Mounting student loans a 'debt bomb' waiting to explode

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In Debt in Chicago, Illinois

29 months ago

A recent report by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys found that both students and parents are borrowing at record rates.

Student loans owe an average of $25,250. Parents had an average of $34,000 in student loans for their children.

These are enormous numbers, this will result in people being economically non-functional for the rest of their life.

Growing numbers of people are being crushed by this debt. Unlike other unsecured debt, there is no statute of limitations on student loans. Lenders can pursue borrowers to the grave.

Is this really worth it for the low wages jobs of today? Think about it students can cause their parents to lose their homes if they sign the loan. If you cannot get a scholarship for college will you still go?

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my advice in Aurora, Illinois

29 months ago

i turned down an offer to attend a prestigious university to go to a community college. i then transferred to a public university and graduated with no debt. i am glad i did not financial drain my parents, nor am in debt to my eyeballs for the next 20+ years. obtaining a college degree these days is a gamble: will you get a high-paying job and pay off your debt within 2 years, or will you be one of the unlucky to end up with a sh***y customer service job paying off your debt until your late 40s? the job market sucks enough with low-paying wages and high unemployment, let alone being buried alive in college loan debt and bad credit up the a**.

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nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

29 months ago

I went to a state school for my BFA, and signed up for an assistant-ship that paid my way for a MA, also at a state school.

So I know that even though I'm not making much money these days, I'm miles ahead of people who are staring tens of thousands of dollars in debt in the face with no way to pay it off.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

Back in 1985, I went to a now-defunct business school right here in Upper Darby. I received a $2500 loan and a grant for the remainder. Twenty-five years later, I am still paying back this loan.

At first, my loan payments were $50 a month, but I couldn't afford it. Luckily, I was able to get unemployment deferments and forebearances. This is because I've been out of work so much that it's not even funny. A few years ago, I refinanced this and my payments are now half of what I paid before. Still, I've had to get forebearances because of me not working.

You think $2500 is too much. That's nothing compared to being a hundred grand in debt. I have heard a lot people who went to ITT Tech are $80000 in debt, they can't jobs in the fields that they trained in, and the instruction there was terrible.

You're right about one thing InDebt: there are no statutes of limitations on student loans. You can't even declare them when you file bankruptcy. You will go to your grave paying these loans off.

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Bluetea in Texas

29 months ago

Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania said: Back in 1985, I went to a now-defunct business school right here in Upper Darby. I received a $2500 loan and a grant for the remainder. Twenty-five years later, I am still paying back this loan.

At first, my loan payments were $50 a month, but I couldn't afford it. Luckily, I was able to get unemployment deferments and forebearances. This is because I've been out of work so much that it's not even funny. A few years ago, I refinanced this and my payments are now half of what I paid before. Still, I've had to get forebearances because of me not working.

You think $2500 is too much. That's nothing compared to being a hundred grand in debt. I have heard a lot people who went to ITT Tech are $80000 in debt, they can't jobs in the fields that they trained in, and the instruction there was terrible.

You're right about one thing InDebt: there are no statutes of limitations on student loans. You can't even declare them when you file bankruptcy. You will go to your grave paying these loans off.

My sister is 53 and she is still paying on her student loans.

We both talked her daughter out of college. Instead my niece went to beauty school and became a hairstylist at an upscale salon. Today, she works 4 days a week, has never been downsized and has never had a student loan. She also makes pretty good money.

My sister told her, "Look, I am 50 and I am still paying on these damn things. I don't want that for you". That convinced her.

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Average in Everett, Massachusetts

29 months ago

It's not even about loans or choosing "the wrong field" or a liberal arts degree anymore. Two men at an auto retail store, who trained as mechanics, couldn't find work as ASE certified job candidates. These people are now doing managerial and customer service work. You know, low value added work. Now, I don't know what KIND of school they went to, whether it was a traditional vocational school or one of those "Not your Daddy's", new, For-Profit , rip-off schools but I do know it was over five years ago that one of them graduated and that they have certifications.

They've gotten rejections for the reasons very familiar to those coming out of a mid-tier college, "not enough experience" . They also received something I found unusual, "not enough life experience".

"not enough life experience"
Not making that up.

That exchange confirms two things 1. That it's more about who you know than what you know, like an old schoolmate told me. and that 2. There are NOT enough jobs, apprenticeships, and internships for everyone who's somewhat qualified 3. Many (For Profit) "trade schools" behave like mid-tier and low -tier colleges,releasing poorly prepared students with high debt.

I want everyone here to realize all the big developing countries that "take science and mathematics seriously" produce more college graduates than they can employ. The difference is that these big developing countries decided not burden their students with debt, and in my opinion, the elite have decided not to use education to exploit its population.
The majority of people benefiting from all the debt and huge government subsidies in most developed countries seems to be those nearing retirement age, who intend living as comfortably as possible at the expense of everyone else who isn't lucky enough to have a cushy job or a direct stake in student lending (stocks,employment)

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Average in Everett, Massachusetts

29 months ago

"That exchange confirms two things" should be "That exchange confirms three things" in the second paragraph.

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Martha in Des Plaines, Illinois

29 months ago

In the future people will be going to Community Colleges or take online courses. If you become so deep in debt that you will not be able to afford a place to live, a car to get to work or a family that is just insane! Well I hope that when people start to find jobs the pay will increase and then employers will have less to pick from and will not REQUIRE a degree, if you have previous experience that will also have some weight, not just that degree.

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Bluetea in Texas

29 months ago

Martha in Des Plaines, Illinois said: In the future people will be going to Community Colleges or take online courses. If you become so deep in debt that you will not be able to afford a place to live, a car to get to work or a family that is just insane! Well I hope that when people start to find jobs the pay will increase and then employers will have less to pick from and will not REQUIRE a degree, if you have previous experience that will also have some weight, not just that degree.

You are assuming that it is education that gets you the job. There is another school of thought that says it is the connections that you make that do it.

You are more likely to make those connections at an Ivy League school then you are taking an online course.

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nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

29 months ago

"Once everyone is special, no one will be."

The deep things you learn from animated movies.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

Martha in Des Plaines, Illinois said: In the future people will be going to Community Colleges or take online courses. If you become so deep in debt that you will not be able to afford a place to live, a car to get to work or a family that is just insane! Well I hope that when people start to find jobs the pay will increase and then employers will have less to pick from and will not REQUIRE a degree, if you have previous experience that will also have some weight, not just that degree.

Most employers want a degree from a recognized school, college, or university. If they're going to work in the medical field, such as a medical or dental assistant, or even as a medical biller/coder, they need training in an industry-approved and recognized course.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

Continued

I have read about these people who went to these "for-profit trade schools" such Everest, ITT Tech, and Sanford Brown and a lot of them got ripped off. They complained that the training was outdated, the instructors were not all that great, and that nobody will hire because they don't have "one year of experience."

And it's not just ITT Tech, Sanford Brown, Everest, and all the other schools. Back in January of 2001, this Computer Learning Center, which had campuses here in the Philadelphia area, had suddenly shut after being in business for nearly 45 years. Some of the students showed up at the University City Philadelphia (University City is the section of Philadelphia were Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania are at)campus that Monday morning, out in the freezing cold and the snow, and the doors were suddenly shut. They weren't given any notice. There was a note on the door telling them to call the Department of Education. Many of them paid at least $10,000 for these courses, and then all of a sudden, they were left out in the cold. (The school had financial problems; especially with the student loans.)

Now here in Philadelphia, CHI Institute and Thompson Institute changed their name to Kaplan Career Institute. Some of these other for-profit trade schools have since gone out of business. A few months ago, I was talking to this girl at the library up the street from me. She went to this PJA School right here in Upper Darby that taught paralegal and accounting courses. The school is now known as Prism Career Institute, and nobody will hire her. I told her to put PJA on her resume, and to indicate that it's now known as Prism Career Institute. I also told her to call there to see if they still have her records. She can just simply explain to a prospective employer that the school is now under a different name and who they can contact there to verify

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

Continued

that she actually went there. Otherwise, I can see why employers want to see a degree or a certificate from a recognized school. These trade schools keep changing their names and going out of business. A community college, as well as a four-year college or university, is way more established and stable.

Regardless of whether they go to one of these ripoff trade schools or an established college or university, they're still going to be several thousand dollars in student loan debt; no matter what.

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nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

28 months ago

Established colleges and schools should cancel all useless majors, admit that they should be ashamed of themselves for charging so much for said majors, can all faculty associated with said majors, and be lean, mean, professional-producing machines.

And if you're in the arts (music, art, film, etc), then here's the cold truth. You are talented, or you aren't. There is no one, at any school, who is going to give you talent if you don't have any. And there probably isn't anyone at most schools who can help you grow your talent, if you have some. Certainly not anyone worth $30,000++ a year to talk to. You will do better for yourself, with both time and money, to get into "the scene" on your own, with your own talent...and I can almost guarantee that you will meet people along the way who will improve and expand your talent more than any professor at any school.

IMHO, anyway.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

nick in Somerville, Massachusetts said: Established colleges and schools should cancel all useless majors, admit that they should be ashamed of themselves for charging so much for said majors, can all faculty associated with said majors, and be lean, mean, professional-producing machines.

And if you're in the arts (music, art, film, etc), then here's the cold truth. You are talented, or you aren't. There is no one, at any school, who is going to give you talent if you don't have any. And there probably isn't anyone at most schools who can help you grow your talent, if you have some. Certainly not anyone worth $30,000++ a year to talk to. You will do better for yourself, with both time and money, to get into "the scene" on your own, with your own talent...and I can almost guarantee that you will meet people along the way who will improve and expand your talent more than any professor at any school.

IMHO, anyway.

Nick: I have to agree with you on that. I can't understand why somebody would go to college to learn art, music, and film, when there's a one-in-a-million chance that they're going to make it. It's not worth it. It's very hard to break into show business. And besides, it's a dog-eat-dog business. You can be on top of the world one day, and then down at the bottom of the heap the next day. If your records don't sell and your TV series isn't a hit, they can drop you like a hot potato. And besides, how many entertainers, especially these former child stars, destroy their own lives by taking drugs and alcohol, got in trouble with the law, were ruined financially, committed suicide, typecast and rejected by Hollywood, or are just plain washed up? Even Jay North, who was Dennis the Menace on television, was cast aside and rejected by Hollywood by 1970. He told Katie Couric in a 1991 interview that the bright lights of Hollywood blind, and that parents should simply keep their kids out of show business because it simply destroys lives.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

Continued

Why spend thousands of dollars in college tuition on a career that's very hard to get into; especially one that has no stability, as well as a very small chance of even making it? After all, show business is more than just talent. It is also all about TV ratings, box office receipts, record sales, profits, and advertisers.

It's OK to do movies, film, television, and music on the side, but you still need a stable income; especially if you have thousands of dollars in student loan debt. If you go to college, make sure that you major in something that you're going to get a job in; and that's the bottom line.

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Kim in Chicago, Illinois

28 months ago

And look at all the actors that don't even finish school, making the big $. Take John Travolta, he didn't even finish high school and he is doing better than the others that he went to high school with. If you have the talant, then go for it, by going to college you are missing great opportunities, and actors and actresses start young!

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

You're right about that Kim. Vanna White, Diana Ross, and Steve Wilkos are all high school graduates. Steve Wilkos served in the Marines and was also a Chicago police officer before he got on the Jerry Springer show. Cher dropped out of high school. Her ex-husband Sonny Bono never went to college, but he was a delivery guy, a songwriter, a performer, a businessman, and of course, served in Congress.

But I didn't know that John Travolta never finished high school.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

Even my idols, the Gabor sisters, never went to college.

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Bluetea in Texas

28 months ago

Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania said: Even my idols, the Gabor sisters, never went to college.

In one of my statistics classes, we looked at that argument about "college grads make more money".

Do they really? Not if you add these people back in to the data sampling:
collegedropoutshalloffame.com/

The point of the exercise was that you can get any answer you want if you come up with the "right" input data. Business does this all the time.

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Bluetea in Texas

28 months ago

Kim in Chicago, Illinois said: And look at all the actors that don't even finish school, making the big $. Take John Travolta, he didn't even finish high school and he is doing better than the others that he went to high school with. If you have the talant, then go for it, by going to college you are missing great opportunities, and actors and actresses start young!

Heh! George Washington was a high school dropout.

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Average in Everett, Massachusetts

28 months ago

Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania said: Continued

Why spend thousands of dollars in college tuition on a career that's very hard to get into; especially one that has no stability, as well as a very small chance of even making it? \

Entertainers have been with us forever. I'm just not sure that they have always had to borrow a small fortune to learn their craft.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

Average in Everett, Massachusetts said: Entertainers have been with us forever. I'm just not sure that they have always had to borrow a small fortune to learn their craft.

I'm not sure either Average.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

Average in Everett, Massachusetts said: Entertainers have been with us forever. I'm just not sure that they have always had to borrow a small fortune to learn their craft.

I'm not sure either Average.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

Oops! Sorry about the double posting.

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Kim in Chicago, Illinois

28 months ago

Here is a very long list of people who are dropouts. Some are very rich. Just proves that your brains and ability makes you successful not just that degree!

www.angelfire.com/stars4/lists/dropouts.html

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nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

28 months ago

^ that being said, there are some professions where university is very necessary. Almost everything math or science related. Business, if it's a good school with connections. Criminal justice, teaching, etc.

It's just that there are *so many* other majors that are totally professionally useless. The student knows it. The school knows it. But hey, as long as the money flows to pay for it, who cares, right?

Students need to start realizing that if "Ancient Greek studies" is really the only major they want to go to school for, then maybe they should consider not going to school at all. And IMHO, all film/tv/radio programs at university should be done away with, in favor of more robust internships at film/tv/radio houses. I learned more in one month as a P.A. for a small budget film in NYC (and made more potential connections) than I *ever* learned in any class. And the internship didn't cost and $38,000 a year. Looking at you, Columbia.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

Kim in Chicago, Illinois said: Here is a very long list of people who are dropouts. Some are very rich. Just proves that your brains and ability makes you successful not just that degree!

www.angelfire.com/stars4/lists/dropouts.html

Wow Kim! That's amazing. That goes to show you that you can be still be a success without college.

I never went to both high school and college. I went to public school up until fourth grade, which was back in the 60's of course. After fourth grade, I went on to special education school. I graduated from special ed back in '75. After I graduated, I went on to train as a food service worker.

It was in 1981 that I decided to change my career, go back to school, get my GED, and took some business courses. (I got my GED back in 1982.) And it was in 1994 that I decided to learn some computer skills.

Like I said earlier, the only student loan that I ever took was that $2500 loan from when I went to that business school. (It went out of business back in 1990.)

Just because I went to special education school doesn't mean that I'm stupid and retarded. I'm very bright and educated. It was my emotional problems that sent me to special ed. At least I've been able to work, travel, and handle my life the best way that I could.

You can say that I'm really a successful special ed graduate. I didn't need to go to college in order to be successful.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

Although I'm not a sports fan, Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone, and Kobe Bryant went straight from high into pros. They didn't go to college.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

nick in Somerville, Massachusetts said: ^ that being said, there are some professions where university is very necessary. Almost everything math or science related. Business, if it's a good school with connections. Criminal justice, teaching, etc.

It's just that there are *so many* other majors that are totally professionally useless. The student knows it. The school knows it. But hey, as long as the money flows to pay for it, who cares, right?

Students need to start realizing that if "Ancient Greek studies" is really the only major they want to go to school for, then maybe they should consider not going to school at all. And IMHO, all film/tv/radio programs at university should be done away with, in favor of more robust internships at film/tv/radio houses. I learned more in one month as a P.A. for a small budget film in NYC (and made more potential connections) than I *ever* learned in any class. And the internship didn't cost and $38,000 a year. Looking at you, Columbia.

I agree with you Nick. Why would somebody want to go to college to study art history, English Literature, philosophy, anthropology, and history (just to name a few) in the first place. Even foreign languages such as French or Spanish. Unless they're going to teach it, translate it, or even live overseas, it's not really worth the time and money.

I always tell young people that if they go to college, they better take up something that they know they'll get a job in.

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Sal in Salt Lake City, Utah

28 months ago

Employers are just trying to weed out applicants instead of looking for the best to hire. Why go through all that trouble when employees are so disposable today. They don't plan on keeping them, yet the list of requirements is way too long!

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Bluetea in Texas

28 months ago

Sal in Salt Lake City, Utah said: Employers are just trying to weed out applicants instead of looking for the best to hire. Why go through all that trouble when employees are so disposable today. They don't plan on keeping them, yet the list of requirements is way too long!

The same technology that allows you to find a purple pair of bowling shoes in a size 12 1/2 is the same technology that employers use to find just "the right candidate".

My sister says that her company gets over 1,000 apps a week. Screening software takes care of 990 of them. Buh bye.

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nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

28 months ago

^ and this is why I'm thankful for my $12/hr job. During my interviews, both people insisted that it's not a lot of money. Almost trying to dissuade me from pursuing it. How little they know, about how the job market is now. I know malls full of people who would kill for $12/hr.

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Sal in Salt Lake City, Utah

28 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: The same technology that allows you to find a purple pair of bowling shoes in a size 12 1/2 is the same technology that employers use to find just "the right candidate".

My sister says that her company gets over 1,000 apps a week. Screening software takes care of 990 of them. Buh bye.

Then they find something wrong with the other 10 left, and tell all of them that they will be interviewing more candidates for the next several weeks, and repost the ad a few more times.

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Bluetea in Texas

28 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: The student loan bubble is going to burst as not only have college costs have increased faster than the rate of inflation but the large number of college graduates that can NOT find ANY employment let alone decent paying jobs in their field of study.

It will burst because in the end, more education is not the solution for fewer jobs. The real winners "in this economy" are the colleges themselves. Unemployment has always been a cash cow for them but this is unprecedented.

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nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

28 months ago

I wonder what will happen? Will the creditors be forced to forgive billions in debt? What can they do to you if you can't pay, other than ruin your credit rating? If you have nothing to repossess and don't make enough for them to garnish wages, what can they really do to you?

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Sal in Salt Lake City, Utah

28 months ago

The cost of education and health care are getting out of reach. It will come down to doing without. Look there are over 45 million people without insurance because how can a person not working afford a family plan? The same will become of college. If they have some college or just taking a few non credit courses that will be usefull in the career path they are taking. Forcing people to take the required classes will mean that they cannot get a degree, just some college. The price of textbooks are another expense.

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nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

28 months ago

Heck I'm only making about 25K a year at my new job. I could never pay off student loans, so good thing I don't have any. I've already cut back my unavoidable bills to under $1000 a month (about $700 of which is rent, I'm factoring in food). I don't buy a darn thing that I don't need, which I'm sure is helping the economy recover quickly (it isn't).

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Bluetea in Texas

28 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: I suspect in the end the student loans will be forgiven. To some extent they already have with "income contingent" repayment plans such that "If you are not working then you are not paying" with monthly payments of ZERO allowing the loan to be considered current. A more long range problem is that the new graduates will NOT be consumers making purchases to get the economy moving.

Some of the loans are ludricous. An ITT Tech grad with a $100K loan trying to find an IT job when a UC Berkeley grad can't find one.

Forgiven? Good Luck trying to get elected with that as a campaign button.
Nobody is just going to walk from that kind of money.

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Bluetea in Texas

28 months ago

nick in Somerville, Massachusetts said: Heck I'm only making about 25K a year at my new job. I could never pay off student loans, so good thing I don't have any. I've already cut back my unavoidable bills to under $1000 a month (about $700 of which is rent, I'm factoring in food). I don't buy a darn thing that I don't need, which I'm sure is helping the economy recover quickly (it isn't).

My sister who has a Master's degree in Education, talked her daughter out of college because of the student loans. At 50 she is still paying on them.

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Bluetea in Texas

28 months ago

hoapres in San Mateo, California said: It is starting to happen. People are walking away from student loan debt because they are not working. One can enter into an income contingent repayment plan or simply stop paying. Simply stop paying won't solve your student loan problem over the long run but no one wants to accept that going to college is NOT a guarantee of employment.

You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip nor out of a 40 year old, unemployed guy living in his parent's basement. I get that.

I just don't think that colleges themselves will be pushed around by elected officials with yet another "plan". Not without some kind of financial counterstrikes.

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nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

28 months ago

they shouldn't have been getting that kind of money to begin with. it's ridiculous. even customer service I's at most universities make $40,000/yr, and MIT could train a chimp to do their job. Answer the phone, greet visitors, and send emails. Make the buttons big enough and with pictures, and voila.

Higher education is due for a come to jesus moment, where they realize that if they can't guarantee even a mediocre job to their graduates, then they shouldn't be getting paid huge sums of money. This is the only instance I can think of, where I can pay exorbitant amounts of money for a service and potentially get a zero return on my investment. It's like going to the store and just giving them money, and leaving with nothing.

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