related to you being a State Rep?

    • aj


  • Anonymous

    As a senior citizen, I like to point out that when I was young a student living at home could earn the tuition to a college like Wellesley or Smith  by a summer’s waitressing in Howard Johnson’s. Jaws drop when I say this. And as one who spends a lot of time in Europe, it makes me even more outraged to know that young people of modest means in France, for example, have free access to university while here they are so burdened with debt.
    I also got my PhD at UCLA when it was essentially free. What a noble experiment the California system was!  
    We need to spend tax $$ on education, not military madness.

    • aj

      Your post is the best post I have read on the entire page. You’ve captured it all so concisely. I sincerely mean that. You have articulated what my thoughts were so much better. Through your experience and your wide ranging perspective you so elegantly defined the issue. The fact that you attained a PHD is not surprising, because I have no doubt that you are a brilliant mind.

  • BHA in Vermont

    My niece got a BS in graphic design 5 years ago. She got a job at Universal Studios – as assistant to an exec. She never got any graphic design work. She is now working as a “Family Rediness Officer” (which is a civilian position) at a US Marine base.   

    A friend got a B.S. in Interior Design 4 years ago. Got a job at at a local building company that has a kitchens and baths”division”. But the lady she worked with wouldn’t give her any of the jobs that came in. She is now working in the accounting dept at another small company.

    Makes you wonder – what is the value of a college degree?

  • Mary

    I was unable to help my children due to financial constraints.  They had to borrow for college and now are so deep in dept they will be paying it back most of their life.   The financial institutions will not even help to lower their monthly payments.   They make them feel like criminals the worst being Sallie Mae.   Would like to see somewhere where their debts could be consolidated and would be able to manageble payback amounts that looks at their income. 

    • Sharyn

      When I consolidated my loans in 90s, the amount owed was doubled.  That’s the price we pay for a lower monthly payment.  Check into the new IBR (Income Based Repayments) — that may be the best option available now.

  • Joan FrisinaBowles

    The conversation really needs to be about the predatory lending system that this has become. IT has become a bureaucratic opportunity to for colleges, lenders, and the government hasn’t helped, to rape and pillage students. It is a SCAM. You get trapped, can’t bring down the interest rates, and the usurious charges and capitalization of the interest have raised students loans into the 40-50 and 60 thousand dollar range. And you can’t pay it off with jobs that are low paying, and considering the outsourcing and the exporting of so many jobs. Researching the educational scenario is important, but the educational system is archaic, and unflexible and outmoded. This must be addressed.

    • aj

      Government sponsored usury, indeed. It’s become a shameful racket. And you could see it coming 20 years ago! Our leaders have failed us on every level.

    • Sharyn

      Capitalized interest and compounded debt are at the heart of this crisis.  Let graduates pay back what they actually owe.  So many of us are paying the government four times what we actually borrowed.  What kind of interest rate is that?!  Legislators need to make capitalized interest illegal. Period. Then recalculate everyone’s debts accordingly.

  • Nan

    So much to say! My son’s in a mid tier small public university. Most of the students will get mid level, not great paying jobs. Their parents can’t afford to pay or lend them the cost of college, even with the students working. There are few summer jobs for students (these jobs are now taken by year round employees). These students will be the back bone of this country. Their salaries WON’T support the loans they are taking out along with establishing their lives (mortgages, children of their own). This is a huge problem! Not to mention, the impact on their education and development as well-rounded citizens. No way can most middle and working class students think about taking classes that are not vocational oriented. In addition, 18 year old children do not understand the fine print and impact of these loans they have to take out. Also, there are less federally subsidized loans available than when my husband and I went to school. We were fortunate to have loans that did not accrue interest while we were in school. So many students now do not have that.
    This is a disaster for this country.

    • aj

      Well said.

  • Samantha

    Remember a class in high schools called home economics? What about personal economics? I think all high schools should be required to have a class that actually teaches seniors in high school what the financial facts are of higher education. I went into college with a myth of advice from a teacher: “A good education will pay for itself.” Not these days, unfortunately.

    • Heil_bradley

      They should require at least 2 hours of mandatory Finiacial counseling before signing over any loan over 10,000 dollars.

  • Joe in Boston

    Why are we dancing around what seems to real problem here, which is exploitive lending. Why, when interest rates are at a historic low, are people paying 15% on loans?  

    • Still Here

      Because that’s how bad the credit risk is!

  • Diana

    Doesn’t the college have some
    sort of contract or responsibility to offer the package of courses agreed upon
    within the time anticipated?

    A close friend of mine eagerly left
    her small home town and went to a very reputable college.  She was offered scholarships before she
    chose which college to attend.

    She was guided to choose a major in
    her first year, and when she did, she was assigned a college advisor in the
    field.  She really enjoyed the
    coursework the adviser, the college, and the intellectual challenge.

    Year two, her adviser is pregnant
    and takes a maternity leave…and the beat goes on.

    End result: by the end of my friend’s
    junior year, she did not have an adviser.  She needed two specific courses to complete her major – neither
    of which was offered during the following two semesters.  The administration said she should continue
    there as a student for another semester until the courses might be offered.

    (At an ongoing expense of…..)

    This college actually wanted her to
    add one more year to her four-year course of study, making 5 years for an
    undergrad degree.  She was already
    $25,000 in debt with no firm path to graduation. 

    Two years after deciding not to
    continue rolling up the debt at this college, they have not yet offered those
    courses – they say she should try a community college – to replace advanced 4th
    year courses in a 4 year degree!!  She
    finally got a job — at a bank (not her field of study)….lucky for her in
    comparison to many of her peers with the same situation.

    So I ask, doesn’t the college have some sort of
    contract or responsibility to offer the package of courses agreed upon within
    the time anticipated?

    • Dana

      I closed in on my last semester in college and one of the required courses was no longer being offered.  I guess I was lucky that my adviser was able to make the decision to waive that class and I was able to graduate on time.

  • Morgan

    I think that our major mistake in this area is viewing the topic of students loans as a black and white issue.  My music degree from a private liberal arts university left me with a bit of debt, I’ll admit.  However, I knew very well that I would be responsible for those payments.  I started my career in contract work early (in junior year of college), and two years out of college, I’m okay.  I’m financially independent.  I live in a small rental property that costs less than I can afford, and I don’t spend a lot of money on unnecessary things.  I knew I would be sacrificing a financially cozy lifestyle to do the work that fulfills me.  I think the problem comes when college students get too idealistic about lifestyle expectations for those first few years after college.   I’ve made sacrifices, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The debt will be paid, and I will never regret my college choices. 

  • Lost Cat 00

    The major point was sidelined by Roger, which is the way the student debt loans is being structured. The logic of the so-called free-market is that agents possess adequate information regarding their decisions. Tell me now, if for profit educational institutions – a rapid grwoing sector of higher education – provides for it. That once the agent makes a decision regarding the service to be purchased on credit, the interest would be calculated on a rational basis, not adding interests to intersts and other self-serving policies. Although no one should deny that consumers are responsible for their decisions, let stop whitewashing the financial institutions and giving them a free-ride on their greed. By credit card company has been begging me for borrowing they money theyhave been offering me at a ‘low interst rate’, and Bank of ASmerikka got us years ago on a second morgage – small for repairs. My wife and I believed them when they told us that it was a good decision to invest in remodelling our homes. What we have hear ois a generalized crisis of trust. Don’t trust banks, or any financial capitalists. It was not our greed what screwed the system, it was theirs. They alraeady screwed the system, next they will collapse the system with the trust of gullible and uniformed voters. Only in America.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HUHWX4TIAZRFNFYCWUE43OZDUQ 7LeagueBoots

    The idea of going to a smaller, local university to community college is a good one except for one huge thing.   Across the country smaller universities are drastically cutting the variety and quantity of the courses they offer.  This means that if you don’t want a cookie-cutter education that pushes everyone into the same skill set and same job prospects the small school option is neither realistic, nor appealing.

    Education is the future of this country.  If we make education unavailable to people in this country, this country will fail, there is no way around this.  Education is an investment in the future, not just for us as individuals, but for us as a nation.

  • Krista

    I have a sneaking suspicion that colleges charge more as a way of attracting students in an increasingly competitive environment. Like luxury handbags or shoes, charging a cumulative cost of $50,000+ each year seems to be a way of saying, “We’re so expensive, we MUST be worth it!”

    I went to a fantastic liberal arts college in Minnesota and graduated with a huge amount of debt. Did I receive a great education? Yes. Was it worth the price I paid? Absolutely not. I love my alma mater, but I will not support the price-gouging they and every other college continue to engage in.

    My boyfriend and I are currently in graduate school and law school. We will graduate with over $200,000 in debt. How will we survive? 

    Marriage? Children? Not until we feel financially secure.

    • Haha

      You will not survive. You have made your bed and now yo must lie int it. You should only have to flip another billion burgers with your great liberal arts education and graduate degree in candle making.

      • Kahsby

        Wow that’s a hate-filled response.
        Got a lotta friends there (besides Rush)?

        • Haha

          No friends. Not even Rush

          • Not laughing

             I hope you’re kinder to yourself than you have been to the people on this thread.

          • Wchao1107

            Right on, Spend $200k to become a peacock, nice looking, but no much practical use.

      • Krista

        Thank you for your snarky response. I have actually worked at some of our nation’s most prestigious institutes and have a thriving and intellectually stimulating career. That doesn’t take away from the absurdity of tuition costs.

        • Haha

          It is not “snark”. It is simply a response to your whining about your decision to sign on the dotted line of a $200,000 loan which nobody forced to to take on. Now I assume you expect the tax payers to forgive your loan so that you can continue to work on “our nation’s most prestigious institutes and have a thriving intellectually stimulating career”.

          As the Harvard University Employees say: You can eat prestige.

          • Haha

            Oh, as you can see I did not attend a prestigious liberal arts school. I meant: You can’t eat prestige.

          • Scythe

            Obviously not.

            For somebody who seems to hate prestigious institutions and the people who attend and work for them, your choice of quote is awfully interesting. 

          • Krista

            Nope, I don’t expect other taxpayers to pay off our loans. We will continue to work hard and eventually be debt-free. But the problem of soaring tuition costs needs to be figured out so we can afford to send our future children to college. That is all.

            Please don’t make assumptions about someone you don’t even know.

          • Haha

            I know your type. The Entitled to Everything Because I’m so Great. The solution to high tuition costs is simple: Don’t go to a school that wants $50,000/year

          • Richard

            In order to do anything prestigious in this country you need a professional degree. And if you want to work at the best places you need to get a degree from the best schools. Every single one of these schools costs a lot of money.
            I don’t know if you’re just angry because you work a dead-end job, or maybe you’re happy at work and just a mean person in general, but you obviously don’t understand what Krista was trying to say.

          • Ironman

             Anyone running for POTUS NOT from a prestigious university with multiple degrees?

          • Haha

             Oh…GW Bush born with silver spoon in mouth, attended Philipps Academy in Andover, Yale and Harvard. Failed at every business venture handed to him. 911 under his watch, 2 wars, debt to Kristas great, great grandchildren and uncounted number of dead men, women and children. Now…that is prestige

          • Haha

             Krista, Ironman and Richard drank the koolaid, took the bait hook line and sinker etc. You mention that you need a prestigious degree to do anything prestigious. No you don’t. You need connections to do anything prestigious. For every POTUS that graduated from Princeton there are 100,000 other saps that do nothing more special than the average Joe from the average State University.

          • Scythe

            I’m pretty certain that was snark, actually. 

            She’s not complaining, either, she’s simply saying that in order to be in a profession she finds fulfilling she had to make a hard decision that will impact the rest of her life. And maybe her work is bettering the nation.

            Also, this conversation is about the cost of education today; not about your personal opinions on whether somebody made a good life decision. Back to the point, please.

  • Duh

    Don’t borrow more to get out of debt

  • Malinda

    My son went to an inexpensive state school (Virginia Commonwealth University) but the school was so underfunded and overattended that he could not get the classes he needed for his major.  He became discouraged and dropped out, but he would not have been able to graduate in four years.  So the cheap option was not actually cheap, because it would have required an extra year of costs.  

  • george

    I’m a mathematics professor at a major state university.  I teach college algebra through 2nd calculus courses.  On average, 50% of our students receive gradfe of D, F, or W, which indicates a portion of the student loan debt might bight be self-inflicted expecially by students unprepaired to attend college.

    • Vince Dunsworth

      Then why are they admitted? Because they have money! The university doesn’t care if they borrowed it. A local university just flunked out a significant portion of it’s freshman class in their first semester, makes one wonder about admissons standards.

  • Rjohn

    The cost of higher education has grown at twice the rate of inflation over a generation now.  It seems to me that colleges and universities are using the student loan subsidy to continue to accelerate the growth in their own budgets.  Further relaxing or subsidizing student loans will only increase the growth in costs of education.

  • Yar

    You should do another hour on the social cost of student debt.  The last caller who talked about leaving teaching for a higher paying profession is case in point on the social cost of being a debtor nation.  Who will do the public service jobs when everyone owes huge debts?

  • Annie

    I cannot disagree more with Heather Jarvis’ justification regarding the
    caller comment about how he made it through college without debt. He is
    certainly a very small minority. The system is set up like so many other
    systems (healthcare) are in the U.S: if you have lots of money you can
    do whatever you want: if you don’t have the money then scrape by. I am
    morally opposed to the military so would never join or recommend joining
    to pay for college. I also don’t think that choosing a career based solely on the cheapest college is a good decision either.
    My college loan interest ballooned after being laid off three times from
    2001 to 2008, based on two huge economic downturns. (I attended a state college and inexpensive graduate school). I had to defer the
    loan several times while unemployed, and now I owe four times what I borrowed and will
    probably never be able to pay it back, plus my credit is ruined. We need a
    national support system that gives everyone the opportunity to attend
    college without having to take on massive debt. I am sick of politicians
    and talking heads pushing the “pull up your own bootstraps” philosophy
    about everything in our society. It is a ruse to cover for a direction
    that supports the rich over the poor, and our middle class is being destroyed.

    • aj

      Well said.

    • guest

      The conservative view that “I did it, so anyone who couldn’t is lazy” outlook is so obscenely ignorant of personal advantages or good fortune, and the incredible variability of individual circumstance. The inability to empathize with those less fortunate and recognize that all persons are NOT created equal is the bread and butter of the party line.  Success as defined by the market results from the interface of one’s genetic-neurological “handout” with parenting and environment. Lack of recognition that one’s own success is not inherently duplicable by all is perverse apathy at best, and often downright sociopathic.

      • Ironman


  • Amy

    After paying off one undergraduate and two graduate degrees in a very timely manner, I believe that those taking out student loans are grossly uneducated in personal finance/money management and personal responsibility.  Better financial education would help tremendously!!!

    • BHA in Vermont

       I think it should be a mandatory class to graduate high school. And nothing lower than a B in the course.

  • Tncanoeguy

    Claudio – Paul Ryan will send us down that road.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The 1% really don’t care – they just want lower taxes, and they’ll either outsource for employees or pick up H1B’s. These students are just there to create debt, just like the house buyers of last decade – only these students can’t discharge or walk away from those debts.

    • Tncanoeguy

      Read a Quaker statement this weekend – something about my prosperity depending on your prosperity.  Some folks never heard that or don’t believe it – they want it all. 

    • bellavida

      Oldman, you hit the nail on the head.  I know of a large company that used to offer to pay employee’s training costs for the many available information systems jobs, and this company hasn’t done this in over 10 years.  Of course, since then the postings for such jobs has increased by two or three-fold, however now the same company just posts for H1B positions, in addition to having outsourcing.  

  • Sam Rutherford

    Arguably the chief foundation of our current prosperity was the decision made after WWII to educate vast numbers of young veterans basically for free. It was money well spent then and it would be again. The current system is just another way to move wealth from the many to the few. It will eventually put an end to mass prosperity and turn us into the planet’s richest 3rd world country.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      The GI bill educated GIs. How many of those carrying student loans have joined Amiricorp or attempted to do public service as a way to pay for at least part of their education?

  • Roger

    I heard many times during the show that these college students don’t understand what they paying or what they had gotten themselves into.  Well, if they are college educated, they better understand because they are suppose to be the best educated among us.   

    • guest

      Not everyone majors in finance, and I would believe that the complexities and nuances are not trivial for the average well-educated person.

      Of course, when they start taking on the debt, they aren’t college-educated, are they?

    • SadStudent

      Actually, I think the issue is a little different than the way you’re phrasing it here. When students first start looking into higher education, near the end of their high school careers, they have a much different view of what these loans will cost them than do recent graduates of college. 

      When I was graduating high school I figured a) I was going to go to a great university, so clearly I’d be set after college, b) I am a hard worker so I would get a job quickly and make plenty of money to pay off the loans I had, and c) that my total loans would be far less than it ended up being. And nobody told me any differently; not my parents, not my high school advisors, and certainly not anybody at the university or the loan office. And how was I, a 17 year old, supposed to know any different?

      I think that is the issue they were talking about when they said students don’t realize what they’re getting into.

      I of course would be a big fan of getting rid of student loans…it truly is crippling our nation’s young people. I look at my monthly statement and see the next 40 years of my life going to Sallie Mae. I can’t tell you how depressing that is. Especially when I do know some very fortunate people whose parents were able to send them to good schools without student loans. It’s just not fair; my parents were unable to pay for my education, and now I’m saddled with years and years of debt just so I could get a good education.

    • Linda K

       Youth and inexperience are part of the problem of overburdened graduates but so are optimism and the structure of our economy.  The stories of compounded principle were frightening and almost unimaginable to an 18 year old signing a loan document.  So too is a near depression and changing labor market.  Let’s not be too hard on our young people for their naivete, optimism and hard luck entering the economy at this dismal time.  It’s easy to say “study math and science” but many engineering graduates of the late 1960′s and 1970′s will tell you that a lot of them were un and under employed during those years.  We aren’t prescient – what works today, works today but aspirations and plans will lag when change happens again.

  • Eric

    A lot of college students need to think about the things they are studying. Don’t go to an expensive private school to study communications and get a degree that is worth very little in the current job market.

    Study math and science and you give yourself a much better chance of landing a well paying and upwardly mobile job.

    • BHA in Vermont

       I only wish! My 17 Y/O got 100% on the math PSAT. She wants to get degree in Creative Writing or Graphic Design with a Japanese Studies minor.

      You can give the kid the genes but you can’t make them USE the genes ;)

    • Bewildered parent in MA

      It’s not that easy. Some people do not have a strong math ability. And some people are not interested in math and science.

      The problem is the cost for college is Too Damn High!

      I would love to see On Point do a show with some College Presidents and justify the exorbitant cost of attendance.

      We are also in the boat of many others, 1 child in college, 2nd child looking at colleges. We’re upper middle class so we don’t get any need based aid. Although, we don’t make enough to pay the ridiculous sticker price. If we spend what the FAFSA form is telling us should be able to, we wouldn’t be able to live here in MA.

  • Anonymous

    Why is no one asking why private college costs so much?  I understand that when states don’t give money to state colleges, they have to raise tuition.  But why does private college cost almost $60,000?  Why don’t we question this outrageous cost?  And what are we paying for?  Colleges can raise tuition because we will pay it and no one is asking them to be accountable. (I taught at a small private college for many years)

    • BHA in Vermont


  • Kathy Hardiman

    Practices of some universities seem unethical to me.  These schools build over the top beautiful athletic centers, dining halls and housing then charge overly high tuition, book prices and fees, which typically increase each year.  The university I graduated from (one of the few available for an MSW) continues to graduate students each year although there are no jobs in that field in our area.  And for a Master’s degree, jobs are paying between $23,000 – $37,500.  Two years after we graduated, I was the only one I knew from my cohort paying my school loans and this at a cost of no longer contributing to retirement, going on vacation, getting rid of house phone and making many other reductions in my lifestyle.

    The caller with no school loans due to going into the service and getting research grants fails to recognize the fact that school prices have exorbitantly increased since he attended school, while availbility of jobs and incomes have declined.  Also, in our area community college only goes to Associate’s degree.  The nearest state school for Bachelor and Masters degrees is two hours away, a difficult feat when working full-time and living in the snow belt.  Some schools just don’t offer research apprenticeships and certainly not in quantities for each person enrolled.  Kudos to him for his accomplishment and hard work, but I am guessing as he matures, he will be able to recognize a more encompassing view of the problem.

    • aj

      Very well articulated. What’s a MSW?

      • Malinda

         Masters of Social Work.  I have one, and I am a mental health therapist.  It doesn’t pay very well.

        • aj

          Thanks. Though I know helping people doesn’t pay the bills, for what its worth, I am sure you contribute to society more in 1 day of work, then some Goldman Sachs day trader contributes in a year. All the best.

  • Heil_bradley

    I spent 5 years in college, many of which working full time to reduce my debt and still left with a little less than $13,000 in the hole. Being fiscally sound does not guarantee you will be able to save yourself in the later years. Books, room and board, tuition and everyday expenses on top of other daily stresses can lead your already overworked college student to the point of a near breakdown but as long as colleges get their money on time.

  • Bob Gardner

    This is a situation that the remedy of bankruptcy was intended for.  The irresponsibly lenders who push these loans have not fulfilled their part of the bargain.  Instead of passing along the subsidy to the students, they have used the fact that the borrowers cannot go bankrupt to abuse them.  Let the victims out of debtor’s prison, and break the cycle of exploitation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wes-Nickerson/100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    It is a crime that students are burdened with a lifetime of debt, indebted to the criminal too-big-to-fail banksters. One solution to student debt is to support a presidential candidate that will end student debt completely. That presidential candidate is Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party. Jill Stein is committed to forgiving student debt and to making higher education free. The two corporate sponsored political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, are committed to making the big banks even bigger, richer, and more powerful, while ignoring the needs of students. It is time to end this madness and to support real solutions by supporting the party of the people, the Green Party.



  • AC

    I know where there is some work -…. in North Dakota where the temps can get to 30 below for a couple months and you can go weeks before seeing some one…..i lived in fear that i was going to get stuck out there when i first started – but i escaped!!
    any one here from there? if so, sorry – lovely state, really….^~^

  • Roger

    Today’s show is over simplifying this issue and could have greatly benefited from some quantitative reasoning/assessment.  I strongly believe that there is predatory lending in the private loan market and predatory encouragement of debt load among for-profit colleges.  However, these for-profit lenders & for-profit colleges were grouped in with non-profit colleges and government loan programs in today’s discussion.  Expensive (at least on paper) private colleges may be the best choice for a good student from a low income family.  Those colleges often have large endowments and “needs blind” admission policies.  So, if you are a good student, you will get a good financial aid package and graduate with a smaller debt load and be a stronger job applicant given the quality of the private college education.  Contrast that with a for-profit college which provides a much inferior education and encourages/deceives students into taking on huge debt loads.  On Point needs to do a better informed follow up story.         

    • Anonymous

      I agree. The for-profit schools are a huge problem in terms of loans and deceptive practices. The knowingly sign up students that are ill-prepared for college and about 50% drop out with a lot of debt.  By the way if it was not for the Federal loans the For-Profit schools would not be in busniess.

    • notreadytogiveup2012

      I agree. See the Frontline PBS special on For-profit schools. (I also happen to work at one, so I see it first hand)

      • Anonymous

        You work at one? How do you feel about that?
        You do realize that if the people who run it found out you were critical they might ask you to leave. 

  • Ken H.

    Today’s show on a vital subject again addresses 2nd and 3rd order effects.  Please get to the heart of the issue.  The Federal government for decades has encouraged a need for and entitlement to college education.  It has encouraged and facilitated student debt and excessive collegiate spending.  All the while its vote-buying political class has run up totally unaffordable public debt.  

    My father who worked his way through engineering school in 8 years and I who paid for my graduate school and the undergraduate degrees of our five children are the model today’s students must be encouraged to follow.  Government today is a not-to-be-trusted penniless mercenary trying to manipulate an economy which is much bigger and more relentless than it is.  Self-reliance is the only valid pursuit for individuals.

    • notreadytogiveup2012

      Self-reliance is not the be all and end all. Government not only has a role to play, it has a very important one. If you never needed help from the government to educate your children, or get your own education, because you could work. Great. Not everyone can or should do that. There will never be enough work for all, let alone flexible work while you go to school. Times are very different. 


    People it is simple in order to build wealth you have to obtain a debt. The fact that the Obama administration has allowed those who are willing to put the effort forward and educate themselves through working hard and going to school the oppurtunity to do so is fine with me. REMEMBER THERE IS NO BETTER INVESTMENT THEN YOURSELF. Having a college degree used to be a necessaity to get  a good career, now of days it has turned to a thing of “status”. Bush wanted to cut out the middle-class and make it either your family has money or they do not. Instead of complaining about your debt understand that we are rebuilding wealth ALL OVER again. Lastly, I find it frustrating that the companies behind student loans try to discourage you from paying for your loans as your going to school. I personally wanted them to deducted automatically monthly from my checking account and they told me that I would have to call in for my payments and that they had to wait until 6 months after I graduated and was in default. Look it makes people frustrated as it is trying to figure out the game of life and credit. Companies are so in the hole they would rather have you pay a minimum amount and stretch what you are responsible for paying back in order to make an outrageous amount of ROI (Return On Investment). Just remember that you have to manifest destiny, take control of your future by getting the job done now! Rome was not built over night and we are STILL BUILDING!

  • Parent

    Colleges need to be held responsible for their rising costs AND for taking advantage of the fact that national student loan maximums increase each year. Each time the maximum goes up (after freshman year), the colleges take away part of the student’s grant (which is basically a reduction in tuition).

  • SomMom

    All listeners who are concerned about this increase should call their representatives and senators to let them know you are in favor of the bill to keep the interest rate at 3.4 percent.

  • aj

    Lower costs at public schools by getting rid of the stadiums, the carousels, the fancy dining halls, and all the rest of it that costs insane amount of money for unnecessary crap.

    And bring the drinking age back down to 18, which is free!

    • Sharyn

      and lower costs by cutting the absurdly high salaries of administrators

      • aj

        I didn’t think anyone was going to back me up on that. Totally agree about administrative salaries. You rock.

    • MissyCD

      How about Universities having to put most of their budgets into teaching and the provision of services directly related to teaching?

      I read an article recently that cited the average college dumps 25% of their budget into marketing.

      Also look at other countries programs which do not have the stupidly high costs of education, but still give world class education – like Canada and Australia.

      In Australia for example the “student loan” program covers the costs for the subjects studied is tied to grades and is repaid as part of the taxation system, private for-profit institutions and banks are not involved in the provision of loans, and institutions have to be accredited as well as the courses to qualify.

      • aj

        Thanks for the feedback. The 25% for marketing statistic is astounding and I wasn’t aware of it. I think your examples of Australia and Canada are great, because these are examples of nations that charge tuition but do it without Wall street getting a cut, instead they do it in a resposible manner and keep costs down. I appreciate you bringing them to my attention.

        I am partial to France where tuition is 100% free. But your examples show that if we are going to charge tuition, there is a responsible way (Canada Australia) and then there is the criminal way (US). Thanks again.

  • Micah

    Learn a useful skill.  My career as a welding school dropout has been far more successful than mine as a college graduate.  The emphasis that is placed on a college degree, seems to be a way for our rulers to blame the victims of our unjust economic system. 

    • notreadytogiveup2012

      What is a useful skill one year or decade may not be the next. We need flexibility. Finishing any college degree does show you can accomplish an often difficult activity. If everyone went to be a welder tomorrow, then what would happen?

  • guest


    1) Eliminate all for-profit education; require that all institutions of higher education be registered NPOs.

    2) Allow student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy after a waiting period of a few years. 

    3) Require that the schools themselves back all student loans, and put the school on the hook for repayment in cases where the ultimate lender is the government or an external bank.

    This way, schools wouldn’t dare charge more than students would be likely able to repay, and would have a vested interest in graduates finding decent employment at a living wage.

    This would also do wonders for killing exorbitant spending on excessive landscaping and the absurd luxuries that I witnessed as an undergrad, and that were wholly unnecessary to actual educating.

  • miah

    With an undergraduate degree and skills that allowed me to work in the job market as a young graduate during the recession, I am very grateful for the liberal arts education that taught me how to think and problem solve.  However, I decided to go back to graduate school after realizing that I would be limited in my life experiences and earning power if I did not.  
    While it is inspiring to hear the stories of people who worked their way through college, one year tuition at my graduate school before scholarships is more than I could hope to be making at my previous professional full time job in one year.  I spend 16+ hours a day at school on an easy day and often sleep only a few hours each night.  Working would simply not be an option.  Even with a 50% scholarship, I am taking out enough students loans to purchase a small house.  Even though this debt is daunting, I would not give up my education for anything.  I know I may be resigning myself to a life of apartments and used cars while I pay back my loans, but a rich mind is far more valuable to me than a rich pocketbook.  That being said, I am at one of those “elite” institutions, and in my experience education is only as valuable as the quality of teaching provided.  There are certainly many institutions that provide terrible education for their high cost, but there are also still many extraordinary professors in this country who also deserve to be paid a living wage.  I have had the fortune as both an undergraduate and graduate student to be surrounded by wonderful minds and taught by excellent professors.  It is extremely important to know what you want in life and what you are willing to pay for.  It is different for everyone and we all need to evaluate as individuals what investments will ultimately make us most fulfilled in life.  Diversity of thought and ideas is the strength of this nation.

    • REM

      I’m with you!!!!!!

  • Mary

    I think everyone who gets a degree towards a career in a helping profession should get preferential treatment when it comes to paying back student loans. Perhaps their loans could be forgiven after five years. People going into helping professions such as social work, counseling and teaching (and any physicians willing to be GPs) will probably never make “big bucks” and most who go into helping professions don’t go in it to make money, but to help others. Those who spend their lives doing work to help others should get preferential treatment.

  • Sigmund5

    I feel the problem from both sides of the problem.  I have a PhD in the social sciences  which cost me what is now 80K in student loan debt.  The only jobs out there are adjunct positions that pay about 9 bucks an hour.  For profit and community colleges  are only hiring Adjuncts.  Add to that I have health problems and rely on Medicaid to stay alive any money I make would kill me.  If I work 60 hours a week to make 23K a year I have a monthly loan payments of 700 dollars and lose medicaid to buy meds.  Research universities keep pumping out cheap labor for the states.  In the state of Indiana the largest university system is the community college system and 75% of its instructors are adjuncts.  With hours required guess the quality of education these students are getting.

  • Sigmund5

    RE: my previous post.  I am waiting for my SS payments to be garnered.

  • TomK in Boston

    The solution is to restore our commitment to public education. Decide what tuition will be, and collect the taxes to make that possible with a progressive state tax.

    If state U costs are low, they will act as a brake on what the private Unis can get away with.

    By all means, the corporatization of education with ever more highly paid administrators should be rolled back. I also think it’s a great idea to make the Uni partially responsible for paying back the student loans. That would put the online scam Unis out of business in a hurry.

    It’s also true that not everyone needs to go to college, tho everyone should have the opportunity if that’s what they choose. There will be lots of other good jobs for the non-elite in a Ryan/Romney economy – maid, nanny, housekeeper, valet, driver, gardner, footman, butler…

  • http://www.dogoodgauge.org The Do Good Gauge

    I don’t remember which NPR program it was, but recently a professor teaching a humanities course through internet media described how student interaction provided more benefit than he did.   While listening to this program I felt how unfair it was for a university to profit from the motivation of students.   Wikipedia is doing it. Craig’s List is doing it.   Google is doing it.  Why can’t a new internet media provide a free means for the public to the leverage the motivation to understand.   The granularity of such focus goes beyond an education framework.   With thought, internet technology could provide the incentive where historical and scientific truth directs the educational process.     

    Thank about the Supreme Court.   An educational tool could make a sport for learning historical decisions.  The Supreme Court oral arguments have been recorded in writing since the West v. Barnes decision in 1791.  The Do Good Gauge project is interested in developing a sport’s media based on Supreme Court case law.  The idea is to index and categorizes each Supreme Court docket similar to the Oyez Project.   To make all audio recordings available for public accessibility.   To provide a volunteer system similar to Librivox to record oral testimony prior to 1955 in mp3 format.   The goal of such a Supreme Court media would provide the general public the tools to participate in reviewing past cases to determine the validity of our current and future justice decisions.   The goal is not intended to be political.  The goal is to provide the thrill of spectator sports using logic, reason, and historical evidence to analyse the outcome of civic mandate.   This Do Good Gauge proposal differs from the Oyez project in that it is intended to be a spectator sport.   The goal is to provide a media for public participation instead watching passively.

    As others have mentioned in this forum, universities are expensive.  Too much money goes into expensive buildings.    Like it or not, Wikipedia, Google, and Craig’s List illustrate a cost effective model for the benefit of public education.   Thomas Jefferson and other highly regarded forefathers have written about the requirement of an informed and educated populace to sustain a successful government.   The cost of a University Education needs competition to lower the price.    Developing free internet tools for educational tools for collaborative understanding is a step in the right direction.

    Volunteers are required to help develop this thought.

    • REM

      Absolutely. Students can learn a ton from the internet and from each other. The problem is: that one sheet of paper at the end. Will employers respect a degree from the University of Wikipedia? My optimistic 18-year-old-self thought YES, employers will appreciate me for who I am. The crushing economy I graduated into told me, no, actually, if you even want to get a toe in the door, you need to first show me a degree from a top-of-the-line university.

      • http://www.dogoodgauge.org The Do Good Gauge

        In a market economy where a skill is a commodity the value you give to a degree in acquiring a job is a hasty generalization. Take the example of a typical job posting for a computer programmer. Typically five years of experience and a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field are in the requirements.   Experience is often considered in lue of a diploma. America is in an economic depression. Job’s are scarious.  This is an employer’s market. There are many more candidates for employment than jobs available. Employers can choose from the best of the best at a discounted rate. This explains individuals with unrelated Phd’s working as software developers in the banking industry. From an outsider’s point of view the value of a degree is often overstated. Many highly skilled positions are chaired by non degreed employees.   

        Thomas Jefferson’s emphasis for educating the public mentioned nothing about a piece paper. His goal was an educated and knowledgeable general public. He believed the governance of a country could not succeed lacking an informed citizenry.

        There is great value in a University. When the universities capitalize on this value to the detriment of the general public, alternative means of seeking knowledge must be sought for the advancement of public wisdom.

  • Kedson

    This whole thing sickens me. We are right in the middle of this and have to decide by May 1 to send our child to a state school we can afford or the out of state school we know is the right fit.

    The middle class pays the price for this, we make too much from savings and working hard. We make too little to afford a decent education. My child would be happy to work for Teach For America but they only pay the interest on loans so he doesn’t think it is worth it. Very sad and completely frustrating.  

    • Joan FrisinaBowles

      Kedson, as a Retired Prof, and a member of the Group Forgivestudentloandebt.com ( which I encourage you to check out the students and comments there), I would recommend your daughter wait one year. Things may get better if Obama is reelected, and he may be able to go the next step and improve the college opportunities.  Also, help us pass HR 4170, so your child will really have a chance. Let her work at any job for a year, then, consider a two year college degree program in a field where there is work. Things will improve, and groups like ours are fighting to get things changed for the middle class. As a Retired Prof, I say be very careful, and don’t let her get in too much debt.

      • beth

        “Things may get better if Obama is reelected”…lol

  • Mary

    The federal government  has offered programs that repay or “forgive” graduate student loans at a certain amount of the student’s debt per endentured year; I wonder if they will try to “ease” the lack of financial support by offering more of such forgiveness programs.  Until now, they seem to be limited to engineering, medical professionals, and mental health providers. What about teachers? Social workers?

    • Rachel

       Certain states pay for social workers to attain their graduate degrees.

      • Joan FrisinaBowles

        Those days are quickly coming to a close.

  • Joan FrisinaBowles

    Most graduates I know have payments ranging from an average of $300 to $700 per month. Even with a BA/BS degree. Everyone with just a $100 dollar payment… raise your hand please.

  • Pingback: Warren, Sen. Brown: Stop Student Loan Rate Hike | WBUR

  • TomK in Boston

    Maybe we could stage a spectacle where 18 yr olds fight to the death for free tuition, for the entertainment of the Ryan/Romney crowd sitting in luxury skyboxes. We could call them “the education games”….

  • Linda Kaboolian

    Tom – Please note the correlation between tax squeezes that have caused the cost of public higher education to sky rocket upwards and the low price of capital that banks are charging for student loans.  Even without a causal link, the fact is that while it is becoming harder and harder for the “not yet affluent” to go to college without crushing debt, the already flush banking elite are saving on taxes and have a new market!

    • aj

      You’ve presented a very intelligent and sophisticated insight into the public higher ed financing racket. You must have a background in finance.

    • Tim Driscoll

       Thank you for posting the 10 ton elephant in the room. We are well on our way to becoming a nation where only the wealthy can be educated and receive health care.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Brown/1227104716 Tim Brown

    Oh God, the comments section is rife with the “well if you don’t want debt go don’t go to a $50,000 school.” Look, $40k + is most private schools now.

    The advice: do two years in community college, transfer up to a place that will give you scholarships or a cheaper state school, and minimize costs, is great advice. It works on the individual level. It is not a systemic solution to fix our education needs. A report just out shows that community colleges turned away over 400,000 Americans last year due to overcrowding and with most states cutting funding even as as demand goes up due to people re-skilling for a more competitive job market/more people loathe to take on student debt, we can expect that number to go up.

    Our state universities and community college simply don’t have the capacity to serve even fraction of all the people looking for higher education. For better or worse America has a mostly privatized higher education system and we need to work for solutions within that context.Also, how is it that education is $3000-6000 a year in Canada right across the border? 

    • REM

      Agreed. Some majors have a lot of “electives” padding time at school which can be credits transferred from a cheaper community college. My degree had almost no electives at all and transfer students just took summer courses to make up the difference. They didn’t graduate any faster than the rest of us.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GWU752A7JZVSJ6YZPQ3PGG2MEY Joy

    I was fortunate to have parents who could afford to pay my way through a state school.  I didn’t realize at the time what a blessing that was.  I wonder now if the amount of debt a student must take on is worth the benefit of a college degree. 

  • aj

    It will take a revolutuion. There will be blood. Trust me, I’ve looked into it.

  • Still Here

    This is a replay of the housing crisis; bad credit risks taking on too much debt under delusional assumptions and then expecting somebody else to take care of it when the s//t hits the fan. Do-gooders mess it up again.

    • Ray in VT

      By and large I think that your comparison of individuals taking on bad mortgages to students taking on loan debt to be flawed.  Some certainly over-reached in terms of the debt that they took on, but the long term benefit of taking on modest amounts of debt in order to achieve the training, skills and certifications that are often needed these days in order to obtain better paying jobs has been an equation that has worked out for many people over decades in this country.

      Certainly an improved job market would help some and controlling the spiraling costs of health care could hold down college costs.  We have also seen massive reductions in state support of public higher education in this country over the years which has compelled some to take on more debt to cover the costs.

      So who are the “do gooders” in your scenario?  Would that be a government that sees a long term national benefit in an educated work force?  Perhaps only those who can pay out of pocket should go to college, while those of lesser means should be content to be often locked into a lower station in life.

      • REM

        I don’t think it’s actually clear to many prospective college students what a “modest amount” of “good debt” is. As a high school student, any job that pays more than minimum wage seems like a fortune. A few hundred a month on a five-figure salary sounds luxurious to anyone who has only ever had to spend his earnings on “fun extras.” The way the boomer generation has brought their kids up has left us unprepared for reality after graduation – no matter how well-educated we are.

    • TomK in Boston

      It is a replay. In the housing bubble the deregulated bankers scammed the middle class out of their biggest asset, home equity, and with student loan debt they’re back for more. If Etcha gets in, stand by for them grabbing the SS trust fund with fees and selling bad investments to privatized accounts.

      It’s simple – look for any remaining wealth of the middle class, and the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations in our financial sector will have a plan to redistribute it to the top.

      • Mward04

         Good Point, I hadn’t thought of it that way. Just like the housing bubble yanked many middle class families back into working class or poverty, Student Loan debt will do the same thing. Just think about all the first-generation college students, or even students from middle class families. To put a burden of debt on these unsuspecting students and their families is unconscionable.  All it takes is one student per family to get embroiled in this debt cycle. What about families with 3 or 4 kids? How much debt will the parents have to shoulder? Many will choose to forego college, and find themselves back in the working-class rat face.

      • Still Here

        Wow, thank you mister pass the buck.  No wonder this country is in decline.  Though good news for you, it’s somebody else’s fault.

  • Mel

    How does one get to the age of 18 without understanding loans? Upon graduation I was in debt by $21,000 at 8+%, I knew it was my responsibility to pay the loans back. Which I did. You make choices. You don’t travel, go out to eat, shop for items you don’t need… you take responsibility!

  • concerned citizen

    I have tried calling to get on the show but the number reaches wbur message which states you are closed.

    I work with college students at an expensive private school and also have a child in college for whom we have borrowed to pay tuition.   I am appalled at the debt students are carrying–especially from private colleges.  We are one of the wealthiest nations in the world.  Germany, which is one of the most productive nations, provides free university educations.  We are penny wise and pound foolish in terms of not investing in our youth’s education. 

    One consequence which has not been mentioned on the show is that the amount of future debt–if students are aware–often determines career choices.  Students do not go into teaching but choose finance, accounting, engineering which they believe will provide a good job following graduation.  Of course we need good engineers but we also need good teachers–especially need good teachers!  But teaching is not worth the expensive of college and hence more and more financially-anxious students avoid the profession.

  • Vince Dunsworth

    The costs of education have soared, and they don’t need to. At a local university, “privatized housing” was built, and it is by far the most expensive student housing in town. The University is mandating that the students use this housing as part of their agreement with the developer.

    Students can find off campus housing at half the price, but are not allowed to move off campus until their junior year.

    Also, there is an “arms race” between universities in the ammenities department. Gyms, fancy buidings etc do not make a better education.

    • REM

      And no one is pulled in more by these amenities than the parents on a college tour. The boomers want the best for their kids. They don’t realize that when they paid their own way through college 40 years ago, a part-time job actually scratched the surface.

  • TomK in Boston

    “We used to be state-supported, then state-assisted, and now we are state-located.” — Jim Duderstadt, former president of the University of Michigan.

    We had high quality, inexpensive public education when we believed in government, public projects and taxes to pay for them. Now we’ve bought into the  “gvt is the problem and taxation is theft”  voodoo and we have expensive, deteriorating public education.

    Does that really surprise anyone? It’s obvious, isn’t it?

  • Tim Driscoll

    When will the American people wake up? Our infrastructure is falling apart, states are going bankrupt as a result of ever diminishing Federal funds, primary and secondary education are in an abysmal state, social programs are being drastically slashed. All of these things primarily affect the middle class. Yet when Obama and the Democrats want to raise taxes on the wealthy; the Republicans, who could not be elected without middle class suport, refuse to cooperate. We are sorely in need of increased revenue to support all the programs that allow the middle class to survive. Yet those folks continue to vote against their own best interests.

    • aj

      I agree. There is no Left in the US. Americans are dumb.

    • Anonymous

      Makes you wonder. I guess it’s their education.
      I’m starting to think that we Americans are not very smart and that we do what we are told. No matter how absurd.
      Look at all the clowns who work at the TSA and what people put up with.

    • kate

      Raising the capital gains tax on a couple hundred thousand poeple will not pay for a fraction of what you demand. Yea, raising everyone’s taxes will solve everything. Wake up yourself.

  • Joe – north of Boston

    Schools seem to be bragging that their target debt for students is about $25,000 at graduation.  They fail to publish “total debt” inclusive of parental debt – which can obviously be 2, 3, 4 times.
    Home Equity is included in Private School financial equity calculations. If you’ve built equity, the schools want it.
    I can’t help but wonder how many families are loaded with Home Debt b/c they converted Equity into Tuition and are now underwater due to funding state of the art fitness clubs and cruise ship style dining facilities at their child’s university.

    As for not understanding the implications of loans: Maybe basic finance and the math associated with compounding interest, points on a mortgage, and car loans versus lease (as well as tuition debt) – should be pre-req for High School graduation (and/or part of the SAT college boards).

  • Mark

    I find the comparison between student loan debt and the housing crisis/credit card debt regrettable.  There is good debt and bad debt and taking on debt to further your education is often a good move.  A high school graduate today can often find herself between a rock and a hard place…either take on the debt with the expectation of higher long-term earning potential or face a future or poverty or near-poverty with the disappearance of REAL middle class jobs without a college education. 
    We are failing the younger generation.  We are not training them to be competent to take on some of the *new* high-tech middle class jobs and instead force even the lowest performing students to do and spend whatever is needed to get that college degree.  Way too many of these students end up selling cars or real estate in the long-run.  We hate the idea of “tracking” in this country, but many countries have a wide variety of educational “tracks” available to their.  Many train technicians able to address many of the needs of corporations with the equivalent of a high school degree, two year, four year and 5-6 year programs.  We train students in “liberal arts”, saddle them with debt and no job.  I actually think that a liberal arts education is a great thing, but it should be taking place in high school, not college.  College is for specialization.  We are not currently adequately doing this, but the solution is not to take the burden from the state (K-12 eucation) and place it on the indiviual (college tuition).  We need to fix the entire educational system…it is truly a mess that will have dire consequences.

  • Mr. Z

    One underlying problem of many of these college graduates is that they cannot find a reaonable paying job but one reason that they cannot find this job is because many of the jobs are overseas because of outsourcing.

  • Mward04

    I see all of these people criticizing those with student debt, stating that they should have been more reasonable in their life choices. I’ll say from my own personal experience, at the age of 18 with plans on “being a doctor when I grow up”, $40k isn’t unreasonable for undergrad. I went to a small private prestigious liberal-arts college, majored in psychology thinking I wanted to be a counselor/therapist. I remember speaking to the financial aid adviser and being reassured that student loan debt is “good debt”, and that I’ll have plenty of time and opportunity to pay it off. With a psychology degree? Please, be for real. But who realizes that they have a useless degree at age 20?

    Then later I realized that I did not want to go into counseling, and I redirected my career path to being an advanced practice nurse. I thought I was being clever by choosing to “bridge program” which would allow me to obtain an RN and a MSN in 2 years, rather than 2 years to become an RN and then an additional 2 years for my master degree. That makes sense right? 2 years is less than 4 years, I’d get out quicker and be making money quicker. Plus, all of the research I had done suggested that APRN’s make $80-90k a year, surely I’d be able to pay off my debt in a reasonable manner. Plus, financial aid promised lots of loan-forgiveness and loan-repayment programs aimed at providers who serve at-need populations. They didn’t mention how difficult it is to get into one of those programs.

    Well, 3 years after graduation I’m working for a non-profit and making about $12k less than I expected. My student loan debt, which started off at $104k when I graduated in 2009 is $150k now. I’ve been surviving by applying for income-based repayment options, but interest still builds up each month. Right now, I’m going through the process of consolidating my loans but prior to that I was being expected to pay nearly $800/month in student loan payments.

    I have no disposable income. I don’t own my own home, and frankly I don’t see when I’ll be able to. I feel like I’ve worked so hard; I went to the “right” schools, I made good grades, and graduated. My degrees look great on the wall, but the benefits of attending those school do not outweigh the burden of this debt.

    • aj

      Thanks for sharing that. When you say you work for non-profit, is that like a non-profit hospital type thing? How did it go from 104 to 150 so quick? Were these private loans or Federal? With the Income-based repayment option it can’t go past 10% of income and after 20 years the loan is forgiven with Federal loans, is that correct? How much if any more school would you need for a Nurse Practitioner and how much more money would you make?

  • notreadytogiveup2012

    Not to denigrate the former military guy who called in, but who paid for his education? The government! Who made choices that enabled him to go to school debt free – he did! (he sounded like he took one for the team by doing this, like he did other people a favor?). We all make choices, yes. But many, many people do not have full information/knowledge when it comes to education loans. In fact, my brother, a former Marine, was screwed out of most of GI benefits. The in essence lied to him. Just like my financial aid counselor stretched the truth about my loans. 

  • Anonymous

    One really has to wonder if politicians would start to engender solutions if younger people voted more reliably…compared to issues affecting older adults, such as the housing crisis or medicare funding, there seems little political incentive to spend money on lowering student loan interest rates, since historically this group has been an unreliable voting block. Why would a politician build his career on policies aimed at those in the 20 – 40 age bracket? The more sucessful and enduring politician will craft policies that appease NARP members…in the long run, this leads to a type of financial Gerontocracy of which the emerging student loan crisis is but one symptom.

  • Service Oriented

    Hey Tom,

    Here’s an
    idea – an extension of the GI Bill concept –

    Seniors:  Your Country Needs YOU !
    Earn your Tuition in Advance.

    “Enter into Public Service
    for two years after High School – military, peace corps, urban school refurbishment, day
    care provider – whatever. Serve society for a couple of years, (while gaining real
    world experience, baseline of work ethic, and increased teen age maturity i.e.
    less drinking) and THEN the government will reimburse for university tuition. Society
    wins, Students win. No subsidy, no forgiveness/bailouts – just a Quid Pro Quo
    Contract with Society. 

  • Tim E

    I got an information systems master’s degree, one class per term, for five years.  Half-way into the degree, I got a job that doubled my salary.  I saved the extra money, and by the time I graduated I had saved enough to pay off $47K of my total $53K student loan, on my first payment.  That left me with $5000 left to pay–very manageable.  

    School tuition is too high because banks give out student loans like candy, without a care for the risk of repayment.  The more money the banks throw at education in the form of loans, the easier it is for schools–especially for-profit schools–to raise tuition.  If banks would spend some time evaluating loan risk case-by-case and denying excessive loan amounts, schools couldn’t get away with raising tuition so much.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mattstern2 Matthew Stern

      I think you are right Tim.  I wonder – should lenders be able to base interest rates and fund availability on school, degree, and a students’ merit?  This would definitely push students into programs that pay, although I realize that an education is not solely about job training.

    • Still Here

      The biggest provider of student loans by very far is now the federal government.  What do you think are the underwriting standards of the federal government?  Perhaps similar to Fannie and Freddie now; that is, only a pulse required?  Student loan totals have hit $1T.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattstern2 Matthew Stern

    Too much focus is given to the first part of the cost-benefit equation.  Let us not forget, an education is meant, in part, to provide an increase in lifetime income and job security.  That is why I think lawmakers should push for legislation that mandates the tracking and release of statistics on the salaries of graduates, both short-term and long-term.

    My heart lies with many of the more purely academic disciplines (e.g. humanities) but many of these degrees are not delivering (perhaps even certain schools are failing to prepare students for the job market).  And prospective and current students need to know this fact – schools should be honest about what job prospects and lifetime wages a given degree has to offer.

    Of course, I do not think a degree is solely about job training. With an education, one becomes a better consumer and better able to fulfill their civic duty.  There is, of course, also the more perverse “consumption” side of education (e.g. Greek life, binge drinking, etc) that need not be ignored, and should be seriously evaluated relative to its costs.In addition to addressing cost issues, we need to consider tracking and disclosing information to students.  It is an essentially ingredient for making the system work.

  • Anonymous

    Around 2003, when tuition was exploding, I heard a top administrator at a renowned university explain that the reason for the growth in tuition was that it reflected “what the market will bear”.

    Today universities and colleges are being run by administrators who pad their ranks and grant each other very healthy salaries that don’t reflect value added to the education they market.

    The ROI on the degrees they market is falling fast. This whole model is not sustainable and will correct itself eventually, but not until it has taken a huge toll on individuals financially and society as a whole as we become ever less educated and far less competitive in the global marketplace… unless the random upheaval resulting from this lack of management of higher education is replaced with a systematic effort to make education affordable to those inspired to seek it.

    • guest

      Today universities and colleges are being run by administrators who pad their ranks and grant each other very healthy salaries …”    Yes, while schools at every level (K-college) are having to cut needed programs, the administrators channel more money to themselves.  The new budget for this district includes a 6% pay raise to the superindendent, at the same time they are cutting kindergarten to half-day, laying off teachers…

    • TomK in Boston

      You’re right, Mark, but the Unis don’t exist in isolation. The model that is failing is voodoo economics, that is devastating our whole society.

      High tuition and student loan debt is business as usual in the Reagan/Ryan/Romney/Rand transformation of our middle class society into an oligarchy. Whack yourself on the forehead if you voted for them. Do you think the peons go to college in an oligarchy? 

      3 specifics:

      1. Tax cuts and gvt bashing -> nonsupport of state U -> tuition increases -> student loan debt.

      2. Growing numbers of administrators paying themselves obscene salaries. Hello? Anyone think that’s found in  Unis only? Guess what, that’s what corporate execs do across the board today. It’s part and parcel of the Reagan/Ryan/Romney/Rand “greed is good” society.

      3. Inequality. The #1 result of voodoo econ has been surging inequality. We talk about the 1% a lot but basically, you’re OK to spectacularly well off if you’re in in the 5%, and the 5% probably have enough kids to occupy most of the slots in the good Unis, and they can handle the costs. So there is not the downward pressure on tuition you would get in a more equal society. But again, why should the 95% go to college anyway? Plenty of jobs for maids, nannys, valets, gardners…in the Reagan/Ryan/Romney/Rand USA.

      • Sharyn

        re: #2   Yes, it is well-entrenched (and expected)  in the corporate world, but it’s especially disturbing when non-profit CEOs follow this MO.  (and maybe the word “non-profit” has become somewhat of a misnomer — seems they have LOTS of money, call it whatever you want, going to the administrators)  I think the highest paid CEO in the Washington D.C. area may be the head of Sallie Mae.  And school district superintendents are “rewarded” with pay raises while they are firing their district employees (teachers and others).

        • TomK in Boston

          In our new USA the “non-profits” act just like for-profits. Greed is good for everyone.

          Are there no financial services firms in DC? Here in Boston there was a recent to-do about how the CEO of a plain vanilla ins co made $50 million/yr. I bet the CEO of even a medium sized hedge fund or mutual fund co would leave Mr Sallie in the dust.

          • Sharyn

            Looks like the $50 million beats Sallie Mae.  Here is a list of the 100 top-paid executives compiled by Washington Post in 2006.  Sallie Mae CEO’s total compensation was over $39 million. (beating out Capital One, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin)  Interestingly, a FORMER Sallie Mae CEO made 23rd on this list, with total compensation over $9 million, (including a 6-figure “salary”).  He’s retired, and still receiving salary/compensation!
            [Fannie(18) and Freddie(10) made top 20.]http://projects.washingtonpost.com/post200/2006/executives-by-compensation/

          • TomK in Boston

            Ooh, that is high. We should have stuck with plain government agencies instead of “GSE” (government sponsored enterprises) which allowed these organizations to pay private sector salaries while enjoying gvt guarantees. What a crazy idea.

          • Sharyn

            Are student loan payments going to the CEO’s humungus salary?  Or is it from taxpayers?  Where does the salary come from?

          • belinda

            SLMA is a private company – the salary is paid out of the profits derived from the loan portfolio

          • http://www.agingwithstudentdebt.org/WELCOME AWSD

            SM has a very diverse portfolio.  They are currently the largest private lender of SL’s.  Prior to 2010 they were ALSO the largest servicer of Federal loans and still hold millions of those loans.  So they make money off of students, co-signers, gov AND taxpayers!  They have the best scam going in American history!

    • Ed Lover

       “I heard a top administrator at a renowned university explain that the
      reason for the growth in tuition was that it reflected “what the market
      will bear”.”

      This is absolutely true, unfortunately.  A corollary is that universities will charge as much as students can borrow, because that’s as much as they can pay, practically speaking.

      It then follows that making it harder to borrow money for college would force schools to make tuition more affordable, though at the cost of access to college for poor people.  I don’t know how to address this without more easy money allowing people to bid the prices back up to the stratosphere, like they’re doing now.

      Maybe make college (almost) fully subsidized, Europe-style.  But besides being a pipe dream in the American political context, doing do would have unintended consequences: if everyone can get a master’s for almost nothing, who will work all the necessary but low-skilled jobs?  No one seems to like immigrants very much these days, so there goes that option. :(

  • TomK in Boston

    Like I said below, in an earlier version of our society where we believed in gvt and taxes for the common good we got great, nearly free public higher education, and in the current era that hates taxes and the public sector we get lousy, expensive public higher education. Isn’t that what you would expect? Isn’t that what the right wants?

    I’m disappointed someone isn’t arguing that there should be no public higher education. I mean, if it’s worth doing, the private sector will do it, and competition will lead to the best price, right? Isn’t that the voodoo party line? Do I have to feed them their scripts, or did I just miss it? The righty think tanks have dropped the ball on this one. 

    Again: tax cuts and gvt bashing -> nonsupport of state U -> tuition increases -> student loan debt.

    Any middle class family with kids that votes for the tax cutters should be asking if they got back what they lost in tuition increases.

  • Sydney39

    I was in my sixties when I went to divinity school and took out a student loan.  The person in the financial aid office reassured me that student loans are forgiven when you die!!

    • Anonymous

      Death, the ultimate financial planning tool.

  • Liberitas

    These things can fix the problem:
    1) Tax investiment income on university endowments not used for scholarships or grants
    2) Require all universities recieving federal student loans to publish prominently and publicly the post graduation employment and income (average, mean, std deviation, sample size >50 students)  by degree and major.  Require signature on a form showing this for a student’s chosen major and degree path at 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year increments with a spread 10 of class years.
    2a) Use this data to calculate ans show on all student loan forms the expected payback and likelihood of payback for the loan amount, require signature on this also. This way students know exactly what they are getting into every time they take a hunk of student aid. 
    2b) High school counsellors should show this data to all  high school seniors contemplating colleges and majors. Picking a major needs to be as economic as emotional. If you pick a major that is unemployable, you should still be on the hook.
    3) High School counsellors should also show equivelent data for technical schools and skill professions.  These are a better choice for many students then attempting and ailing at a degree, or worse getting a degree in a major they will later regret, possibly from an overrpriced school.
    4) Forgive portions or all of loans for those who:
    serve a 4 year term in the US Armed Forces
    Serve 4 years in the Peace Corps
    Serve 4 or more years in Doctors w/o borders, engineers w/o borders, etc.

  • JRG

    I just wrote to Obama- he was the last on my list- I have written everyone under him and gotten no specific responses. I am a female artist, in my early 60′s and struggling. 5 years ago, after 8 years working on my doctorate and raising two children and working ( part time), all of my doctoral papers, including the first that had been read by advisors 4 years before, were rejected.  A new committee member came on, whose philosophy clashed with that of the paper- I guess. He was appointed my advisor- I was not even asked.  He had no respect for my work.  I was told I had a few months to rewrite all work to be approved by him.  It took me 8 years to complete and built on itself…of course this was an impossible demand. I was then to go to a more expensive status ( which I could not afford without an accepted proposal) , or I could leave. Ta da.  I wrote to the dean, who it seemed had a problem, like this new professor, with the fact that I raised questions about academia, and the way the arts were being taught there.  It was an education degree in art.  Are we not to question?  I wrote to the President- who never answered- only through the lawyers of the university. I then proceeded to fall apart as the very big loans started hitting, and me with no doctorate, no job that could help me pay them back. Last year, after being poverty stricken, and on food stamps, the US Dept of Justice wrote and threatened to garnish any social security I might get, as well as any salaries.  I jumped on the fact that I was speaking to someone besides the college in question- an institution that could afford to, and should- pay back these loans. I explained my financial situation, and offered to share letters, emails – proof- that I had been a student in good standing for the entire time of my loans- getting A’s. And that to kick me out in that manner was immoral and should be illegal.  They requested proof of my financial status (dismal) which I sent).  No new letters for a year.  Then a few months ago, more letters from the Dept of Ed’s collection agency.  I wrote the Dept of Justice and asked what gives?  Didn’t I send required info?  They answered that they had sent back my paperwork to the Dept of Ed the year before.  And that they forwarded the latest to them as well.  The DOE (dept of ed?) told them, Justice Dept. to tell me- contact the collection agency.  Instead, I sent the same paperwork, with now yet another letter on the top, to the Dept of Ed, Loan forgiveness dept.  All quiet for a month.  A new letter just arrived from the collection agency- that the Dept of Ed had instructed them to collect the sums owed immediately.  They mention on the back that there are programs for those who like me had paid consistently on their loans ( I had not.  They had been deferred until I was indirectly kicked out). Up to 10 years to pay back.
    Lets see.  My loans have now reached a quarter of a million dollars.  That is about 20,000 a year at least. Which I would then owe to a bank- not eligible for any kind of loan forgiveness.  I am on food stamps.  Poverty level.  
    So I wrote Obama an email.  Just like I am writing you. 
    Know of any newspaper that would be interested in reading the letters, emails, reports etc that prove what I have been saying all along?  That I was criminally treated by this University, and now am being harassed by the Dept of Ed. The school is a big one. JRG

    • Smartpes

       Maybe your work just wasn’t good? You seem to blame everyone and everything but yourself.

      • JRG

        Then why was I still in the program?  Why was I getting A’s? Why had two advisors read the first papers ( one had read all) and encouraged me to go on?  Why were other professors in other departments working with me, and discussing my work?  These are the discrepancies that should be looked at.  If Universities are given Sovereign status ( and they are, re: their decisions) they have a responsibility to be fair.  If they think the work being done is not good enough, they owe it to the student to tell them.  Believe me- if the work wasn’t good- I would have much rather been told earlier on so I did not spend so many years of my life, and get so in debt.  

  • REM

    Our messaging about college is so conflicted in this country. All growing up I was expected to go to college, it really wasn’t an option not to. I was told that getting an education was key to success in this country. I was told to follow my dreams. 

    At age 18 we’re supposed to be springing on kids, who have never had to financially support themselves and don’t know the limits of a paycheck, that actually, no, you can’t follow your dreams. Only kids of the wealthy can. It doesn’t matter that you got straight As, you’re going to community college. It doesn’t matter that you are passionate about art, it’s really only practical to study business. 

    As well intentioned as these cost of college calculators are, it’s way too late for it to hold meaning for seniors in high school. Of course college kids are in denial about the quantity of their loans. What else are they to do? If everyone in their community expects them to go on and do great things and then they’re held back from their dreams at the last minute – rather than suffering a debt-filled life, they suffer a life of unmet potential. Do we really want to be a country where only the kids of the wealthy get to live their dreams?

    On another note, I believe this nation benefits from having a certain number of under-water-basket-weavers in our midst. Society benefits from and is enriched by people who devote their lives to philosophy, the arts and any number of abstract majors that aren’t directly correlated with professions.  Yes, it’s difficult to justify the expense of a degree in the liberal arts, but what kind of society would we become if we didn’t have people amoungst us with their minds attuned to the broadest possible directions of thinking? Do we really want every single little kind in America to grow up wanting to work on Wall Street? That is not the makings of an innovative and diverse society.

  • David

    Perfect example of this crisis:


    “Yes, I went to college. Everyone told me it was a great idea, financially. I would be able to get a job and pay off the loans no sweat. But that hasn’t panned out. There has been sweat, and tears trying to pay them off or pay them down. I am not shifting the blame unto anyone else, it is my debt. However, it has become an albatross around my neck. So I am desperate and I ask you, my friends and family for help. I cannot do it alone. So, I am asking for you help, any help at all. I want to pay off my loans, so I can sleep at night. I want to pay off my loans so I can pick up the phone without my hand shaking. I want to pay them off so I can open my mail without tears in my eyes. It has become too much for me to bear, so I ask you one more time for your help. Thank you”

  • Ira

    I think the point was missed on the show:  FOLLOW THE MONEY!who is making the money?

    • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

      A bigger point was missed. Why are the “best and brightest” unable to figure out the likely return on their investment?

      Why do we expect the less well off non-college graduates to bail out whiny college grads who suddenly think $20,000 in college debt is too much a burden to carry for the $1 million more income economists are always telling us college grads will earn more than their high school educated peers?

      BTW one reason for this economic truism is that college grads now fill so many high quality, high benefits jobs formerly filled by high school graduates. Do you really need a college education to drive a bus, manage a store or do street reporting for a big city tabloid? Nope.

  • chad

    Cry me a river. Deal with it. They took out the loans, they pay them back. What happened to responsibility? Now, like everywhere else, I have to bail out freeloaders with my tax dollars. Some of us worked two jobs while going to school so as to have no student debt.

    • Merch85

       Its a bit more of a problem than you may realize. In no right should education cost as much as it does for students. And the interest rates are criminal. I don’t know when or if you graduated– but you are talking about an American generation that has been penalized by economic inequality like few before. For the fist time in American history parents are more educated than their children. For the first time a whole generation is less successful than their parents. Interest rates are criminal. Try to imagine graduating college into a job that pays a low 22k a year and trying to live and pay back 52k with interest rates around 6, 7, and 8%.  Do the math– its a trap.  Education should not be so profitable for the lender. This is a complicated issue that needs more than a flippant  comment about your tax dollars.  

  • Merch85

    In no way should education cost as much as it does for students. And the interest rates are criminal. — we are talking about an American generation that has been penalized by economic inequality like few before. For the fist time in American history parents are more educated than their children. For the first time a whole generation is less successful than their parents. Interest rates are criminal. Try to imagine graduating college into a job that pays a low 22k a year and trying to live and pay back 52k with interest rates around 6, 7, and 8%.  Do the math– its a trap.  Education should not be so profitable for the lender. This is a complicated issue that needs more than a flippant  comment about your tax dollars.  

  • Guest

    Repayment plans should be changed.  Repayment should only start when the student borrower is earning  the national median income, and should then be restricted to a percentage of salary.  This is how the UK used to do it, as I remember.  When private finance lends, let them be responsible for ensuring that their investment is well spent– otherwise they take a loss.  Isn’t this how the system is supposed to work (but never does)?  Other funding can be in the form of public loans and grants made by the government, under conditions that colleges and universities must meet– cost containment (including lower executive administrative salaries?–  teachers and supplies needn’t take all the hit), diversity, and appropriate courses of study determined by public panels (perhaps local school boards could be given input).
    As it is now the entire thing is structured as a giveaway to educational institutions and big finance.  Shift much more of the responsibility to the private lender, and you will see it cleaned up to manageable levels.

  • Bin

    Hi y’all! What’s all that fuss about? I am a billionaire investor job creator. I inherited my money (old slave-owner plantation fortune, but that’s another story…) and put some of it lending to students. It’s earning 15% and doubled in five years. It’s almost as good a business as that factory I moved to China, with the added advantage of having Uncle Sam collecting if someone cannot pay. As I see it, its all return and no risk. It’s better than the old slave and indentured-labor days – if the peons rebel, they just end killing each other. So, I am going to put some of my hard-earned money into the right PACs, so that they can pull the plug on this socialist radio programming. Ok, gotta jump on my jet now for a quick jaunt to the Bahamas… 

  • Pingback: Americans owe more on student loans than on their credit cards « The Money Heifer

  • Michael De Santis

    What is the possibility of setting a real living wage (ie $30/hr), convert their college course hours/units from dollars to hours, and then allowing students/grads to work enough hours to pay off their loans?

  • Christine

    When I went to college in 1988, 4 years of tuition was less than the starting salary I was offered upon graduation (I am ignoring room and board and taxes taken out of my salary).  Today the same school with the same degree costs 2.5 times MORE than today’s starting salary in the same field.  No wonder today’s kids are behind the 8-ball starting out.

Sep 16, 2014
Jasmin Torres helps classmate Brianna Rameles with a worksheet at the Diloreto Magnet School in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. (AP/Charles Krupa)

More parents are “red-shirting” their children in kindergarten—holding them back for a year, hoping they’ll have an edge. Does it work? We look.

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“Rich Hill,” a new documentary on growing up poor, now, in rural America. The dreams and the desperation.

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Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

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In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

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