College…only for the “elite”?

by Apr 17, 2012

Is the American Dream of affordable education becoming out of reach for most families? Case in point:

Three years after Angie Rider earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at Michigan State University, she has a teaching job that she loves — but also a student loan debt of $100,000. Rider, 27, a fourth-grade Detroit Public Schools teacher, pays $1,000 a month on her debt, and sees no end in sight. That’s why she has delayed buying a home, getting married and starting a family.

“I did the math and it’s going to take (decades) to pay it off,” said Rider. “It’s just crazy. I just feel like it’s never going to go away. I get so hopeless.”

As spring commencement season begins later this month, more students are graduating with a debt load that’s doubled in comparison to a decade ago, as unemployment remains high. The growing student loan debt has led to concerns that it could harm the economy, especially since federally backed student loans can’t be discharged through bankruptcy. Recent reports show that student loans are on track this year to exceed $1 trillion — more than credit and auto loans. Meanwhile, default rates have climbed.

Student debt has (been) growing for some time,” said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access & Success, an Oakland, Calif., policy organization that runs the Project on Student Debt. “College costs have continued to outpace both family incomes and available grant aid so students and families are increasingly turning to loans to fill that gap.


I have a son who is a Junior in college and one who will start in a couple of years. We used to joke that we had them four years apart so we wouldn’t have two in college at the same time. Now it is no joke…just a painful reality. Funny how colleges can continue to raise tuition and costs 6-10% a year and say it’s a “good value”. There is nothing “good” about putting our young people in financial ruin before they even graduate and the “value” is subject to marketability. Yet we have all been drinking the Kool aid in the supposition that a kid can’t “make the BIG BUCKS” without a degree. Not to mention, manufacturing jobs or any job beyond minimum wage is not to be had anymore right out of High School. Careers with any hope of entry level and advancement require an advanced degree. SO, unless you have an industrious 18 year old who has a dream and plan that’s clearly defined and who is mature enough to work hard and face sacrifice and disappointment at that tender age with the distant hope of success years down the road, colleges have us all by the mortarboards, I guess.



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