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YouSpeak: Student Loan Debt

Americans owe more on student loans than on credit cards

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Last year, students at U.S. colleges and universities borrowed more than $1 billion for their education, a record for student loans. And this year, the amount of outstanding college loans will top $1 trillion. According to the College Board, students are borrowing twice what they did just 10 years ago, raising new concerns about an impending debt crisis. The Project on Student Debt reported recently that students who graduated from college last year owed an average of $25,250, up 5 percent from the previous year.

This week’s “YouSpeak” asks, “How concerned are you about your student loan debt?”

“YouSpeak” typically appears each Monday.

If you have a suggestion for a question we should ask, post it in the comments section below.

Alex Stout (COM’13) and Kara Siebein (COM’12) assisted with this video.

39 Comments
Nicolae Ciorogan

Nicolae Ciorogan can be reached at ciorogan@bu.edu.

39 Comments on YouSpeak: Student Loan Debt

  • Carlitos Corazon on 11.07.2011 at 8:16 am

    This video reflects a disturbing sense of entitlement on the part of the BU students interviewed… A college education – unlike a high school education – is not a “right” and majoring in a field that has no promise of employment is folly.

    The sense of entitlement was best reflected in the comment: “I shouldn’t have to worry about paying for college” (or medical school, apparently). What? Who do you suggest should be worrying about it? The American taxpayer? That is the implication.

    Here’s some ideas:
    a. attend a less expensive institution… (do two years in community college, live at home, and then transfer, for instance)
    b. work and attend school simultaneously… it will take longer but you will have far less debt.
    c. join the military, serve your time, and attend college on the GI-Bill.
    …and most importantly
    d. major in a field that promises employment… (“French Literature” will just have to be your hobby.)

    As to preparation… where is your college fund? Why no scholarship money? Did you not anticipate going to college when you were in high school? How DID you think you were going to pay for college? What was your parents’ plan? Exactly how much money did you save from your lawn-mowing job?

    Two take-aways:
    1. College is about preparing oneself for employment, period. If you are majoring in a field that has no potential for employment, change your major!
    2. If you choose to further your education to raise the level of your future compensation, then how you finance that education is your responsibility. Unless you’re planning on giving the taxpayer a portion of your future earnings – Doctor, don’t ask him to pay for your education. We already covered K-12.

    • Joey Joe Joe the 2nd on 11.07.2011 at 9:43 am

      ::slow clap::

      well said!

      Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

    • Olivia on 11.07.2011 at 12:54 pm

      I’m Olivia from the video. I am not a French literature major, it says ENG ’14 next to my name. And I would agree that college education shouldn’t be a “right”, but when you need a college education just to earn enough to survive, then it should be.

      • Bu Student on 11.07.2011 at 2:32 pm

        Do you think a college degree from an expensive private school is a right too?

        • Ben on 11.07.2011 at 8:15 pm

          I’m not sure about that, but the prospects of getting a job are disproportionately higher at an expensive private school than not.

    • John Leibold on 11.07.2011 at 1:20 pm

      I agree with all the same points that it’s your fault if you can’t climb out of your college debt. Your parents pay for 4 kids to go to college and you go to a $50,000/year place? Sob, sob…unless your Dad goes all Breaking Bad real soon and rakes in like 500K next month, what did you expect was going to happen?

      Go to community, hell even state school. I live in NY…SUNY Binghamton: No more than $10,000/year tuition, relatively equivalent academics as BU, not as cool a city but ok…not living in Boston, or being in steep debt for 20 years after college? I’ll take the former, thank you very much.

      Carlitos, you’re my boy.

      And as for executive salaries at BU…sure, a little ridiculous to our ears..but even 250K/year is only tuition from 5 kids. How would you like to have Dean Elmore’s job? Guy’s eating a burger in Myles and jumping into the Charles at the same time.

      You have to realize that if top salaries aren’t offered to high positions here, they will be somewhere else, and we’ll be left with a giant university with a weak administration, you want that?

      And last point, I swear…BU WOULDN’T BE SO EXPENSIVE IF ALL US GOONS REFUSED TO PAY THAT MUCH. Protest the high prices like those guys ‘who talk like they’re from London.’ It’s a supply and demand economy, we supply the demand and establish the price.

      I’m done. But no really, I’m not done……

    • Ally on 11.07.2011 at 2:34 pm

      @ Carlitos Heart
      1- “College education is not a right”- Ok this can’t be argued, but don’t you think it should be a right? Also, you suggest that it is ridiculous that taxpayers aid in relieving the burden the higher education cost? UM but it is not even MORE ridiculous that tax payers aid in the cost of high school education and trying to help kids that do not give a crap at all and just drop out anyway? At least you know students going to college are taking it seriously. College education is important- What if everyone just refused to receive a higher education-of course this would not happen-, but then think of the implications.
      2-I agree that majoring in a field in a field that has no promise of a job is a bad idea as well, but I don’t think it should be this way. First off, who decided what is the best field and what is not? Who decides that business is better than music. I personally prefer music. I went into health care for this reason, because I realize in America that is what will provide me with a steady job and pay. HOWEVER, if every student that went to college did this we would have a problem -and I believe this problem actually already exists although not to such an extent- but if everyone went to be a nurse or doctor we would have trillions of nurses/doctors and only the need for half of them, so then they too would be out of jobs. So faulty argument there.
      3- Attending a less expensive institution. I see a point here to some extent, but you realize that if I got a degree at CCRI or RIC instead of Harvard just to throw out some examples.. I would be much less likely to be hired, thus causing the unemployment worry again. Additionally, most “less expensive institutions” do not offer graduate degrees.
      4-I do work and go to school simultaneously.. and not even at a slower rate I worked 30 hours a week while taking 20 credits in my undergrad. First off it doesn’t help if you are making $10-12 an hour because you might make say 10,000 that year max subtract food, rent, and gas if applicable, and you are at about 1,000 or 2,000 that really makes a HUGE difference when you’re tuition is 40,000- NOT.
      5- Part C= No argument. ROTC is a good idea.
      6- As for your preparation argument… I do not feel I(or others) should be held responsible for my (or their) parents mistakes. By the time you are old enough to start thinking about college- lets say age 14 when I started working for example- it is already too late I only made like 7 an hour which does not help at all by the time I would have raised enough to put it into a CD it wouldn’t matter because most CDs take 5+ years to accrue interest- and even then with interest it would be a negligible change in comparison to tuition costs. Also, I do not think undergraduate students should be forced to claim their parents income on their FAFSAs, especially if they do not aid with their education costs.

      Lastly, I am sure you are a republican Doctor that comes from a rich family and has everything handed to him his whole life, yet freaks out at the thought of donating, helping others, or being taxed more. Thus, it is easy for you to become all indignant at what these students are speaking out about, but for someone like me -who has worked my whole life as hard as I can, even now while busting my butt in graduate school- it is easy to agree with their concerns and if I were to become a doctor, who also continues to pay taxes for K-12 as you do, I still would create a scholarship fund and have no problem paying additional taxes for college students.

      • Carolina Zeldin on 11.07.2011 at 3:31 pm

        AGREE WITH EVERYTHING you’ve said. Preach.

        • Ally on 11.08.2011 at 9:49 pm

          Thanks Carolina :)

      • Carlitos Corazon on 11.07.2011 at 4:27 pm

        - No… I don’t think a college education should be a “right”. As my mother used to say when I slacked off the academics, “The world need street sweepers too.”
        - Simple economics determines what professions will be needed in the future.
        - I have no problem with you majoring in music. I also have no problem with you living in poverty. But do it with your eyes open.
        - I agree with you as to the “reputation” of the institution. That’s why I suggested starting out at a community college and then transferring to a better school.
        - No one was talking about eliminating student debt. We were talking about reducing it. Good on you for working and doing your part.
        - Not relying on your parents’ income (FAFSA determination) would not eliminate your debt… it would just allow you to qualify for more debt.
        - In your last paragraph, you lowered the level of the discourse… but, you’re right on one count. I don’t want to fund other peoples’ kids education. I earned that money. Here’s an analogy: You bust your butt and get an “A” in a class while your classmate does nothing and gets an “F”. How would you like to give him some of your grades so you could both get Cs?… I didn’t think so.

        • Ally on 11.08.2011 at 12:29 pm

          Carlitos,
          In my lengthy comment above I said something along the lines of: it being unfortunate that our tax dollars go to secondary education for all students, even those that do not care, try, and drop out. So, I agree I would not want to share my A’s with people, nor hand them money if they aren’t taking school seriously, however I think there should be some sort of better aid available to students that work hard and do well, especially if their parents don’t clear 200,000+ a year. I know many scholarships are not awarded if grades are not high enough, and I think this is the right idea. Also, some scholarship amount are awarded based on grades (e.g. 4.0 student gets 2000 while 3.0 student gets 1000). I think this also is a good idea. I realize, however, economics and politics are much more complicated than my simplification. I am just saying I don’t think the system is efficient or justified at all.

          • Nicole on 06.13.2012 at 11:13 am

            You both are having the most disgusting and backwards conversation I have heard in a LONG time, I just cant resist commenting.

            Public education is what makes a country like the US superior to third world countries. Grades and salary are all superficial nothingness in the long run, think about the society we live in. SOCIETY IS BETTER WHEN EVERYONE IS EDUCATED, regardless of whether they chose to “drop out” after a few years, earned C’s or what ever.

            If you think public secondary education is “inefficient” for our economy, then you are incredibly uninformed and know NOTHING about economics at all.

    • Ben on 11.07.2011 at 8:12 pm

      While I will not agree nor disagree that the students have a sense of entitlement, I will say that students who have their parents paying for their college do not know what it is like to be in the same position, and may very well be saying the same things if they were not set like the privileged students.

      Then maybe these students who couldn’t afford college should have gone to a cheaper college that they could afford? Again, it is easier said when you are able to afford such an expensive college because the job prospects from a less expensive college are nowhere near the same as those from somewhere like BU.

      Nevertheless, we should definitely see more of a sense of work ethic in this world in general and less entitlement, but I don’t think that’s what these students were saying. Whether the balance of power is disproportionate or not is barely a question anymore, but whether you think that’s fair or not, that is a personal opinion.

    • anon on 11.21.2011 at 12:27 pm

      its not as easy to get the scholarship from rotc as it used to be, a lot of kids do rotc with no scholarship

    • Nicole on 06.13.2012 at 8:40 am

      (Don’t distract people from the heart of the problem by dwelling on the minutiae. Get off your high horse and look at the statistics of AVERAGE DEBT PER STUDENT AFTER COLLEGE, this is more than simply “how much one saved from lawn mowing jobs” and “when they started thinking about college”)

      ” The sense of entitlement was best reflected in the comment: “I shouldn’t have to worry about paying for college” (or medical school, apparently). What? Who do you suggest should be worrying about it? The American taxpayer? That is the implication. ”

      WHO SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT THAT?? YES, OF COURSE THE TAX PAYER SHOULD. Having a large number of well educated professionals (SUCH AS DOCTORS) is for the benefit/ betterment OF SOCIETY, not just the individual going to school. Your comment reflects a disgusting short sighted outlook that, unfortunately, mirrors the outlook of many others.

      You would think that a country with an aging population that is going to be a massive burden on the future work force would AT LEAST create an avenue for this work force to sustain itself. But unfortunately they are too fixated on how much they pay in taxes today.

      With the state of entitlement programs the way it is, the incredible costs of going to school and our growing and aging population- it is such a grim future for us (the current college students). Shame on you for not caring.

  • BU student on 11.07.2011 at 9:22 am

    I’m sorry but forgiving student debt is ridiculous. You should be responsible for what you decide to pay for. If you decide to go to a overpriced private school and take on huge amounts of student deb, and this is your decision. By forgiving student debt, you punish students that were financially more responsible and went to a less expensive school.

    You shouldn’t blame anyone but yourself if you a big house and big car and find out later that you are in big trouble

  • patrick on 11.07.2011 at 9:37 am

    “Attend college on the gi bill”

    You have no problem suggesting that taxpayers pay for it this way? The military budget is big enough don’t you think?

    This crisis imho is just like housing. Loans without discretion drive the demand and therefore the price of a commodity up. The bubble inflates. People are left owning something which they owe more than its worth and could never have the means to pay back. The system is a giant siphon of taxpayer dollars into universities. How many BU employees make 500k plus who don’t even work here anymore?

    • Overlord of the Underclassmen on 11.07.2011 at 10:06 am

      Uhm….maybe 1 or two?

  • Carlitos Corazon on 11.07.2011 at 10:23 am

    For Patrick… The GI Bill is payback for taking a very low paying job in the military with the added benefit of getting to risk your life and live in some really nasty conditions. It is also funded, to a large degree, by member contributions. By the way, there is a long list of guys and girls who never got to use their GI-Bill… cause they were killed.

    As to your housing analogy… it’s valid. Again, a sense of entitlement; a feeling that everyone should get to own a home. Nope… and everyone doesn’t get to go to college either.

    • patrick on 11.08.2011 at 7:56 am

      I appreciate your bold stance on this topic but I still disagree with encouraging the GI Bill as a way of paying for college. I’m not saying those who take advantage of the GI Bill don’t deserve it, but how many people can we pay to fight and go to school?

      Let me take a moment to bend some of your words for the sake of humor. So your stance re: the GI bill is to…

      You want people with worthless majors to take low paying jobs, to risk their lives, live in nasty conditions and possibly die so that they can leave college without debt….for the purpose of obtaining a low paying job.

      Thanks for the discussion :-)

      • Carlitos Corazon on 11.09.2011 at 7:41 am

        Exactly!

  • Anonymous on 11.07.2011 at 11:49 am

    Instead of occupying wall-street and financial professions why don’t students occupy the school administration?

    They are the ones who go to congress to request a large allotment of federal aids and loans. They are the ones who increase the tuition because people are still paying for it. If people refused to pay these exorbitant prices for college then the administration would have to lower the tuition. Yet our society thinks that because you have a degree you will make a lot of money.

    There are so many faculty and administrators who do not sacrifice their salaries whatsoever and still want to support these movements, even though they make well over the amount that deems them “wealthy”

  • student with debt on 11.07.2011 at 12:55 pm

    Okay, look. I don’t think that people should feel entitled to having my student loan debt forgiven by any means, and I do think students should be more educated on the terms and conditions of the loans they accept, but really? Higher education is quite necessary in today’s world. Have you seen the unemployment numbers for those with college degrees (even those with degrees in humanities) vs. those who only have high school diplomas? Yeah. I thought so. So let’s not place the blame fully on the students. We’re all just trying to get ourselves down the path the generation before us taught us to take. And don’t you dare suddenly try to change your tune and tell me not to listen to your advice.

  • Carolina Zeldin on 11.07.2011 at 3:35 pm

    What BU fails to tell you is that they actually DON’T encourage students to come here if they will be more that $80,000 in debt. However, they don’t tell you that until you are enrolled, or in your 3rd year and its too late. -____-

  • Jaime on 11.07.2011 at 5:32 pm

    I felt the need to comment because Carlitos while making worthwhile points is totally missing the point.

    First, I will comment on his points:

    a) Already been discussed but going to a lower ranked school will severely diminish your chances at job success (impossible to become the 1% or even the 10%). Transferring to a better school is a cop-out answer, when do you transfer? When you transfer won’t you then be paying the better school’s outrageously expensive tuition anyways? In other words, doesn’t solve the problem at all.
    b) and c) Two good options that don’t need any refuting.
    d) I agree with this at some point but it’s sad. I hope the day never comes when 90% of people are all bankers because 90% of the jobs are in banks. A society that loses its soul is no society I want to live in. We need arts, we need science, we need sports and other lower paying but valuable occupations, it only enriches society.

    Now on to my main point which Carlitos did not mention at all. The tuition in the US is severely and outrageously overpriced! This is a fact folks! Just head north to Canada and compare, you don’t even have to get out of the continent! The quality in Canadian universities is very similar to the US at a fraction of the cost (I know because I went there). Why is that you say? Yes, it is government subsidized. Oh my! Socialism! I’m sure Carlitos would be the first to say it. In all honesty though it is just progress. There is nothing wrong with the government subsidizing industries that will improve the country and society immensely like Education, Healthcare, Energy, etc.

    Personally, I have no undergraduate student debt. I went to Canada were tuition was like 6-8k at the time and paid it off thanks to a scholarship and my parents (I also plan to pay for my children’s undergraduate degrees in the future but if it’s in the US might be tough to do). After I graduate from grad school at BU I will have student debt even with my scholarship. I should be fine though but I know others are not as fortunate.

    The bottom line is the US could be so much more if these issues were tackled responsibly. Instead, the US is the biggest bubble economy/country in history. Student debt, healthcare debt, mortgage debt, credit card debt, and the list goes on and on. Someday this fixed game will break and there will be riots (we already see some of that with OWS). Apparently, this is what Free-market economy looks like no? Let’s stop bailing banks, bribing politicians (or is it called lobbying?), giving stupid tax breaks to millionaires, and letting corporations rule our country. Why can’t we bail out US citizens for a change?

  • Carlitos Corazon on 11.07.2011 at 6:48 pm

    Jaime, the conversation, which has largely degenerated into complaining about BU’s tuition, was about how to reduce student debt, and the sense of entitlement (to a college education) felt by some.

    But to your point: I’m not sure if college tuitions in the U.S. are inflated or not. The 10 most expensive schools in the world ARE all in the U.S. But so are the great majority of the best colleges in the world. Except for England, most countries have just one or maybe two reputable universites, and the competition to get into them is fierce.

    Quick, name the top three Canadian universities… anyone? Bueller? O.K. Just name three Canadian universities. No? O.K. Just spell the name of Montreal’s hockey team correctly.

    • patrick on 11.08.2011 at 8:01 am

      I was accepted to McGill for undergraduate, but chose to go to my home in state school for…you guessed it, minimizing my student debt.

  • My Opinion on 11.07.2011 at 10:13 pm

    College education is not a right, but a necessity. It’s impossible to get a good-paying job in the world today without a college degree and prices are absurd for any school. State and community colleges are cheaper, but not as good (unless you are a lucky person who happens to live in an area with some good ones) and if you are out-of-state then it costs almost as much as a private institution. Getting a degree being as necessary as it is and costing as much as it does is like if every item of food at the grocery store were to cost a few hundred dollars (instead of a few dollars). Very few people would be able to afford this.

    The price of college was never an issue for the generation before me, so I don’t understand how or why the prices have gone up so dramatically in such a short time. I also think that there are bigger issues present (perhaps some of which answer my question). Even if you ignore the issue of the education being a right (which I agree it is not, although something that is so necessary for a decent living affords near the same amount of attention) the facts pointed out don’t change. Over $1 trillion of outstanding college loans isn’t just going to disappear — it’s a big deal and a big problem.

  • Michael on 11.08.2011 at 12:34 am

    As country, we have have too many people who attend college given the number of jobs that require a degree.

    Most of you probably won’t bother, but you can see for yourself at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. It’s very interesting.
    http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco2003.htm

    “The education or training categories and wages of the occupations with the largest numbers of new jobs are significantly different than those of the fastest growing occupations. Twelve of these occupations are in an on-the-job training category, and just 7 are in a category that indicates any postsecondary education.”

    • Nathan on 11.08.2011 at 4:46 pm

      Look 3/4 of the page down on your bks link

      Table 2. Occupations with the largest numerical growth

      Virtually all the livable wage jobs (over $40-50K) require a degree

    • Nicole on 06.13.2012 at 11:25 am

      Maybe if they didn’t keep raising the retirement age, and the baby boomers finally stepped aside, my generation could have a chance at earning a living.

      I guess what you are saying is fact and what I am saying is normative, but ultimately it’s a normative conversation that must occur.

      This is just a symptom of greater problems with our “system” and making higher ed impractical for most to keep them from competing for higher paying jobs isn’t the answer. Actually, maybe it is AN answer, but a very moronic one. It’s not the American way, we should be fostering growth, not trying to stunt it by keeping people out of college.

  • Carlitos Corazon on 11.08.2011 at 7:52 am

    For “My Opinion” and Michael… Thanks Michael – you “referenced” something I had wanted to say: This feeling that you can’t get a decent job without a college degree is nonsense. Tradesmen and technicians can make a very good living. For instance, a “general contractor” will easily earn over 100K a year. College students – because they are college students and have to justify the tuition – think that everything is done at a computer. The truth is that a journeyman tradesperson will earn as much or more over a lifetime than your average liberal arts major.

    As to the price of college for the prior generation… yes, actually, it was an issue. College has always been expensive. But, it’s no more expensive today than it was in 1970. Historically, the rise in college tuition has more or less matched the inflation rate.

    I return to one of my bottom lines: If you are majoring in a field that has no potential for more than subsistence employment, then you will be well-educated and living in near-poverty. If you want a real paying job, or even a high paying job, then do your research and get into a field with promise.

    The person who gets to work in a field about which they are passionate is very rare indeed. I, for one, have a broad range of interests, but no one is going to pay me to engage them. As Throreau said in the mid-1800s: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

    With that said, I would encourage you to chase your dream… but have a back-up plan in case it doesn’t work out. For instance, I would bet that the great majority of your professors did not begin their working lives with the goal of being a college professor. This was likely either a back-up plan or just where the long and winding road took them.

    One needs to balance chasing your dreams with life’s realities. That’s all.

  • Concerned on 11.08.2011 at 10:56 am

    This is very cynical and off-the-wall, but I believe there’s a segment of our “ruling class” that wants to see fewer people attending college. This is a way to further separate the classes and disintegrate the formerly middle class majority which became too comfortable and stopped being easy to control. Keeping college prices higher will ensure that the upper class will be able to regain more control of the corporate world, also known as the government.

  • Nathan on 11.08.2011 at 12:03 pm

    To the ORIGINAL topic – How concerned are you about student loan debt? – the answer was a resounding “Very concerned.” Economically that is the right answer. Students SHOULD be very concerned about debt at a young age because it interferes with savings at a young age which is what it takes for most people to have an economically healthy retirement and life on the way to retirement.

    Given the current economic arrangement of the USA, concern about student debt is good.

    The conversation AFTER the video has all been about the choice of going to school at BU given the economic realities of the USA. That is a much more complex and politically charged question. Let’s give the students on video credit and assume they would have answered that question differently than the one they were asked.

    - -

    For a national perspective, providing an education to students who will only use it to flip hamburgers or obtain an Mrs. degree is stupid. Those students should pay all the cost of their education. From the same national perspective, providing an education to students who will apply their education in research, innovation, and jobs that pay taxes would be smart. Those students should be guaranteed a good education by the nation because they will use it to benefit the nation. Many people in this country would argue that educating in the ‘softer’ skills of Music, Art, Acting, Sports and History provides a non-economic benefit to the nation (and some economic benefit.)

    Whatever you think the solution should be, most of us agree that the free market approach to education – where individuals make educational choices at their own risk, that may or may not provide the expected rewards – is a pretty stupid system for a nation to grow and leverage the ‘human capital’ of our student population. From the perspective of the student, you may be making a good gamble – or at least the best gamble you can make. But hey, you live in a capitalist system and are rolling the capitalist dice.

    Your parents had it easier. They lived in a nation where the rewards of a decent life were more available and the risks of crushing debt were lower. I wish you well playing education roulette. Let’s hope we all find a way to establish a better system for the next batch of students to graduate High School.

  • Mike on 11.09.2011 at 1:57 pm

    On debt forgiveness.
    The big problem here is that student debt, unlike nearly any other form of debt you will acquire (credit card, mortgage, auto loan etc) is not dischargable in bankruptcy. Think about it. The lenders have zero incentive to check to see if you can pay back that loan.

    So they throw money at kids with no strings attached.

    Here’s a comparison, I just got my first mortgage for the purchase of an investment property. Despite having a 2 year signed lease by the future tenant in hand, I still barely qualified for the loan, a whopping 80k for a new property in a rural area. But qualifying for student debt? Lender: I see you’re going to college. Do you have a pulse? Here’s your money.

    Didn’t even ask me which major.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

  • Anthony Soprano on 12.04.2011 at 9:17 pm

    Bravo BU students! You understand the essence of what’s going on a lot better than the older authorities. Never apologize to bullies who want to steal your joy and curiousity. Protect your intelligence and vitality.

    There are clearly people on this thread working for banks and collection agencies. Some of them are just rightist trolls. They’ll tell you that you’re irresponsible and your dreams are impossible. Simply ignore them. Their days are numbered.

    You should not have to pay for schooling at any level. It should be free and it is completely affordable if the government made education a priority. Read the work of Jeffrey Sachs, The Price of Civilization.

    The rich need to be taxed more. They have appropriated the money that your parents made through hard work and loaned it back to you! Conversely, your lower class and middle class parents need a tax cut. Real wages have been decreasing for decades only to be replaced by loans. Any wage gain that you might make as you graduate into this depressed world economy is expected to pay on debts to banks. Your majors do not matter when even “safe” majors are jobless. The adults with power have completely screwed up our world.

    Your education is a right. It is a public good that makes the entire society richer. It is a form of public investment and infrastructure. It is not a commodity or personal investment alone. It is for this reason that literacy, firefighters, and clean water became required: it made the entire society better and richer.

    Remain awake! The entire structure of education financing is changing as the economy heads into the mess again. Do not allow irresponsible and selfish adults to cause you suffering! Keep arguing, criticising, and fighting back !

    Here are some links to inform yourself about the changing sentiments:

    http://freeeducationforfreepeople.blogspot.com/2011/11/republican-appointee-on-sallie-mae.html

    http://ninjageneration.com/2011/02/student-loan-scam-flowchart/

    http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2011/dec/01/ows-and-student-loans/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpQnZyx3vD4&feature=player_embedded

    • Carlitos Corazon on 12.12.2011 at 2:33 pm

      So Anthony… your’re saying that more French Literature majors should be required to make “the entire society better and richer”? Couldn’t the French check that block? And you believe that the “government” should pay for everyone to go to college as a “public investment”? And when everyone has a college degree, what will a college degree be worth?

      Please make your education your priority… but not mine. If you – or your parents – failed to anticipate the expense of a college education, that does not suddenly make it a taxpayer obligation. The cost of a college education in the United States has ALWAYS been borne by the student’s family. In fact, until the mid-1800s, so was the cost of a all education – from elementary through high school. Consider yourself lucky that I helped pay for you to get through high school. I’ve done enough.

      • Nicole on 06.13.2012 at 11:37 am

        Carlitos– You are so disillusioned if you think that something like a major decides your career with great certainty. MOST people have jobs that don’t relate to their college majors AT ALL, educate yourself by looking up the statistics.

        College teaches you to think critically, to convey ideas efficiently, to innovate- REGARDLESS OF MAJOR. Your narrow view of life and society is so absurd its almost comical.

  • Dont speak unless you know on 06.06.2012 at 5:26 pm

    I’m not sure what Carlitos is talking about. College education is already substantially subsidized by taxpayers. Unfortunately for taxpayers, tuition costs at private universities have risen by nearly a factor of 4 (368%) since 1980 after adjusting for inflation. Other costs of attendence have risen even more. Now that student debt is securitized and traded as SLABS (Student Loan Asset Backed Securities) they pose a similar contingent risk to the economy as mortgage backed securities did in 2007 and still do. This means that the ultimate cost to taxpayers, if student loan debts begin to default en masse like mortgages, may end up being drastically higher.

    Most people do go to cheaper schools, as close to 50% of students attend public or state universities where tuition averages 21,000 instead of 42,000, a price that has risen by nearly a factor of 3 since 1980 (281%) after being adjusted for inflation. Over 80% of first year students attend in-state universities to keep tuition costs down. This doesn’t change anything. These students still graduate with an average student loan debt of over 20,000. The tragedy is how this debt is managed by creditors. Interest accrued during attendence is “capitalized” or attached to the principle, and so is the origination fee (which should be made illegal in my opinion) and then the total debt grows by 6% to 12% a year.

    Tuition cost inflation has outpaced all other inflation by a factor of ten. A college education doesn’t cost this much to provide, so somewhere along the line these universities are making a handsome profit. Costs rise because students still have access to credit and students still have access to credit because loan originators are able to make money by simple pocketing the capitalized interest and the origination fee and then selling the loan to a counterparty via securitization. In other words, they don’t bear any risk of default so they continue to lend, allowing the university to raise tuition costs without limit.

    In-state or “cheap” universities are still overpriced. California just raised in-state tuition by 21% last year. You don’t have a choice of what state you were born or raised in. The main point of all of this, is that congress hasn’t stepped up to the student loan originators and properly capped interest rates, outlawed origination fees, outlawed capitalization and onerous fees, prevented usury, and properly regulated the creation of SLABS. Once you put the bankers in line tuition costs will fall (look at the endowments these universities already have!) My undergraduate university asks me for more money every three months! As if I haven’t already paid more for my degree than it was worth.

    As Carlitos suggested, I attended community college for two years and then went to an in-state university. I didn’t, however, join the military as I am not stupid enough to sacrifice basic moral principles for a sign-on bonus and a free college education. Most jobs I will do for money, but murder is not one of them. I graduated with a degree in economics, which some people feel is more useful than a degree in french literature but who’s to say, really. The main point is that by working full-time throughout (I had 0 assistance from parents) I was able to graduate with a manageable debt load of 6,000 well below the average debt load.

    Now, it turns out that a bachelors degree just isn’t good enough. So, I applied for graduate school. When I graduate from BU next year, I will have about $86,000 dollars in debt. Should I have gone to a cheaper school? Which one? Columbia University would have cost $110,000. There were no quality programs in my home state (Oregon) and I applied to six universities in Canada where my total debt would have been 32,000 instead of $86,000. Should I have worked while getting a masters degree? I did, I’ve worked 36 hours a week and taken 16 credits a term throughout.

    Do I feel entitled. Not in the least. Anyone can borrow that amount of money if its for school in this country. I would feel entitled if I lived in any other industrialized country in the world, where education is free or nearly free.

    And yes, education is a right. What other reason do humans exist for, but to fulfill the potential they have been given.

    trends.collegeboard.com will take you to all the facts and figures.

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