OT: Today is National Student Debt Day

Submitted by L'Carpetron Do… on January 28th, 2016 at 12:57 PM


Today is National Student Debt Day.  A group of student debt activists are convening in DC to bring attention to the student debt crisis that America is facing.  

Personally, I think this is really important and I believe student loans are a huge anchor weighing down the economy and I'm glad it's getting more attention.  I wanted to see what MgoBoard thought.  Discuss.




January 28th, 2016 at 1:55 PM ^

Student Debt will be the millennials' housing bubble. I already know of some people who ran off to Asia or Europe to escape the debt collectors in the US. Pretty extreme measures. 



(Shakes fist at stupid universities expanding their bureacracies thus only increasing tuition) 


January 28th, 2016 at 1:03 PM ^

I didn't drink through college and got an accounting degree. I am saddle with oodles of student debt. And to get a master's in a couple years I am going to have to take on even more. I don't see your point.


January 28th, 2016 at 3:31 PM ^

Serious question to you and anyone that ran up a large amount of student debt and can't find a decent job.  

At the time you decided on a major, did you do research that told you what the job market in your field was like and what the compensation levels are for people working in the field long term?

My thought is that before anyone receives a penny of student loan money, they should meet with a counsellor who reviews the information I ask in my question. 


January 28th, 2016 at 4:00 PM ^

Remember for a lot of people, they enter and graduate college 4-5 years apart.  When I went to UM in 1999, engineering jobs in the area were plentiful; when I graduated, they had dried up considerably.  Law school (which I also stupidly thought was a good idea) was going gangbusters and then the recession hit and lots of those jobs disappeared and are only sort of recovering.  People with more "general" degrees might have more flexibility, but the job market can turn on you sooner than you can pivot.


January 28th, 2016 at 4:49 PM ^

I appreciate that timing is not always going to be your friend.  I have been an IP lawyer for quite some time and we always were looking for people.....Until 2009 and then the equation changed.  At least as an engineer, with a background that requires solid math and analytic skills, you can still port your training to other areas perhaps better than many people who majored in areas with minimal employment absorption rates.

I get the problem of cost big time.  I had two kids, both OOS, go through Michigan engineering and then med school.  I know the debt load that you can amass and how it can hang over your head for decades.

My only point is at least, to the extent possible, give yourself a fighting chance.


January 28th, 2016 at 4:05 PM ^

I have a decent job. Prospects in the future are pretty good too. It's just that with business field jobs you can't do shit without getting three years experience first. I am in 1.5 years deep in my my first post college job. I want to go to grad school at the end of the third year, but I could look for a job with more money if I wanted. But I am playing the long game. The student debt is still a problem though.


January 28th, 2016 at 6:19 PM ^

The short answer is; not many do.

The medium answer is; Entry Level Position-Must have 1000 years experience, College degree required, must be able to flip a light switch on etc. which kind of negates the first argument.  

Unfortunately, the fact is unless you network and/or have a hook up your chances of finding a *decent* job straight out of college are slim to none.  Best to bite the bullet, take a *shit* position, try to move internally from there and/or use as springboard to land original position with desired company.      


January 28th, 2016 at 1:46 PM ^

But while you mentioned laws, there is a defacto law for most folks these days that a college degree must be accompanied by a massive debt load.

Fortunately, when I went to college, it cost in the single digit $1,000s per year, and the decision to attend college was a slam dunk for just about everyone up-and-down the tiers of universities.

But unfortunately, like cable, it's been difficult to unbundle stuff you wouldn't pay for if you had the choice.  In my day, we didn't have the Taj-Mahal facilities of today.  In my day, we didn't have an army of college administrators collecting information to ensure we made the correct decision with the present dozens of $1,000s in tuition per year.  Instead, we relied on word-of-mouth like "Duh, go to Michigan" or the school seemingly most suitable and paid our single digit $1,000s of tuition.

Maybe someday soon the cost explosion will come crashing down and academia will have to deal with the real issue, costs that have skyrocketed far, far beyond inflation.


Wolverine In Iowa 68

January 28th, 2016 at 1:46 PM ^

but I also worked.  I carried a full load of classes and worked 32 hours per week.  I was lucky, I had a manager who worked with my school schedule to give me hours around it, so I was able to bust my ass all day, every day, and I graduated in 91 with less than $500 in debt.

I was tired, but I was also focused, and my degree means a LOT to me today, even so many years later because I earned it the "hard" way.


January 28th, 2016 at 2:22 PM ^

costs in 1991 are so long ago it's not relevant.

I graduated in 2003. 4 years of engineering. worked 30 hours a week in a good paying job while at school. had 3 summer internships that laid very well. I left with my degree and $30k in debt.

when I look at the financial numbers, tuition prices really skyrocketed in 2005 or so. I barely squeaked by financially, had I been a few years younger I would have a mountain of debt.


January 28th, 2016 at 5:13 PM ^

I guess you had it really hard, except that the <$5/hr you made with that job has increased at a rate a little lower than inflation, while tuition has increased at a rate many times that of inflation.

The numbers: from 1991 to today,

  • minimum wage has increased by 70%
  • cumulative inflation has increased 74%
  • college tuition & fees has increased 338% 

Nowadays you can work fulltime year round in a minimum wage job and earn just barely enough to cover instate UM tuition & fees. Forget living expenses. And that's 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, so it's not like going to school is going to work out in that extreme situation anyway.

I went to school in the late 90s. I had it far easier than students today, and like it or not, so did you.

El Fuego

January 28th, 2016 at 1:09 PM ^

With a degree in Aerospace engineering while being out of state. I was blindsided a month ago by being laid off due to downsizing efforts. While trying to find another job, I have strggled to get by the last few weeks because of my massive student loans (again, out of state). But by all means, please blame the few drinks I had after spending all nighters working on my degree, asshole...


January 28th, 2016 at 1:34 PM ^

I'd love to choke slam you as well. Thanks for pissing me off
so I hit a new PR for squats. How about we as a nation quit with the race to the bottom. The cheapest wins. The only thing that matters is the bottom line and people wonder why there is a massive pilot shortage coming.

Oh wait it's people like you with the mindset I got mine the hell with everyone else.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Benoit Balls

January 28th, 2016 at 1:50 PM ^

my first attempt at college, thats what I did, and I spent 10 years working real jobs to pay it all off and get myself back to zero. Then,during all that time working real jobs, I learned I HAD to go back to school, because there wasn't much opportunity for advancement without a degree. I was lucky enough to worki in operations for regional banks, so I was fortunate there (can always be worse), but after my 4th layoff in 6 years (all part of wide spread layoffs), I decided enough was enough.

I got back into school. My wife was working, but her Law School debt was enough to give Scrooge McDuck heartburn, so there wasn't much loose cash to pay for things upfront. The latest company I had landed with didnt offer tuition reimbursement. But, had to do it.

And now I'm buried...and my wife is buried. Maybe it would be different if you didnt need a freaking degree to get a job that makes 35k a year. Thats part of the problem. An employer shouldnt be allowed to require a degree for a job unless that job pays a commensurate amount of money. 



January 28th, 2016 at 2:00 PM ^

Maybe these students should have gone to college and got real degrees instead of putting themselves in debt for 4 years of beer drinking.

I sincerely hope Out Of Left Field is joking, because otherwise this is complete crap and arguably one of the most unthoughtful posts I've seen recently - I drank myself through two real undergraduate degrees and an MBA during my time at school and still somehow ended up graduating with honors both times. The key is balance, you see, not to mention unfettered access to Fleetwood and coffee. 

03 Blue 07

January 28th, 2016 at 3:44 PM ^

Question: Law school cost me about $250k in loans. Should I have gotten a "real degree" too? It only took me 3 years, not 4, so do I get some sort of credit in your world for not engaging in "four years of beer drinking" while earning that degree? What about the fact that over 50% of my debt burden comes from private loans (i.e., not federal loans, but federally backed) and in the case of one (cough, cough, Sallie Mae bar study loan) has an interest rate of 10%? Does this make me an asshole because I couldn't afford to go to any law school in the top-50 (went top-10) without taking out private loans?

Actually, now that I think about it,  no matter where I went, it was going to cost that much or damn close-- no one offered me a full ride anywhere or anything more than a $3,000 tuition credit, even to much, much lower-rated law schools. Am I an asshole because the cap on annual federal loans for law school/grad school was about 1/3 of my tuition alone? Should I just not have gone to law school (you can't work during your first year, by the way-- ABA rule)? Does this mean only rich people should aspire to higher education?

Now, I realize I'm in a better position than many, many others because my career choice means I won't starve. But...I'm just trying to figure out how your  logic would apply in my situation? 


January 28th, 2016 at 6:11 PM ^

Grad schools, and Law Schools in particular, are a rare breed.  I graduated from UM undergrad in 2001 with approximately 40k in debt.  Wealthy parents (killing financial aid), no support (do it yourself like I did), three jobs, yadda yadda yadda.  After school I was fortunate enough to land a job where I was able to, making around 40k a year at the time, make additional payments towards my loan balance, paying off my private loans completely.  My fed loans remained at around 25k when I decided to go law school in 2004.  That isn't possible now, and I realize that.  But I was lucky enough to be in a position that, after maybe 6 years or so out of undergrad, had I not gone on to law school, I could have wiped out my debt obligations.  That would have put me debt free sometime around age 28ish.  The obviousl problem everyone has is that delays spending, buying a house, etc, meaning generally that we're all just going to be poorer.  So, I did like everyone else and said, MORE education was the answer, and went to law school.

That was about the time that law schools started seeing the writing on the wall and thought to themselves.  Hmmm, how can I make a shit ton of money real quick?  Let me tell you, there is nothing more obscene than paying over $800 per credit hours for a 90 degree program that, yes it is 3 years, but could (and should) be completed in two.  So much fluff.  Those programs aren't based on actual costs, but the allure of the salaries of jobs that approximately 5-10% of each graduating class can get (at least at the school I went to, those jobs kicked my ass in undergrad).  After graduation and passing the bar, I chose to work in a public sector making less than I was as a paralegal in an in house environment - with a shit ton more debt. (six figures, like you).  (Sorry, no 80 hour weeks to ruin my life on top of being broke thank you very much).

All of this to say, grad programs, and law schools in particular, shouldn't be a part of the debate.  If you think undergrads are overpriced and bulky on administrative costs, understand that they are built to make money on volume.  The greater the admission numbers, the greater the tuition dollars.  In law schools attached to larger universities, they are generally seen as the pure-profit makers and administrations are very, very good at getting as much as they can for as little as they can provide. 

Does this make you an asshole for going to law school?  Nope.  You did what you had to find a way to make a living.  Cheers on that.  Does this mean that something needs to be done to limit University spending at the undergrad level - absolutely.  Does it mean law schools need to figure their shit out as well?  Oh hell yes.




January 28th, 2016 at 1:02 PM ^

I'll take a bet and say this thread doesn't end well. I would like to think that everyone is in the same page here, but I'm sure this will quickly devolve into a political debate. Thanks for sharing, though. I will definitely be supporting this today as best I can.