Thursday, March 29, 2012

CHE: A Graduate Student With $88,000 in Student Loans Speaks Out About College Debt

The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights a growing problem in the United States: the burgeoning student loan debt ($1 trillion), which is now higher than credit-card and auto loan debt. I share this woman's pain as more young adults, the best years of our lives, rack up more than $50,000 in student loan debt. How does this generation plan for future children's educational attainment and retirements? Is America becoming a serfdom state where future generations have less financial autonomy and political power?
Across the East River, a 35-year-old Hunter College graduate student named Monica Johnson woke up with debt on her mind. She's always thinking about student debt: the $88,000 she racked up between college and graduate school, and the legions of Americans whose unpaid student loans now total close to $1-trillion, twice the amount owed five years ago, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Student-loan debt now exceeds credit-card debt in the United States, with full-time undergraduates borrowing an average of $4,963 in 2010, according to the College Board.

Most students do not pay the full cost of college, but more and more are taking out loans. And if borrowers face severe financial problems, their student loans cannot be forgiven in bankruptcy, unlike most other forms of debt, such as gambling debts, that can. Some observers predict that student debt will be the country's next big financial crisis.

Young people like Ms. Johnson, who are starting adult life deeper in debt than students a decade ago, see themselves as part of a new generation of serfdom. Even as their debt grows, she and others say that student activism around the issue is weaker in the United States than in other countries due to a psychology of shame and guilt.

1 comment:

PensiveFashionista said...

I would have no problems participating in protests IF I KNEW that I would not be arrested.
As a woman of color, the cards are already stacked against me when it comes to finding a job and an arrest record will not do me any favors.

I plan on going into a career field in which a criminal record will bar me from taking the licensure exam.

A lot of American students realize that the American congress has been bought and paid for. I do wish more young people would rally around a third party candidate. That would: 1) make Democrats more sensitive to our issues
2) really shake things up, which is necessary.

Just tonight I was contemplating taking out $50K in loans vs $80K in loans for graduate school. The more affordable school is located in a state with a not so great economy and the more expensive school seems to have more employment opportunities for post-graduate work. I just can't see myself carrying 80K in loans so I'm going to go for the more affordable school with hopes of moving to wherever the jobs are.