Showing posts with label Student Loan Debt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Student Loan Debt. Show all posts

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Friday, April 05, 2013

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Whither Student Loan Debt

The ever venerable and eternally handsome last in line emailed me this article recently regarding student loan debt.  The piece gets right to its point very quickly.

Ms. Romine's $900-a-month loan payments eat up 60% of the paycheck she earns as a bank teller in Beaufort, S.C., the best job she could get after graduating in 2008. Her fiancé Dean Hawkins, 31, spends 40% of his paycheck on student loans. They each work more than 60 hours a week. He teaches as well as coaches high-school baseball and football teams, studies in a full-time master's degree program, and moonlights weekends as a server at a restaurant. Ms. Romine, now 26, also works a second job, as a waitress. She is making all her loan payments on time. They can't buy a house, visit their families in Ohio as often as they would like or spend money on dates. Plans to marry or have children are on hold, says Ms. Romine. "I'm just looking for some way to manage my finances."

A stark outlook, indeed.

Most of you know that I respond well to personal stories like this. Ms. Romine is no doubt a primary source on this issue. But I think the point last was trying to make in sending me this (and he can certainly correct me in comments) is that young people should put off college until they have worked for a couple of years to earn money to pay for it rather than go into massive amounts of debt. I disagree and here's why.

Setting aside the concern that I have that taking a gap year might lead to dismissing a college education, time is very much of the essence here. We are in a very critical point as to how we fit as a country in the emerging and ever shifting global marketplace. You can damn well believe that BRICS aren't skimping on education for their young people. In fact, they are sending them all here so when they come back home, they are ready to improve their country's competitiveness in the world. This is why each one of those countries is likely to be quite powerful as we shift into a new, multipolar world.

Obviously, people entering college need to be smarter about the loans they take out. More importantly, schools need to charge less money. 1 trillion dollars in debt smells like one giant racket akin to most health care markets. Of course, this makes me wonder how the right would react if the federal government capped tuition on colleges. Would they blow a bowel and say that it distorts the market? Or would they cheer that the Commies who run the schools finally would be less powerful? Graduating seniors should also consider community colleges and technical schools as lower cost options to a preliminary education before moving on to get a bachelor's degree.

But not having a college degree or delaying the pursuit of one is not a fucking option. If you can't get on board with the United States needing to stay competitive with BRICS, then take a look at the unemployment numbers for non college graduates compared to an individual with a bachelor's degree.

7.9 percent compared to 4.0 percent. 

Essentially, if you have a bachelor's degree, you have just as much of a chance of getting a job as you would in a normal economic environment. Without one, it's going to be tougher.

So, I sympathize with Ms Romine but how much of her debt is her fault? After all, aren't people supposed to take responsibility for their choices?