That Crushing Student Loan Debt


Author Bio.

Pop quiz! What do Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates have in common? Both are multi-billionaires. Both are Harvard drop-outs.

Why does this seem as shocking as it is true?

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There is a saying in the United States that “to get a good job, you need to get a good education.” This was the slogan of a pro-education campaign from years past.

On the surface, this truism makes good sense. There are statistics and reports from federal contractors like the Brookings Institute to back up the claim. They like to publish charts like this to “prove” their points, but notice that the title begins with the word “probability.” This word means likelihood – or the odds of something happening – not certainty.

A publication from Hearst Seattle Media targets high school students as future consumers of high-cost advanced education. They quote Department of Labor Statistics from five years ago, and paint a very rosy picture of every college graduate’s future – as a worker bee.

It is unquestionably true that certain, high-paying jobs – like medical doctor or lawyer – require a “good education” and plenty of it, at no small cost. But does the expense justify the potential future income?

“Each year, over 20,000 U.S. students begin medical school.  They routinely pay $50,000 or more per year for the privilege, and the average medical student graduates with a debt of over $170,000,” as reported on

The mere title of this Quartz article says it all, regarding the high cost of finishing medical school:

“I went $230,000 into debt to become a doctor in America.

Does the expense and resultant debt pay off?

Weatherby Healthcare indicates that, on average, physician incomes have risen steadily over the past seven years. From the lowest rung on the doctoring salary ladder, an Internist earns, on average, $225,000. On the top rung rank orthopedists who get paid more than double that amount, $489,000.

But there are also statistics that claim that buying – let’s use the correct verb, ok? – a diploma is no guarantee of landing a lucrative – again, let’s use the correct adjective – job. Tam Pham, writing for The Hustle, answers the question, “Is a College Degree Worth It in 2016?” and reaches a similar conclusion:

“The value of a college degree continues to be reexamined. Companies are putting more focus on hiring candidates with real-world experiences. More affordable alternatives to college are now available and the internet has allowed anyone to ‘get educated’ from the comfort of their own home.”

What is absolutely, stone cold certain is that today’s twenty-somethings are saddled with a debt load that will be the biggest in most of their lives, including, possibly, a home purchase.

Forbes just released this shocking fact: student loan debt last year cost American students a whopping $1.3 trillion!

“The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt.”

Student loan interest, in former years, has been scandalously high. To reign in this run-away industry, and to preserve at least some of our children’s retirement income, the fed now sets fixed-rate student loans for life.

But that wasn’t always the case, and there are countless horror stories from “student-debt slaves,” Eric Wetervelt’s term via National Public Radio. Want more? Check out this myDayton Daily News article to read first-hand accounts of post-graduate experiences in the real world of adult employment.

Perhaps it’s time to re-examine the underlying notion that “everyone” needs a college degree to “succeed” in life. Nothing could be further from the truth, as James Pethokoukis explores in his incisive article for AEIdeas, “Why getting a good education and a good job doesn’t necessarily mean going to a four-year college.”

A trade diploma costs a fraction of what a college degree does, and unemployment rates in these fields are low.

This City Journal article by Joel Kotkin titled, “Wanted: Blue-Collar Workers” cites a rise in American manufacturing and other industries, coupled with a shortage of skilled workers, as the reason factory and other employers are understaffed. The underlying problem, though, could be termed a “paradigm shift” in US employment:

“For decades, Americans have been told that the future lies in high-end services, such as law, and ‘creative’ professions, such as software-writing and systems design. That attitude is a relic of the post–World War II era, a time when a college education almost guaranteed you a good job. The oversupply of college-educated workers is especially striking when you contrast it with the growing shortage of skilled manufacturing workers.”

Our great nation has a dire need for skilled tradespeople: plumbers, electricians, welders, and other people who keep the physical infrastructure running, from the power lines outside to the kitchen faucet.

US News & World Report lists “25 Best Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree.” In the top three: web developer, diagnostic medical sonographer, and occupational therapy assistant.

Is the American epidemic of student impoverishment an accident – or an evil plot launched by the Illuminati (the international cabal of wealthiest elite who own us) to further enslave our society?

Fingers point to the latter:

“By one estimate, the federal student loan program could turn a profit of $1.6 billion in 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”

David Meyer really gets into the topic of the student loan conspiracy, but allows that “it isn’t a deliberate one.”

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Deliberate or not, if you know anyone “deliberating” about whether or not to go to college – and especially if that person is leaning toward a major in some “soft” subject with little practical employment value, without a PhD (e.g., Philosophy or History) – please spread the idea that learning a useful trade might just be the course of wisdom.

If that doesn’t work, share a few of these “Real Student Debt Stories” – but not before bedtime. These tales are the stuff nightmares are made of.

  1. Post Author

    The problem stems from calling education a privilege and not a right.

  2. Post Author

    All of the overcharging started with easy access to credit cards for teens still in high school who graduate with no understanding of personal finances. But it really starts at home with parents who never understood the costs of living.

  3. Post Author

    Wrong! The problem stems from professor’s gigantic salaries and liberal teachings on every subject. They will help ruin our countries future. Students pick your teachers well.

  4. Post Author

    A college degree doesn’t necessarily mean a good job. I’ve visited Rus-ia and met many translators who have degrees but are translating because there are no jobs. Lots of time to go to school, but no income comes of it.

  5. Post Author

    I refused to permit my daughter to borrow to go to college. She got her first degree with a Pell grant and got her university to hire her as a TA and PAY FOR her master’s degree – it also paid her money and medical benefits. To do it, she had to be a very good student and have other attributes – only TWO students in her field got that option. But I never regretted saying a loan is not worth the problem of paying it back when you are young and starting out. She was able to buy her first home 11 months after she graduated.

  6. Post Author

    My son never got a college degree. He had courses at the junior college level and worked part time. The part time job led to his becoming adept at robots and programming of machinery and he has become a sort of genius in his field and is quite successful. My daughter did not go to college. She knew not what she really wanted to do and now at 53 has completed a degree in an area she will be pashonet about.

  7. Post Author

    Part of the problem is the loans are used for everything not only school and books thus the HUGE loan amount. From cars, to food, to furniture, to new cell phones, to partying, to rent, and of course tuition/books. If the loans were paid directly to the school then the student (who does not fully understand what borrowing money truly means in most cases), would be substantially less. The parent, in many cases, have no clue their child even has a loan.

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