It has me thinking…

Today, on the way to work, I was listening to a report on my local public radio station and it caught my attention when I heard that,

“In the coming years, a lot of people will still be paying off their student loans when it’s time for their kids to go to college,” said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, who has compiled the estimates of student debt, including federal and private loans.

The article from the NYT/msnbc.com talks about how Student Loan Debt is now outpacing Credit Card Debt in the US economy. I can attest to this, as we currently have more SLD than we do consumer debt.

And after working for non-profits for the last 9 years, with no plans to move back into the private sector, I know that it will be a long road toward paying my loans off, even as I continue to take my classes in the evenings.

But I’m starting to think that we should be move vocal about disputing the idea that SLD is “good” debt…I think if we are honest, we can admit that it is a form of indentured servitude that keeps us striving for better paying jobs (let’s ignore the fact that adjusting for inflation there have been no increase of earnings for the lower 90% of US earners in the last 30 years) instead of working for organizations and companies that may contribute more to society and the development of culture. Sure, they say that degree earners make more money than those without, but they don’t say that they are happier and that doesn’t mean that every field that requires advanced degrees will pay more.

I’m sure there is MUCH more to say about this, but I’m still just mulling it over at the moment, so I’ll end it here…

But I’d love to hear what YOU think.

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5 thoughts on “It has me thinking…

  1. I have a nephew that is a really bright kid. He got into Duke and Davidson College and is debating between the two. I love him to death and am super proud of him, but Duke is 50 grand A YEAR. As smart as he is, I just don’t see how getting yourself into 200 THOUSAND DOLLARS worth of debt in 4 years is worth it. It’s just not. Even if he were to get a great job out of college (and I’m having trouble thinking what kind of GREAT job he could get with just a 4 year degree) he won’t make anywhere near the amount needed to pay that back. I mean 200K is a freaking house payment for 30 years. It seems like an awful lot to sign up for when you’re only 18. And chances are, as smart as he is, he’ll undoubtedly go on for some Masters/PhD/post graduate work. So that’s at least another 3 years of school to pay for. It just seems ridiculous. I want to warn him about it, but I don’t want to be a debbie downer either, ya know? I mean, a degree from Duke is awesome…but it’s not a gaurantee at anything.

  2. I agree with you. I also think that while everyone should have equal opportunity to a higher education, not everyone should take out loans to pay for it.
    Personally, I wish I went to a less expensive school. I don’t feel that the school my degree is from has any real bearing on how successful I am in my professional life.
    I wish I didn’t graduate with $20,000 in student loan debt. I wish I was forced to explore other (less expensive) options.
    I sort of feel like the more people pay for college, the higher the prices will go. I wish someone would be upfront about how in certain industries, the name of the college hardly matters.
    I also don’t understand how student loan debt is any different from consumer debt. You’re still using credit to fund something with the expectation that in time, you’ll have a certain amount of income (plus interest) to repay that debt. That concept doesn’t really sit well with me. :-\

  3. I think that in the past Student Loan Debt was seen as an investment (i.e. good debt) rather than a debt in itself. Certainly when I graduated in 1998 I had just a £5K student loan debt. However I feel desperately sad for many graduates now who are coming out with £30-40K worth of debt and I can ONLY see this as a bad thing because in my view no educational degree is worth that level of debt. There are now many good alternatives available such as apprenticeship schemes and on the job training schemes where employers will pay for a degree. I really hope you manage to get it all paid off, but I’m sorry to hear that it is a slow process. Really interesting post by the way….

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