This is an important issue. Seeing as how I have a lot of knowledge on the subject, I feel as though I should share my take on it. I should mention that I didn't bother to read the entire article. Didn't need to. I just would like to make a list of typical republican/regressive anecdotal stubborn rhetoric that I hear from people when I make the argument, and then thwart each mythological paternal points (nonsense) with facts and evidence. It seems to win every argument I've had thus so far, so why not?
Myth: You don't have to take on a bunch of student loan debt in order to attend school.
Wrong. Since the removal of the direct loan program in the 2000's, as well as ammendments to the higher education act of 1965, the burden of the cost of attending college has been shifted from the Gov't in the forms of scholarships, grants subsidies and other aid onto the student. It is common sense that we all know that no two individuals share the same experience. Different people from different walks of life will be awarded (or not) different opportunities at different times differently. Many people simply do not have the option to work their way through school, for various reasons. The cost of tuition has increased faster than healthcare costs. Knowing these things, it can, and should be accepted that for many people the ONLY way to attend college is to take out loans. Period.
Myth: Students have no intention of paying their loans back. They are lazy and do not want to get a job to pay off their loans.
Nope. This one gets used a lot, notably to justify removing bankruptcy protections from student loan borrowers. They did so out of fear that students would rack up the debt, graduate (or drop out) and immediately declare bankruptcy without ever planning on paying a penny for their loans. This however, was done by less than 1% of people at the time, yet standard consumer protections remain absent for student loan borrowers. There are countless stories for students working their way through school, and afterwards, not being able to pay off their loans. This is not because they don't make payments, it is because the lenders have been given the ability to hike interest rates to insane levels, so high that students end up paying only the interest. Little to no oversight into the industry (strategically done by the way) allows for this draconian way of punishing students who wanted to better themselves by getting an education.
Myth: If you don't want to be in debt, you should not take out the loans.
While there is truth to this on the surface level, one should not have to dig too deep to discover the root causes of why students find themselves in so much debt. Parents, older siblings, teachers, coaches, high school guidance counselors and other individuals in kids lives have been known to repeatedly instill the ethic of hard work into their kids. This ethic almost always includes rhetoric in the form of encouarging students to get an education, no matter what the cost. The decision to attend college is often made several years before signing onto a loan. Students scramble to finish high school, spend extraordinary amounts of time applying to schools (this does not include time spent applying for scholarships and grants, time spent preparing for SAT and ACT tests, whose scores get directly sent to schools looking for student tuition dollars, and time spent visiting college campuses). Deadlines incentivize students to quickly make choices where they will attend school (or if). How they are paying for college, what lenders will be used, and how the payment process works rarely factors into the decision when it's crunch time. Typically, college fairs at high schools consist only of college recruiters who aggressively push promotional materials onto students and their parents, and military recruiters; they are likely completely absent of alternatives to college such as trade/vocational school, apprenticeship programs, and other cheaper alternatives to school. Students sign on quickly, out of fear that if they do not, they will likely end up working low paying jobs for the rest of their lives. Seeing as how colleges collect ACT scores, round up data about students, spend thousands on marketing and say ANYTHING to get students to attend, it should be noted that colleges know more about students than they do about the colleges. This is only part of it, however totally worth mentioning.
Myth: You can do anything you want in this country. (This is part of the previous myth, so consider a sub-category if you will.)Students should consider embracing entreprenuerships instead. 1. A lot of people require formal training and education in order to make this happen. 2. It is insanely, INSANELY difficult to secure a start up loan in order to make this happen. Since today's expectations are much higher and require a 4 year degree for one to even have a CHANCE at securing a job that would pay enough to allow students to qualify for a start up it makes NO sense to say this. While alternatives to higher education are out there, many young students are simply unaware of them until it is too late.
Student loans are destroying this nation. Just recently, student loan debt surpassed credit card debt. Currently, it is sitting at 1.3 trillion dollars. Loans are non-dischargable in bankruptcy, carry unreasonably high interest rates (some reach about 18%) for the borrowers despite the low interest rates the lenders must pay to aquire them, and are hurting the economy and people's lives. The government is making billions on students defaulting on the loans because it is set up in such a way that they make more on students defaulting than students paying in good sted. The colleges are paid bribes to advertise "Preferred Lenders" to students, thereby not allowing for them to find a better deal, thereby making for little to almost NO competition in the industry. This all needs to change. We need to restore bankruptcy protections to borrowers of student loans. The forefathers such as Thomas Jefferson stated that 1. No person should be barred from obtaining an education by money and 2. We need to make changes and adaptations to industries throughout time as it calls for it.
I welcome anyone and everyone to share their thoughts. While I am respectful of people and would like to act like a mature adult, I will debate ANYONE about this ANY TIME.