Do we always need to be a nation of debtors?

We are a nation of debtors and it is a real shame.  I saw an article recently that said the economy was getting better because there was more borrowing going on.  Does that not strike anyone else as a bad way to measure? Debt is what is getting people into trouble.

One of the biggest issues we face is student loan debt.  College has gotten so expensive that people are forced to either take out loans or not go.  I know that some will say that this is poor planning.  I would say that it could be that, but it also is just a struggle that many people are facing.  We can blame it on any number of things, but blaming doesn’t help anyone.

May 2012- My Masters Degree Graduation

May 2012- My Masters Degree Graduation

I know when I was in college I was not thinking too much about the amount of loan debt I would accumulate.  I should have paid more attention to it because it does affect my budget today.   Now when I talk with parents and high school seniors I warn them about student loan debt.  I tell them to take out as little as possible, begging them to sell things, or take on another job in order to pay more upfront for college education.  It will be hard now, but you won’t have a huge loan payment afterward.

I think theoretically this student loan idea was a decent plan.  If education is an investment that will pay you back, well then why not put money there?  The problem in recent years has been a diminished  job market.  This is leaving many college graduates without jobs when their student loan debt comes due.

In response to that, Spring Arbor University is now enrolling all of their incoming students in a loan repayment program. According to the article I read, the idea is to help students repay their loans. If you graduate and make less than 20,000 a year, your student loans are reimbursed entirely.  They then have some sort of scale up until $37,000 to assist you.  Students are required to work a full-time job in order to qualify.

fist_full_of_money_clip_art_22967I love this concept because it shows the value of education and the value of people.  Even with all the political rhetoric out there, I think we all understand that it does cost something to go to college.  I know that costs have gone up, but they are not likely that out of line to cover expenses.  People can disagree with me on that, but that is not the point I am making here.  The point is that this is an investment in people.  It shows the students that the college is with them now and after college.  They are showing that they value the relationship over just the program.   I know too often colleges can come across as just wanting to get more people at their school.  In this case, I think they are showing something unique and refreshing.

This is a model that more schools should consider.  It will provide incentive for students to attend school and for colleges to help students find decent paying jobs after they graduate.  I also think it would save taxpayers money since they would not need to be a part of some government intervention in school prices. It could even keep schools in check with their increases, since they are potentially on the hook for that.

What do you think?  Is this a trend worth starting?  Will it work or be too expensive?  Does it go far enough? 

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Story source – “Michigan University to help struggling graduates repay loans” (opens in new window)

 

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5 comments

  1. That idea is pretty amazing. I think a big problem is that a lot of people really shouldn’t be going to study the things that they are. We love science, and we encourage people to pursue it, but that doesn’t mean everyone is really a scientist. I can’t even count the number of people I graduated with that earned degrees in Biology that are ending up going back to a trade school. Whatever happens, college really needs to change.

    1. I agree. There are a lot of promises made about degrees and jobs when the correlation isn’t always there. I know a lot of people who have a degree in something and aren’t using it at all. Do we discourage people from pursuing those things or do we just make sure people know the reality of the field they choose? I don’t know the answer but something needs to change, you are right.

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