Student Loans Are for Suckers

The gist of this piece is that when one graduates from college, that person will be saddled with a huge debt. In fact this debt will be so large its bigger than the increase in money one gets from holding a degree in the first place!

I know that when I graduate, I'll be around $20,000 in debt. Assuming no interest to make the math easier, at $400/mo that's 50 months of payments! My computer science degree means that I'll make enough money that this won't be a horrendous financial burden, although it will be bad. God help you if you're a social sciences or art major.

Indeed, some people go to great lengths to deal with the debt their education creates. Allow me a true story about a friend of mine. He finished his schooling with a debt of around $60,000. I hope he enjoys that folklore degree! Since it would take him forever to pay off this debt, and you can't absolve your student loans by declaring bankruptcy, he put all of his debt on every credit card he could get his hands on. Then he declared bankruptcy. He figured it would take him longer to pay off the loans than it would be to suffer the negative effects of having bankruptcy on his credit report.

Another fact to consider is this: Students are leaving school with larger and larger loans to repay. Currently the average debt is about $17,000. What's shocking isn't the dollar amount, but that almost 40% of these students graduate with an unmanageable debt level. Furthermore, half of black students and almost 60% of Hispanic "students graduated with unmanageable debt burdens."

Returning to the Yahoo article, the most interesting sentence in it is this: "The United States' insistence that students assume huge debts to pay for their college education is unusual enough that the Chinese government included it in its 2001 report of American human rights violations." Now, China is no shining light when it comes to human rights but they do have an excellent point in this instance: America forces its young adults to go into obscene amounts of debt. Even third-world countries like Cuba and Iraq offer free education to their citizens.

So why does America charge so much for things offered free in other countries, and is there any realistic chance that this will ever change?