Staggering Student Loan Facts

According to to this article on SmartMoney.com

  • Total student loans outstanding are expected to reach $840.5 billion by end of September (up 10%)
  • The 66% of the class of 2012 with student loans averaged $28,720 vs $9,320 in 1993 (according to FinAid.org)
  • The Treasury Dept reports docking Social Security payments of 115,000 retirees so far this year, vs 6 in 2000

That last one really floored me.

And I really feel for these 22 year olds graduating with $20,000 of debt- or much more in some cases- with a job market that makes it difficult to find full employment.

Clearly we have a problem.   Where does it end?  Over the years borrowing for college has become easier and more socially acceptable.  Borrowing limits have grown as well, all leading to the unintended consequence of raising tuition prices to astronomical levels.  After all, if we are willing to pay, who can blame universities for playing along?

At what point do we collectively say we’re just not going to pay that anymore?  Will the colleges adjust?

I don’t know.  Somewhere along the line though, schools have to start acting like we are the consumers and they are accountable to us as service providers, rather than the attitude that we are privileged to send our children there, at any cost no less- which is the attitude I’ve mostly observed in our experiences with colleges.  And we as their customers must be more price-aware, voting with our pocketbooks, and forcing schools to change by the laws of market forces and supply and demand.

What do you think?

photo by: 401(K) 2012

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