Observations on life

Education is critical, but debt is questionable 

Student debt now stands at $1.3 trillion. More than half of student borrowers are unable to repay their loans according to the original terms. In a well-intended but poorly executed effort to make college broadly accessible, the government has lent freely to students, with little attention to whether they can repay those loans. The result is millions of young people with debt they cannot afford. NYTs College President Op-ed 12-22-16

Well intended, poorly executed, yes indeed and isn’t that the hallmark of most liberal government actions? 

Solving problems is not as simple as throwing money at them or giving people “free” stuff, but we never seem to learn our lesson. Home ownership is another example of trying to make something easy and affordable when it isn’t. To some extent that’s true for health care and it’s certainly true for many anti-poverty programs. 

When you do more and more for some people, they conclude they have less and less responsibility for themselves and to the people who provide the assistance. 

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10 replies »

  1. RD, Lots going into higher education that really do not belong there. Plus, many at Cal-Berkeley, I note, seem to know it all, already. The curmudgeon Frank

    On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 12:25 AM, QUINNSCOMMENTARY the facts about lots of stuff important to you wrote:

    > rdquinn posted: “Student debt now stands at $1.3 trillion. More than half > of student borrowers are unable to repay their loans according to the > original terms. In a well-intended but poorly executed effort to make > college broadly accessible, the government has lent freely” >


  2. As someone who completed four degrees, full time school while working full time, over 11 years, then 30 years later, over two more years, I am not sure why taxpayers, most of whom never went to college, should pay higher taxes so as to forgive any student of debt they voluntarily signed up for. Even so, $300 a month is affordable for someone currently working full time at McDonald’s, or as my peer Ernie experienced, he worked at McDonalds in the 70’s during the day while he and I attended class at night.


  3. Dick,

    The fact is education always carried a relatively high cost. Even in my time it was not cheap and I was very happy to, like you, have my company pay for me in large measure to complete my degree at night. I believe the reality lies not with the programs offering student loan but rather with parents who want their offspring to attain a college degree when in fact that child should be offered an apprenticeship as a baker butcher plumber or electrician, etc. There is merit in having student loan plans as I want smart poor people to be able to move up the social ladder but someone with a low IQ for what I’ll term ‘book learning’ should not be lulled into some delusional world where he/she goes off to college only to attain a very mediocre degree which ultimately pays very little and now needs to pay a student loan they can not afford. Parents also need to be schooled to manage theirs, as well as their childs expectations. Since often the parent is the co-signor of the loan agreement they need to understand what the reality is of their childs not paying the loan. That might include notifying them that if the child is not employed then their (the parents) paycheck may be garnished. Perhaps then we will have college educated people who are actually educated, have less loans owing, and have better qualified tradespeople.


  4. It’s funny, an ad popped up on this site with this article for Georgetown University’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. Current cost estimates to go Georgetown University’s are about $65k a year so I am guessing that the two years it would take to get the masters is north of $125K above your BA.

    Except for the 5 people in the world who would need that degree for some think-tank job the cost would be insane for whatever wages you thought you would earn.

    As long as the government guarantees no questions ask student loans, colleges will continue building and raising tuition out pacing the return on the investment or wages the student could ever expect to earn. Colleges can charge whatever they want because people were sold a bill of goods that with an education you will earn more money. While true, the jobs are not paying enough to pay back these loans.


    • Interestimg you ID Georgetown. I have a memo from GeorgetownLaw provost that is exuberant because President Obama pushed through changes so that more federal student loan debt could be forgiven – borne by taxpayers (just as those Georgetown Law grads would be entering prime earning years).

      This is all about academia getting fat while doing less instruction – and I say that as a university instructor.


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