Any discussion about student loans gets me very fired up, mainly because the concept is so broadly misunderstood. I’m often offended by the desire of others to ‘write off’ or default on their student loans….because I have them!
Student loans are an investment in your future. And just like a home loan or a credit card, you are borrowing on the condition that you will pay it back. I don’t know of any circumstances where you pay your mortgage every month for 18 years and one day your lender calls and says, “You don’t have to pay any more! The house is yours!” It just doesn’t happen. Obama’s recent “Student Loan Overhaul” is a real slap in the face to faithful borrowers. Of course, if you work for the government for 10 years, your debt will be relieved. But now, after 20 years of faithful repayments while working in any sector, the government will excuse your loans. How does this make sense? And how is it fair? It increases the costs of future loan holders who will essentially be repaying the debt of those who were pardoned from paying.
Sure, it all goes back to the morals and current direction of our country. What are we teaching youth? It’s okay to default. You don’t have to fulfill contractual agreements to repay funds. The government will bail you out and pay it for you.
Just this morning I read a Huffington Post article detailing the new movement to ‘Occupy Student Debt”. The movement is asking that borrowers default on their student loan payments after one million individuals have similarly signed the debtors’ pledge. Are you kidding me? I understand that there is high unemployment, and yes, things are a little cut throat out there. But you can’t just throw your hands up and say “We quit!”. Why don’t you use the ambition you had in attaining all that post-secondary education and use it to find a job. Our economy is struggling and you have $500+/month student loan payments and you think you are above working at Chick-fil-a or driving a delivery truck?
This Occupy Student Debt movement also wants to draw attention to the increased cost of tuition. The movement seeks interest-free loans from now on and relief of all current debt. This movement is a true disgrace to those who took out student loans and make a legitimate effort to pay them back every month-until they are COMPLETELY repaid. There is no accountability. If $200,000 in student loan debt sounded unreasonable, maybe another, less-expensive school choice was in order. Or maybe work a little and save money, THEN go back to school. Or maybe maintain a job while in school and pay your own expenses instead of taking out loans to cover tuition, housing, AND entertainment. Don’t tell me it can’t be done.
Bottom line: It’s obnoxious for students or recent graduates to go around complaining about student loan debt. It was a choice. Undergraduate, Graduate and Doctorate level educations are not a right, they are a privilege. And they’re not for everyone. The -high- cost of education is a barrier to entry: not everyone needs a post-graduate degree and it allows for diversification in the work force. Don’t expect any of these “solutions” to rectify the “problem”. That is, if you define a ‘problem’ as fulfilling a contractual agreement.
I liked one of the comments on the article “If you throw away the loan, they should take back the degree”.