The Student Debt Crisis


This week’s email brings a reminder from Maggie Thompson at the organization Higher Ed Not Debt about an issue that remains under the radar for much of the population:

“This week we hit a milestone—but it’s not a good one. It’s been two years since the amount of student debt held in this country hit $1 trillion dollars. Americans hold more student debt than credit card debt and auto loans combined.”  — Maggie Thompson

Everyone knows about credit card debt and mortgage issues, but the significance of student debt is still emerging. Higher education student debt should be at the top of the list of issues addressed by Democratic candidates in this year’s elections. Recent graduates (and also students who studied for several years but didn’t graduate) are well aware of the problem, and they could use some help.

The burden of student debt might not be so bad, if more and better jobs were available for young adults. But the fact is, graduates face a stagnant job market and declining wages. How do you pay off student debt and start a family on Walmart wages?

Higher Ed Not Debt is organizing events across the country to put the spotlight on student debt. For more information see the Higher Ed Not Debt website.

— John Hayden


4 thoughts on “The Student Debt Crisis

  1. I don’t know the answer, but I joined the military to avoid student loan debt. I don’t think these debts should be forgiven, in theory they’re college grads, high paying jobs. Give the poor working guy a break, not those prepared to get rich. The welfare people and rich people get all the breaks in the USA never the disappearing middle class.


  2. I don’t know the answer either. Unfortunately, the vast majority of recent college grads are not prepared to get rich. If they were, their debt wouldn’t be a problem. I think most of the college grads with debt are from middle class families. They thought a college degree would ensure that they remained middle class. But the economy has changed, and now many of them are downwardly mobile.


  3. Exactly, John. A college degree used to open doors; now it’s treated as necessary but insufficient in itself. So people go into a shitload of debt to get a diploma and end up competing for dull, low-paid jobs that just depress their future employability. If they do get a job that’s consonant with the diploma they earned, the debt can still linger for fifteen and twenty years, dragging down their ability to own property, get credit, buy a decent car. Seen it go on before my eyes. And I was thoroughly disgusted to learn that when someone files for bankruptcy, student debt is the ONLY debt that is exempted. It will still follow them. These ARE middle class people, working their tits off — not “welfare people,” whoever they are, and not rich people, who don’t pay for school with loans.

    It would be easier to blame the debtors if a decent education were less expensive. I have no idea why the cost has ballooned so far out of control, but I sense that, as with health care, predatory mentalities have identified something that people are afraid to do without and manipulated it to be as profitable as possible. The money certainly isn’t going to professors’ salaries; I know too many. Coaches?

    Just a thought.

    In most cases, because the debt creeps on for so many years, the lending institutions recover usurious amounts of cash — after a couple of decades, debt forgiveness wouldn’t cost them.


    • If I were a young adult just graduating from college, I would feel that I’d been victimized by a con artist. I’m also concerned that young people are deciding that a BS is not worth the debt. It might be true, but taking a pass on college could also be the mistake of a lifetime.


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