Friday, April 27, 2012

Student loans

Comment to online T&G, 4/27/12. Millions of students are borrowing ever more to stay in school, and millions of unemployed workers are borrowing money to go back to school for retraining. But in this job market, many will not find the job they trained for when they finish. They're told they are investing in themselves, in their future career. But when you invest in a business, if in the end it fails you can declare bankruptcy and get a fresh start, try something else. hat's what bankruptcy laws are for. With student loans there's no way out. Congress in its wisdom made them the one kind of loan that can never be erased. dworcester1, Kat23, gk and others are right: it's a racket, and the colleges and professional schools, guidance counsellors and bankers are all in on it. The message everywhere is education is the path and loans are the way. Some are saying students should work their way through school. That was a better way, but at today's tuitions, rents and wages it doesn't work. Sometimes students make bad choices, but often enough it is because they believed what the "experts" were saying. And then, the careers they shoot for are moving targets. Industry may be crying for skilled trained widgetogists, so you borrow $20k, go back to school for a certificate or BA or MS in widgetology, and by the time you get there the market is glutted and the jobs all require a year's experience. So you borrow some more and take a year's unpaid internship, but often the job's still not there. More than half never finish college or their program or degree. Often students lack the skill in math, reading, research to actually do the work, and can't get the help they need to get past that. But their student debt's still there, unerasable! Lower interest rates will help, but this is a much bigger problem. Student debt is driving a whole generation into debt bondage and choking our economy. It is one of the many paths converging on national bankruptcy. Time to break out of our mental box.
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