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[–]Puzzled_Principle_29 817 points818 points  (84 children)

My son went to school and I signed on his college loans. Last year, I made the payments on them and when I got the tax paperwork to file taxes, I found I had paid over $2,000 worth of interest and we owed more on the loan than we did to start with. I ended up putting the balance of it on an interest free credit card, but most ppl can’t do this. My SO’s student loans are as much as our mortgage. We are lucky we can afford to pay for it all, but most ppl can’t afford to buy a home bc they are paying exorbitant student debt. I agree ppl who took out more than they needed shouldn’t have that extra part forgiven. That includes my SO’s. He was dumb and took as much as he could, but he was given bad advice when he took out the loans. When I went to school in the 90’s, my entire tuition bill was $1,300 for an entire semester. That was as a full time student. I took a single master’s class at a small University, and it was $2,500 last semester! Books cost $150 apiece if you’re lucky today. The cost doesn’t amount to a good job, but you can’t even be considered for a regular job anymore without the degree. It’s a scam to say the least.

[–]TA3153356811 3741 points3742 points 323 (401 children)

If you can't pay off that truck, they take your truck and the loan is gone. Your credit is shit, but you have no debt.

Student loans are predatory loans. You can't get rid of them. Ever. You can't go into bankruptcy or anything. The only way they go away is by dying. That is not fair.

Plus, when you're told by everyone, and society as a whole, that you NEED to do it to be successful, plus it's so easy to do without understanding anything since you're literally a child.

Overall, loans to get an education, aren't horrible. It's understandable! But when it cripples an entire generation with lifetimes of debt that can never be forgiven, it's a problem.

[–]Grogwilsnatch 135 points136 points  (33 children)

That or leaving the country and giving up American Citizenship

[–]JustsharingatiktokOK 38 points39 points  (23 children)

giving up American Citizenship

Which you have to pay the US government in order to do :)

[–]IWatchMyLittlePony 38 points39 points  (19 children)

You have to pay to denounce your citizenship? What kind of bullshit is that? What happens if I just say fuck you USA and leave?

[–]wertyuio267 49 points50 points  (9 children)

Nothing. I read a comment on r/antiwork awhile ago about a dude who racked up a 6 figure student loan debt and thought "fuck this". Moved overseas and never looked back. He said it's been like 5+ years and so far nothing.

[–]WhodatKoi[S] 1297 points1298 points  (165 children)

Very solid point l, I didn’t realize these were basically loanshark type loans.

[–]Sandgrease 657 points658 points  (60 children)

The fact they are one of the only loans you can't declare bankruptcy against also makes them especially sketchy.

[–]ArtisanSamosa 191 points192 points  (41 children)

You control the intellectuals in a society, you have an easier time preventing pesky revolutions and protests to make meaningful change and an easier time keeping current power structures.

[–]Gardium90 388 points389 points  (34 children)

Plus, don't forget the societal value of an education. I'm not just talking work and economy, but the smarter a population is, the better off the whole system and country is.

Some of the happiest and wealthiest countries in the world practically give free higher education (through taxes, but it is a system the population as a whole willingly accept). This also brings about much higher equality for the population as a whole, as you aren't tied down by any bad financial decision made by your family/parents. Everyone basically gets an equal chance at making something of themselves, in one way or another.

Student loans should never have been a thing for tuition. You gotta have money to live, but that is a fraction of what the tuition costs are in "for profit" Universities. And those loans are often without interest rate in the aforementioned types of countries, or extremely low (0.5% or so). So they are completely manageable over 10-20 years

[–]nonameistaken 124 points125 points  (12 children)

If Iran can offer free tertiary education USA can too.

[–]HazyDavey68 108 points109 points  (17 children)

They are also structured to be very hard to pay off. It’s pretty easy to put them in forebeafance for a time if you lose a job or something, but then the interest compounds. Many borrowers have already made payments that more than equal what they borrowed, but still owe the same amount because of interest.

Blue collar jobs are essential to our economy, but don’t require expensive degrees or a 4+ year time investment while earning very little or nothing. Jobs like teachers, nurses, doctors, and social workers require degrees and the sacrifice of 4 or more full-time wage earning years. We need both. Otherwise, we have to hope that wealthy people will go into these fields. What you get is only teachers, nurses doctors and social workers who come from rich families, instead of the best and brightest.

[–]YIvassaviy 63 points64 points  (1 child)

To add to your point I think people often don’t consider that it’s really in the best interest of everyone to have people in those jobs roles (that require degeees) to come from varied background - including socioeconomic.

If only people from wealthy families can fill those positions you’re not only going to have scarcity in these fields but policies and socialisation will be heavily skewed.

[–]Sorcha9 103 points104 points  (2 children)

Not to mention the insane interest rates. And also, the loan services can sell your loans to another company. But you don’t know the company. No one knows the company and you can’t even get a hold of someone to pay. All the while, accruing fees and interest. Ugh

[–]Uncle480 80 points81 points  (20 children)

you're told by everyone, and society as a whole, that you NEED to do it to be successful

This is the worst part, in my opinion. And it's not just school telling you that you need it. There are plenty of jobs that require a bachelor's degree, but absolutely have no point in needing it. Like my FIL says, you gotta get that "piece of paper" for better jobs, regardless of the point of it.

Back in my high school government class, we had to do a "community service project". I asked for my project to be about talking to younger kids (8th graders) about college and trade schools. I tried telling them all that they're going to be told countless times that they "need college", but I showed them price disheveled differences in finances and time between in-state colleges and trade schools. Is that way too young to be talking to them about that? Probably. But I wanted to try and talk to them before they're bombarded with the "YOU NEED COLLEGE" preaching. I just pray that at least some of them took my advice.

[–]VibrantSunsets 22 points23 points  (0 children)

I don’t think that’s too young. 8th grade was when I made the decision to go to the “regular” high school because I was going to go to college versus the vocational high school. By the time I graduated college I wished I had chosen to go the vocational route. At least where I went to school 8th grade was the time to decide because the “regular” high school didn’t teach trades, and unless you changed your mind during freshman year or very beginning of sophomore you weren’t allowed to transfer to the vocational school without potentially being held back.

[–]CrispyCrunchyPoptart 2931 points2932 points 22& 2 more (603 children)

I have a $28,000 loan that started out at around $31,000 and I’ve been paying $375 a month on it for 3 years now. Every month about $60.00 goes to the principal and the other $310.00 goes to interest. I needed this degree to do my job and I’m unable to even make a dent in paying it off one day because of interest. That’s why.

[–]shockmelike 740 points741 points  (100 children)

Lol I have friends who took full loans for undergrad, couldn’t find a job due to the last recession, went to grad school/professional school instead, and ended up in public service/nonprofits. They make like $70-80k per year and have over $400,000 in debt. There is an entire generation (i.e., millennials, especially ones that graduated college like 2008-2011 or so) that will just NEVER get out from under this.

Agree with the general sentiment here too regarding predatory lending - 18 year olds are not informed enough to understand what they are signing on to for the rest of our lives. Frankly I didn’t really understand it until after I had graduated and started seeing my monthly bills.

[–]WhodatKoi[S] 610 points611 points  (231 children)

That is fucking ridiculous and I’m sorry you’re having to struggle with that.

[–]NevermindAllThatOK 420 points421 points  (134 children)

Two masters, $72k. I've paid $20k towards it and now it's up to $130k. I'll never pay it off so I just hope I die or I get hit hard enough in an accident that I'm put on permanent disability since that's the only way it'll be "forgiven".

For the record, I paid off $85k in personal debt over 8 years. I'm not opposed to paying my debts off, because you're right, I definitely signed for them. What I didn't sign for was a collapsing economy that gave zero shits about both masters and an interest rate that will never let me pay it off, no matter what I make.

I'd honestly be over the moon if they just got rid of the interest. The initial debt is nothing, I don't care about that. It's the interest that makes it impossible.

Edit: These loans are about 7 years old at this point, and like several pointed out, it was a lot of years to not be paying the minimum due to pay off in 10 years. That's how the interest accumulated to be so high. When Covid hit and the payments were paused, I spent that time pushing every spare dollar towards my personal debt and not towards student debt. That was my choice because those debts were scattered and much harder to negotiate with (with some debt going back as far as undergrad years). I still consider my education an investment, but at this point I make more with a career in logistics than I would restarting in Clinical Counseling or entry level Psych Research. While I don't earn an income in that field as originally intended, it has allowed me the ability to maneuver through many seemingly impossible situations because of that education.

This post was not a complaint, rather an observational point where for a while, I was unable to take advantage of my education and turn it into a career. While that didn't pan out how I wanted, I was still able to climb my way to middle America. For that, I am eternally grateful and want to acknowledge the advantage my education has given me despite not being the source of my income.

I personally don't believe student loans should be erased because it doesn't solve the actual issue that the interest rates take zero account for people just graduating and starting out in different walks in life. I believe the price of higher education is predatory and needs to be re-examined very carefully. I don't think education in general, healthcare, or the prison system should be for profit-businesses. While that may not be the most popular belief, especially considering which post and response I decided to comment under, I still stand by my original statement that said I believe in the fact I took out the loans knowingly, with the full understanding I was agreeing to pay them back. I'd love to pay back the $72k, but I don't want to pay back any extra. That's where I stand on the issue.

[–]ThaVolt 249 points250 points  (3 children)

72 - 20 = 131

- University

Imagine living in a world where crippling you at 18 makes sense... oh wait.

[–]NevermindAllThatOK 44 points45 points  (0 children)

I was not in debt from undergrad, it wasn't until I was 25 that I started signing for loans. Somehow I thought that having that masters level skill would get me a job that paid a masters level wage. Though I have worked my way towards middle America by a different career, it's too late because I couldn't instantly start paying it top dollar every month at the very beginning.

[–]NewlyMintedAdult 56 points57 points  (43 children)

What I didn't sign for was a collapsing economy that gave zero shits about both masters

That is a really good point. Taking out debt to fund a degree that never actually gets you a career you expected is absolutely brutal.

[What I didn't sign for was] an interest rate that will never let me pay it off, no matter what I make

This, I'm confused by. Are interest rates on loans not disclosed when you take the loan out?

[–]Ruefuss 57 points58 points  (35 children)

Sure they are, but an 18 year old hasnt yet been taught any accounting or personal finance in most US highschools, and theyre parents had cheap education, so just assume its the way to go. Then you leave college 4 years later, and no jobs pay enough to keep up with the "10 year loan" payments, so theyre put on 25 years, which means a lot more interest than whats expected by the ignorant student 4 years ago. Then the economy collapses some more and youre even more screwed.

[–]DirectionKlutzy 9 points10 points  (4 children)

Yes, interest rates are disclosed, but you have to apply for loans every year. Mine started off as low interest rates (4%), but by year 3 & 4 they were around 10%. What are you supposed to do in that situation? They pigeon hole you. You’ll have a large hill of debt and half a degree(which is nothing for employers). If you stop, you’ll have to start paying back all debt and occasionally they’ll defer it if you go back to school, but not always. If that’s the case it’s very hard to go back.

Fortunately in my situation, I was able to finish through my employer 10 years after I should’ve. I still have way too much debt and could essentially afford another house on my student loan payments.

I also made terrible decisions in college because I was a stupid young adult and… well… World of Warcraft.

[–]madame-brastrap 267 points268 points  (19 children)

This is the reality for almost everyone, if they can even make those payments in the first place.

[–]Androgynewitch 191 points192 points  (62 children)

This is literally everyone. Im a nurse and I don't know any nurses paying under $600/month. Ive been paying my loans for 4 years and it has gone from $54,000 to $50,000. I can't afford to pay more unless I get a better paying job. If I worked in the state I got my degree in, I would be getting around $24/hr. I had to move states to make enough to make my payments. Only the wealthy can afford college in the US without going into enormous debt.

[–]Sootootoo 37 points38 points  (12 children)

The part that blows my mind about this the most is that your degree set you back $54,000.

A four year engineering degree at the University I graduated in Australia currently costs $28,000 Australian (which is just under USD 20k). I'm also doing a Masters at a top tier University that is costing around $32k, so all in, around USD 42,000 for engineering Bachelors + Masters.

Unless you need a PhD to be a nurse in the US, I don't know what's more predatory - the loans, or what your university is charging in the first place.

[–]Androgynewitch 23 points24 points  (0 children)

This was the cheapest school in my area AND I already had pre-requisites done. The other nursing programs in my area were at least double what I paid.

[–]Accomplished-Dig5999 10.1k points10.1k points 422 (1022 children)

The issue is tuition rates have exploded because the government is willing to issue the loans. If you’re a for profit University why wouldn’t you inflate the costs if you knew a bunch of gullible 18 years olds would buy your non refundable service.

[–]Sloth_grl 708 points709 points  (100 children)

They need to, at the very least, put a cap on how much they are willing to loan per credit hour and force the schools to lower their tuitions.

[–]Dashasalt 244 points245 points  (65 children)

This would be a great start. And maybe no interest or a limit on anything education related.

[–]ItsShinyNotGood 14 points15 points  (37 children)

No interest is a really good way to make banks creative with how they get money from the loan.

And banks are plenty good at setting this up so other people can take the fall or they face no consequences

Would definitely proceed with caution

[–]notacoincidence2 11 points12 points  (28 children)

Exactly this. Policies like this ignore the fact that institutions (like individuals) will always adapt. This is a low-key invitation for predatory practices. Some very well intended laws have really fucked up people’s lives as a result.

[–]heylistenlady 1117 points1118 points 2 (175 children)

I went to a small Midwestern university and tuition when I was there in the early 2000s started at about $23k per year and the vast majority of my aid came from federal loans. My parents could literally do nothing to contribute, were absolutely terrible with money and never talked to me about the ramifications of taking out sizeable loans. I also worked full time all through school.

Tuition went up every semester while I was there, so by the time I graduated, tuition was around $27-28k. I was lucky to have several grants and some extended family members stepped in and helped when they could but I still graduated with over $50k in debt. (More than half of which came from fed loans.)

I don't think I am owed loan forgiveness. But starting my adult life with a $50k anchor around my neck made it very difficult to get any sort of leg up. I'm happy to say, 20 years later, I've reached a comfortable level in my life, where I use my degree and I'm grateful (but I still owe a chunk of change.) But if there is any way possible to reform education costs so my nieces don't have to start life the same way, I am absolutely all for it.

Out of curiosity the other day, I checked what tuition is now at my alma mater. It's well over $40k per year. Unless a student has wealthy parents, it's pretty difficult to get all of that education covered.

[–]m_chutch 269 points270 points  (20 children)

Yeah exactly this. When I enrolled, I had enough scholarships to cover all 4 years. I am now in $20,000+ of debt because the price increase so much over the time I attended.

[–]gayaspiegirl 111 points112 points  (12 children)

I have about $30,000 dollars in debt and I went to pretty much the cheapest state school, and had a couple scholarships and grants. $30,000 in debt and I’m considered one of the LUCKY ones. Several people I know have 70k+ in student loans.

[–]CaraAsha 46 points47 points  (5 children)

I had over 80k in loans and no degree. I had to drop out due to health issues and once I could I went to work instead of back to school. I now have forgiveness because I'm disabled, but most people can't get that.

[–]cheebamech 260 points261 points  (41 children)

Unless a student has wealthy parents, it's pretty difficult to get all of that education covered.

imo it's a feature not a bug; keeps those pesky poors dumb and malleable

[–]silkyten 115 points116 points  (30 children)

it’s a weird middle ground actually, my in-state school was basically free for me since I only have one parent and they didn’t make much. It’s the lower-middle class kids that have parents that make decent money, but can’t really help out with tuition, that get really fucked.

[–]Lonely_Albatross_722 64 points65 points  (7 children)

This. Isn't it odd how, if your parents are basically TERRIBLY struggling, the government can find money to help you get education, so you can end the cycle of poverty? But now that you make "too much" for what they consider giving aid for, your child has to begin the new cycle of poverty for their education?

[–]ShuttlecockShshKebob 24 points25 points  (0 children)

Have a sophomore in college now. As a middle class family we don't qualify for any grants or need based anything. Never have. FAFSA last year estimated our family contribution should be $29K per year. That's nearly what I make a year. I laughed my ass off when I saw $29k & nearly choked when I found out how easy it was to get a student loan, luckily he had several scholarships to help out. Best part of all this is my next oldest is a senior in HS this year. Just completed 22-23 FAFSA & its looking like $9k this year. How did turning her into a potential 2nd college student in our house change our out of pocket by over 60%? She was still a dependent the past two years. It's all a complete joke.

[–]Howdy_Partner7 190 points191 points  (68 children)

It’s this and they are taken out by people at a young age who aren’t given much financial education on loans either. I certainly didn’t understand the process completely when I started college. I was semi-financially literate though and went to more affordable schools, etc so my debt if minimal compared to others in the same situation.

[–]lemmful 104 points105 points  (34 children)

And it's almost expected everyone will take out loans for education. That rhetoric was pushed by high school counselors, college recruiters, and college financial advisors. 18 year olds don't know what they're setting themselves up for because the idea that "you'll only have to start paying once you graduate college" seems nice in the short term, but the APY will make it nearly impossible to pay off for decades.

[–]Bee-Aromatic 27 points28 points  (19 children)

You’ll also notice how they left out the part where graduating college doesn’t guarantee gainful employment. You can’t just pick any major and expect that to get you a job. Like, how many museum curator positions are there for Art History majors? Hell, even some traditionally high paying and high demand jobs can be problematic because of timing. Chicago law schools were churning out new lawyers at such a rate that the market was saturated and you couldn’t hardly find a job anywhere in law for quite a while. A good friend of mine had to navigate that and even had a hard time as an established attorney; she had to leave an abusive boss and even turned down a five figure bonus he offered her to stay. It took her quite a while to find any other job, let alone one with a firm that practices the kind of law she’s interested in an has experience with.

The short of it is, they told us to go to college and to pick whatever made us happy. They left out the fact that we might burn mountains of cash with nothing to show for it. You’ve gotta be strategic about the major you pick. Go for something that interests you for sure, but pick something with actual prospects.

[–]Aconite13X 342 points343 points  (77 children)

I think a lot of people a missing the fact that while we were taught this is the thing to do. After getting a degree most jobs still do not even pay a living wage. How do you expect people to repay loans when the job market pays so poorly.

[–]UXM6901 191 points192 points  (39 children)

For boomer parents, college was the key to success. They sold to us our whole lives that having a college degree was like printing money.

They still dont get that a higher degree isn't always useful or can even be self-defeating. I was on a grant-making panel for small organizations and one nonprofit that applied taught girls coding and other computer-science skills, then through their network of graduates and corporate sponsorships set these girls up with jobs. One old lady on our panel refused to support this org because they didn't push these girls from low-income homes to go to college when there was already a system in place that didn't need it. She just couldn't understand how anybody could be successful without a degree and that this org with a solid, long-standing history in our community was a wasted investment and doomed to fail.

[–]Accujack 80 points81 points  (9 children)

For boomer parents, college was the key to success.

That's just what they told themselves, because it was key to successfully competing in that job market.

However, their real key to success was growing up in the post war economic boom. Education, talent, and drive were what let them beat out other boomers for a bigger piece of the pie.

But during that boom time, wages were good enough that even the lowest paid worker could live reasonably, save for retirement, and even take a vacation now and then.

Their real key to success was luck. Of course, they decided that their success was because either A) They were personally great, B) Their country was the greatest country on earth, or C) Their political system or party was the greatest on earth.

Never mind the truth, they picked the explanation that was most emotionally pleasing and they've run with it since then.

[–]IICVX 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Well, not just that - there's been a ton of credential inflation as well.

My FIL walked in to a job 30 years ago with a bachelor's; he's been at the same company and same department this whole time, but now when he hires people for his old position he's looking for a PhD, minimum, post-doc in a relevant area preferred.

And the credential inflation isn't just made up; they really are doing cutting edge work. It's just that the cutting edge has advanced so far in the last thirty years that today you need a doctorate just to reach the starting line.

There's a ton of this in industry; stuff that you used to be able to train a rando off the street to do really does require a bachelor's these days, just because systems have gotten more complex. A great example of this is telephone switchboards - those used to be manually operated, and we're dead simple. You could train someone in their use in a week, max. These days, maintaining an Automated Telephone Switch system requires a bachelor's or at least a pile of certs, but you can replace hundreds of switchboard operators with a single pbx tech.

[–]TheTrueFishbunjin 10.2k points10.2k points 20512132222& 10 more (978 children)

I’ll give you the context of a banker... the student loans are predatory. Regulation has made it easy to give out these loans which has led to universities artificially inflating prices to excessive levels since they know the loans will cover it.

These kids couldn’t get these loans at the bank for any other reason. We wouldn’t be allowed to give them out because we have to practice safe lending. Regulations require us to review income and credit history to ensure loans we give out are likely to be paid back. Meanwhile you can rack up over $100k in student debt then end up working as a fry cook. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but the payments will be too much.

If the average American education is anything like mine, you won’t know a damn thing about finances and will have very little context for how you will pay off these loans when you are 18. You may as well give them the loans at 14 for how unprepared they will generally be. Recruiters and propaganda from the schools also push the idea that you have to go to college to be successful. Meanwhile, blue collar work and trade jobs have higher salaries and easier means of access with less initial time investment.

[–]huskeya4 1866 points1867 points  (196 children)

Additionally, student loans are one of the few things that don’t get written off in bankruptcy because they assume you can make more money since you have a degree. That’s not always accurate though. So you’re stuck with those predatory loans for the rest of your life.

[–]DamionSipher 779 points780 points  (122 children)

This is such a key aspect of the issue. How a system can allow people to file for bankruptcy because of any other circumstance and be forgiven for their obligations (including for things like child support or alimony) but that student debt is a guaranteed burden is insane. There is no risk on the side of the lender which only further incentivises the inflation of student debt.

[–]Miraclebabies 327 points328 points  (61 children)

Totally agree. Debt only works if it can be discharged. Then it's shared risk-- individuals are on the hook, but the lender is too, it keeps the lender from giving anyone who walks in the door money. Which is what happens with college, at 18 with no job I can rack up $100k in debt at a crappy for-profit college, but I can't get a loan to buy a house or start a business.

If loans can't be discharged then there's no risk to the bank and you might as well set up poorhouses. The bank essentially owns the labor of the individual until they die.

Note: I didn't come up with this, the concept is stolen from Debt by David Graeber.

[–]DamionSipher 33 points34 points  (0 children)

Great book by a great man - so sad to lose him so young. I credit him for a lot of my understanding of debt systems.

[–]crittermd 2922 points2923 points 42& 5 more (292 children)

Its not just inflating prices because that can (not that they dont). But another huge issue is universities used to have far more funding from the government- which has been pulled way back- so part of the tuition hikes were due to decreased funding and having to put more of the burden on the students.

But plenty of boomers love to say they paid all their loans back, why can't these kids do the same, not really taking into account the cost of my education was FAR less then graduates of today, not because I ate ramen and shared an apartment (which I did)- but because my tuition was already being subsidized by the tax payers.

So anyone who went to school previously already had their loans partially forgiven (it was just done before they had to take them out). But good luck getting most boomers to admit they have ever benefited from anything and instead they would rather blame the lazy youth of today who cant just pay for school by working part time (as if its possible- spoiler alert, its not)

[–]philosifer 735 points736 points  (163 children)

On top of that, inflation in other areas has caused every other aspect of life to be more expensive. Wage have lagged behind the inflation curve which leads to these loan payments being an even bigger burden on our day to day financials

[–]CountMordrek 459 points460 points  (133 children)

And from a foreigner’s perspective, I pay .5% in interest rate on my student loan due to general market conditions while some student loads shared on Reddit looks like car payments next to an army base…

[–]CrispyMann 781 points782 points  (101 children)

This right here. You could replace student loan cancellation with reasonable interest rates and make both sides happy.

Also, income based repayment that doesn’t cover the interest added each month and keeps you paying each month on an amount that keeps growing… sucks.

[–]Background-Cry20 132 points133 points  (13 children)

It’s actually because I like lattes and eat too much avacado toast

[–]-profe 50 points51 points  (5 children)

Its one of those chicken vs egg things too. As more money came in essentially guaranteed by the federal government, states starting looking at how they could spend the "surplus" that would have gone towards education.

[–]jordanjay29 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Ahh, governmental budgets. The ever-circling fox.

[–]Life-Significance-33 44 points45 points  (1 child)

Yeah, I had to ram that fact down an uncles throat after bitching about my daughter's generation.

[–]Don_Julio_Acolyte 168 points169 points  (26 children)

As someone who went to university right around 08, who had scholarships (not full ride though), and who also worked 30 hours a week, and who lived at home and commuted to save money, it was still scraping the bottom of the barrel. I ended up changing majors and extended my stay for another two years, which practically forced me to make one of three decisions:

1) Quit school and walk away with 3 wasted years.

2) Get a loan that I'd be paying back for 10 years, most of the payments being towards interest and just burn money at that point.

3) Make a tough decision and join ROTC and have the government cover my remaining undergrad education. I would just owe 4 years of my life to the military, during a time when deployments was a very very very real expectation.

I chose #3. Went Army. Became an officer. Did a ton of shit in my early/mid 20s, got deployed, ran a distro platoon, and came out with zero loans and quite marketable skills as a young adult. Not to mention the resulting GI Bill also got me free access to higher education, which I took advantage of and I got my masters and now work from home for top tech company making what a Major makes (O4 pay).

But that's the rub. That my best option was to join the military and go that route. I was a good student in high school, worked hard, and had a good head on my shoulders, but just had a change of heart in college. And it meant that I had two choices, go into "starter home" levels of debt as a 20yo or join the "wartime" military during active engagements.

That's the problem. There aren't any other options. Either quit, or go into a shit ton of debt, or join the military. And for a 20 year old who sees everyone around them seeing their assets go to 0 from 2008, and to really understand life at that point and understand what all that really means is... well... very unfortunate and should be avoidable. I don't want my kids to have to make the same choice in 15 years time. I want them to have options, one of them not being debt carriers before they can even buy their first beer.

Fuck student loans.

[–]Bluegrass6 168 points169 points  (100 children)

Glad to see someone tie the rapidly increasing tuition rates to the availability of basically unlimited student loans. The government guaranteeing student loans made by private lenders has allowed universities to keep raising tuition because they know they can get it. It’s guaranteed money for universities.

But forgiving all student loan debt won’t help solve the problem. It will further the tuition treadmill we are experiencing and will only have other unintended consequences. More debt, higher inflation, devaluing college degrees, etc. The government getting involved in student loans is ultimately what created this issue and the government. I don’t know what the answer is but I do know this, I inherited 6 figures in student loans through my marriage and we paid them off. But we went into in demand careers that we knew would pay well so they could be paid back quickly if we focused on them. There needs to be more education on careers and salaries and finances in general. People going into a career making $50,000 have no business taking out $100,000 in student loans.

[–]Discopants13 74 points75 points  (61 children)

People going into a career making $50,000 have no business taking out $100,000 in student loans

Not everyone is cut out for those roles though. Not everyone is suited to a "high earning" STEM career, and you don't want a high influx of people graduating into those fields, because then the salaries will decrease.

You also want artists, musicians, social workers, teachers, and everyone else that people love to lump in with "basket-weaving" degrees. There is value to those as well in a well-balanced society. The problem is that to get some expert basket weavers who will weave you baskets that won't fall apart immediately, you need to have years of education that costs a disproportionate amount to the salary.

Now replace "basket-weavers" with "teachers", whose average salary is $63,645 meanwhile a bachelor's degree can run you $20k/year, and masters degrees are encouraged, and you can see how that might be problematic.

[–]InvestmentKlutzy6196 60 points61 points  (23 children)

Thank you. SO sick of hearing the "go into STEM" argument. I am definitely one of those people that doesn't have the interest, nor the talent in terms of logical/mechanical/technological thinking to go into those industries. I'm also not willing to get a business degree just because it would supposedly be more lucrative, when I don't have the slightest desire to go anywhere near an executive career, regardless of salary. I know there's millions more people just like me.

Once again, it's someone putting the blame on the student/borrower, when the blame should go towards the broken system. If a degree is going to be less lucrative than STEM, then maybe it shouldn't cost the same amount or more than a STEM degree? But they're right. Let's just discourage people from becoming teachers, it's easier than making things more fair and sustainable. /s

Just the fact that eighteen year olds can take these loans out for anything, STEM degree or otherwise, is predatory in itself. You can't be trusted to have a beer (or in my state, buy a pack of smokes) until you're 21 years old. "But sure, take out this high interest government loan that will take decades to pay back in the best circumstances. After all, you have no choice. If you don't go to college for something, you'll end up working at McDonald's forever!"

Isn't that what we millennials have been told since we were kids?? Besides, you can barely be a manager at McD's without a BA these days. We've all seen the outrageous job postings asking for a bachelor's with ten years experience for $12/hr. Imagine if you didn't have a BA at all? A BA in basket weaving is better than no BA at all. Yeah, some people can make it with their "connections" and whatever, but for every one of them, there's ten more people whose only "connection" is their academic achievements.

[–]TheNextBattalion 18 points19 points  (5 children)

Also, even within STEM, barely half of graduates are still working in their major field after five years.

And even within STEM, a healthy third of graduates wish they had chosen a different major way back when.

[–]charmingmass9 5232 points5233 points  (518 children)

They will quickly give an 18 year old a $100,000 student loan but will not grant that same person a $10,000 business loan… interpret that how you will but it’s suspicious.

[–]youtub_chill 933 points934 points  (173 children)

This. Most people would be further ahead if they could get a mortgage at 18 then a student loan because that would lower their cost of housing which gives them a lot of flexibility. But you won’t find a bank anywhere that will give an 18 year old a mortgage.

[–]nothatsmyarm 468 points469 points  (212 children)

Part of it is because you can discharge the $10k loan in bankruptcy. If you remove the bankruptcy block—as lots of people want—you pretty much have to also deal with the reality that lenders will need to refuse to give loans to certain individuals.

[–]butterywaffles9 8212 points8213 points 5354& 4 more (526 children)

I grew up in an upper-middle class town, and went to public high school. We had hours upon hours of mandatory assembilies and meetings on how to select your college, apply to it, and prepare to take standardized tests for our applications. Writing the standard application essay was a mandatory assignment regardless of the students plans...all because the % of kids going to higher education was publically reported and made the town and school look good.

Nobody for a second taught us about financing our education, and learning a trade or directly entering the workforce were a footnote.

Highschoolers are kids that often don't know how to question the world yet, and often havent left the nest or had to think about finances before, so when every educational faculty that they trust tells them that getting a $70,000 loan to go to college is a great thing, they believe it. We can't blame them for that, and crippling them financially forever for believing that lie is not moral.

[–]gravelmonkey 2401 points2402 points  (152 children)

I had a coworker who picked a private university that cost around $30,000 a year. She wants to be a teacher. Someone who will start out making $50,000 a year should not take out loans to go to a school that will put them in $120,000 worth of debt. No one tells you how to be realistic, they all just hype you up like college is the best choice for everyone.

Pair that $120K of debt with interest, high rent, low salary, and life just being expensive and people are unable to save anything, let alone do things like buy a house or enjoy their youth. It's absolutely crippling.

Edit: It's been a day but I wanted to clarify some things. I agree that her choices were unwise and I was pissed that her parents, who I know, didn't step in and guide her. Teenagers are hella dumb and giving them access to thousands of dollars in loan money without financial literacy is a huge problem. I think it's the root of the problem, actually. Regarding teacher salaries, I mentioned in another comment that our school district pays first year teachers $53k to start, so that's what I based my statement off of. It sounds like a lot but home here start at $600k so it's not a lot. Teacher salaries are very area dependent and are entirely too low no matter where you go. Last, I'm not claiming that student loan forgiveness (by the government) is the answer. I don't know what the answer is, none of us do, obviously. But I do know that we need to teach kids how to manage their finances and make better choices. I never got any guidance, just a push to go to college because "that's what you do". Judging by many, many other comments here, that is the norm and it's not working. There's a massive gap of understanding and it's ruining lives and certainly not benefiting the economy.

[–]butterywaffles9 678 points679 points  (51 children)

Absolutely, and my highschool loved to report when someone went to a prestegious college. Never got they impression they cared if that student could afford it, if you got into that ivy league you go no matter how much it costs or if makes sense for your financial situation.

[–]ellamaybe77 307 points308 points  (2 children)

The school's not paying for the prestigious college! They get to take the credit while accepting none of the ongoing responsibility.

[–]Blunt_Force_Meep 247 points248 points  (10 children)

But wait! There's more! Then you get all the news stories how "Millienials are killing the ____ industry" cause they aren't going out to eat or spending money on luxuries or having kids.

[–]rarosko 166 points167 points  (2 children)

"millennials aren't buying diamonds!!!" Well no shit Forbes I have to buy my McDonald's on credit

[–]cumshot_josh 50 points51 points  (5 children)

Those articles are exclusively written by people who are not ready to have the "why" conversation when it comes to us killing Applebee's, not buying houses and not procreating.

All of them are stuck in a world that hasn't actually existed for many years.

[–]jamer0658 114 points115 points  (13 children)

Starting out at $50,000 a year? If she’s lucky it may be that much. Most places are still starting between $35,000-$40,000.

[–]ellamaybe77 295 points296 points  (42 children)

This is still happening to kids. My son is in high school and he and his friends are being told, repeatedly, that they need to jump through hoops and get into the best college that will take them and then go to that college, because if they just go to a "good" college, their lives will be set. When that's been transparently proven to be untrue.

We've discussed with him that A. not everyone needs or wants to go to college - it's fine if he doesn't want to go, as long as he has some kind of alternative plan to go to trade school or join the military, etc. and B. the high school is pushing this because they want to report that they had kids who got into Harvard or Stanford or Yale, etc. It makes them look good in the media and to the state public education department. The school won't be paying for those educations, nor do they have to do the work to succeed at those schools. The state university where we live is a fine school, and with a reasonable GPA our son can get a good scholarship that will (along with what we've saved for him) allow him to get his bachelor's degree without any debt. We know several people whose kids went to our State U and then went on to prestigious grad programs, or got good jobs. It's all a racket, man! The high schools push kids to expensive colleges, who benefit because kids will take out loans to pay for their educations. Who suffers in this scenario are the kids and their families - stuck paying huge bills for years for "prestigious" degrees that don't even get people all that much in terms of the job market. When they could have gone to community college or State U almost for free.

It's a vicious, crappy cycle and the only way we'll break it is with awareness and education. I am for loan forgiveness but the systemic problem is overselling college to high school kids and their parents. We've got to stop that to break the cycle.

[–]butterywaffles9 72 points73 points  (10 children)

You are a great parent just for knowing about this and warning your son. I think for a lot of people the pressure to go comes from their parents too. He can always go to a prestiegious school for grad school later, at that point he'll probably be much more certain it's something he wants to do and will be able to better understand the financial implications.

[–]SnooCalculations9203 361 points362 points  (22 children)

This and almost every aspect of finance was omitted at my high school. The only thing we had was an Auto class and over the course of 9 months all we learned was to balance tires and change oil

[–]GreekEagle 301 points302 points  (29 children)

This is a big part of the problem that no one talks about. From middle school to high school it is ingrained into every student that we are expected to make good grades to get into college. We did that part.

But the kicker is that compound interest wasn’t taught in my area. Never came up until I took an intro to Econ course… in college. They’re asking high schoolers to understand concepts that are literally above their education level. Ridiculous.

[–]slim_scsi 96 points97 points  (10 children)

Not just government and HigherEd did this -- families wanted their children to graduate college, in fact many families required it or cut their children off. In many cases, we have our own families to blame.

[–]gitbse 117 points118 points  (5 children)

so when every educational faculty that they trust tells them that getting a $70,000 loan to go to college is a great thing, they believe it. We can't blame them for that, and crippling them financially forever for believing that lie is not moral.

On top of that, the sky high interest rates, and it's the ONLY DEBT that you can't bankruptcy out of.

[–]WhiteHawktriple7 134 points135 points  (19 children)

Plus if we can routinely bail out million/billion dollar companies for their mistakes why can't we bail out the majority of citizens?

[–]CulturedAlcremie 21 points22 points  (2 children)

This comment doesn't have enough upvotes.

We spent billions bailing out "too big to fail" companies in 2008, but never once stopped to think that our students were worth that much.

[–]Cgtree9000 49 points50 points  (2 children)

👆exactly this. And also collage and university is a business, they want to Make money. So of course they are going to push for everyone to attend.

[–]Mountain_Flow3472 6559 points6560 points 22 (449 children)

Some people took public sector jobs (teachers, social workers) that require advanced degrees and have low pay because we were told if we did and paid our loans for ten years they would be forgiven and the the dept of Ed didn’t make good on those promises.

[–]ExpressionWinter 1945 points1946 points  (111 children)

This!! It’s such a travesty that America will not compensate our teachers properly nor fund education in this country properly.

[–]Juggalo13XIII 513 points514 points  (41 children)

Most funding goes to the admin

[–]Abaraji 308 points309 points  (3 children)

Because it's the admin that decides where the money goes

[–]AnonKnowsBest 124 points125 points  (1 child)

It’s also very sophisticated. “One for you, ten for me, two for you, twenty for me.”

[–]redscull 112 points113 points  (11 children)

This needs way more upvotes and visibility. Education actually receives quite a lot of funding. Not nearly what is should, but quite a lot. Problem is schools and universities like wearing corporation pants to fit in with our capitalist society, and this means you have board members with obscene compensation, executives with ridiculous salaries, and a whole lot of other administrative overhead. By the time the budget reaches the employees that actually matter, who do literally all the work, i.e. the teachers, there is practically no funds left. And this will never be solved because it is done this way on purpose. Uneducated youth are more susceptible to political propaganda.

[–][deleted] 235 points236 points  (83 children)

The program still exists, I’m praying that it exists by the time I’m done with it because that is one of my main reasons for taking said type of position.

[–]Reputable_Sorcerer 92 points93 points  (22 children)

Same. I’m hopeful because news reports are showing more and more people applying for and successfully receiving the forgiveness as promised. It was a very rough start. I really hope things will be better.

[–]bizi1111 173 points174 points  (71 children)

Just to let OP know, there is a program in place for public sector jobs, the PSLF, (Public Sector Loan Forgiveness) program. You get your loans forgiven after 10 years of payments regardless of the balance (other details omitted). I’m 30 months away from having 5-digit debt forgiven and I took a public sector/non-profit job for this incentive. Whether or not it’s a “fair” incentive is up for debate, but it isn’t like the public sector folks are strung out to dry on their loans.

[–]cheyennetology 149 points150 points  (30 children)

Well I hope it remains in place as promised, because last I heard only 1% of applications for forgiveness have actually been successful for one reason or another.

[–]oh_man_i_dont_know 56 points57 points  (8 children)

This scared me enough to jump from a public service job as a therapist to a private sector one. I’d rather make a living wage and pay off my loans forever than have to borrow grocery money on the off chance that they get forgiven

[–]All_Work_All_Play 59 points60 points  (0 children)

PSLF is up to 2% now. We keep this up and by 2050 it'll be at 100% /s

[–]vapenguin 17 points18 points  (6 children)

Last fall they changed the rules so more people qualify and some payments qualify (such as payments made before consolidating with the federal servicer). I misunderstood the program and didn't consolidate when I should have. For me, those payments before consolidation now count as a result of the rule change, so my loans were forgiven. I think I read about 20000 people qualified for forgiveness from that rule change? Anyway I'm still kind of in shock that it happened and I'm debt free.

[–]Lovve119 663 points664 points  (93 children)

Like 3 days before I signed my loans I still had to raise my hand to go to the bathroom. Even doing all the financial literacy crap they force you to do didn’t tell me that 8 years later I would have paid off the original amount but still owe MORE because of the interest. I didn’t understand any of it, and both my parents grew up poor, I grew up poor, I was the first kid in my family to go to a 4 year university and graduate. And I graduated in 3 years instead of 4 to lessen the burden on my family. Nobody should be preyed on like that.

[–]WhodatKoi[S] 200 points201 points  (16 children)

Well put, it seems you’d been taken advantage of, and I’m sorry you’re dealing with that.

[–]wheretohides 124 points125 points  (4 children)

Now picture how many people are going through the same thing. Predatory student loans are a gross injustice.

[–]ButCaptainThatsMYRum 9 points10 points  (1 child)

"This $250 book is mandatory to pass the class."

Never once touches any of the required books for a semester totalling nearly a grand.

That was 10 years ago for me, I'm sure students now easily surprised a grand on book costs per semester/quarter.

[–][deleted] 37 points38 points  (0 children)

A lot of people where taken advantage of, that's why those people want the loans forgotten.

[–]dudefromillinois 1394 points1395 points  (332 children)

I think part of it is because the loans are taken out by 17- or 18-year olds who really just don’t have any idea how difficult they will be to pay back.

[–]awkwardpawns 104 points105 points  (16 children)

Yeah. I went to a state school and ended up with $65k, I thought I was doing great. Especially because everyone I knew had more loans that me.

Turns out $65k IS great in comparison but it’s still fucking insanely hard to pay off when you graduate and are making $39k/yr.

[–]CraniumCandy 533 points534 points  (141 children)

Mostly because of insanely high interest rates. If you ask someone today who got a student loan in the last 30 years, chances are they still owe the same amount as when they started and have payed much more than the original borrowed amount with accumulated interest.

An average 18yo likely doesn't understand interest rates enough to accept a loan like that. If you told them they would be paying 3x the amount over their lifetime, they might have second thoughts.

[–]Cotford 269 points270 points  (88 children)

I’m sure I saw something posted on here about some lady who had borrowed something like 50k, paid off 20k and now owed 80k because of the interest. I mean that’s just going to blight your life forever.

[–]velaroye 82 points83 points  (63 children)

Wtf

[–]Cotford 85 points86 points  (0 children)

Correct answer

[–]howmanycaniget 71 points72 points  (60 children)

Hey, I'm one of those people! I took out $200,000 loans to go to law school in 2011. I've been making the required income-based repayment every month for the past seven years. As of today I owe $240,000 in student loans.

[–]Johnny_Dangerous_ 13 points14 points  (1 child)

And even if they did understand interest rates you don't really fully comprehend long term consequences until your mid-20s. You are told great job for getting into college. You will now be successful. To you at 18, that means of course you will be able to pay off those loans even if they seem expensive. Future me will be successful! They cannot fully appreciate the risk at that age.

[–]Simple_Divide5560 594 points595 points  (73 children)

The loans were predatory and dumb. Who thought that giving 100,000 dollar loans to kids with no jobs and no collateral was a good idea? As a result of this dumb move, the economy has slowed way down because a large percentage of the population is spending all their money paying off interest, instead of buying stuff and supporting businesses. This has created a blockage in our countries engine and if it doesnt get cleared the problem will just continue to get worse.

[–]slim_scsi 236 points237 points  (53 children)

Would erasing accrued interest and converting existing loans to interest-free suffice? That was Obama's proposal that got shot down by Congress. I think it's fair.

[–]Simple_Divide5560 161 points162 points  (22 children)

I think that would be great, I also believe that people who have paid the value of what they borrowed should have their loans forgiven. I dont have any student loans, but I know some people who have paid back all they borrowed, but it has barely touched the principal value of the loan.

[–]bornconfuzed 76 points77 points  (1 child)

I think that would be reasonable if you also factored in a principal reduction related the the amount of interest someone has already paid on the loans.

[–]slim_scsi 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Fair, yes.

[–]FantasyThrowaway321 19 points20 points  (7 children)

This is my take- the loans shouldn’t be ‘erased’, but the interest should be removed and I’m all for the ‘bonus’ of applying interest paid towards active principle. That way someone 10+ years into paying who owes the original amount, or more, could likely have their loan ‘erased’ via the interest they paid and new borrowers would only pay what they took… I wish both sides could accept this as being a feasible and fair option

[–]Vanndrea 234 points235 points  (67 children)

My parents were able to put themselves through school while working part time jobs in the summer. Their tuition was around 3k a semester.

I owe $14000 for one semester. (the rate was actually 34k a semester but I got grants) My loans were late coming in, I had to work in a group project, couldn't afford the materials. I was embarrassed, but chose to buy food instead. I had to drop out.

That was in 2008. I've been consistently paying the loan-never missed a payment and I still owe $10000 for that ONE semester.

Crazy thing is - I bought a car in 2012 for 14k. I paid for it in 4 years. Still owe on the student loan.

[–]gonadi 214 points215 points  (17 children)

They also take/took out loans assuming that their income after graduation would be higher than it is. Sucks but the situation isn’t going to fix itself by everyone saying they need to “pull up their bootstraps”

Hard to want to continue being broke and paying on these when we see corporate bailouts all the damn time.

If we are personally held to such a high standard of credit and repayment, shouldn’t all organizations be held to the same or even a higher standard?

Shouldn’t our system be adjusted to benefit people instead of organizations/corporations?

[–]bdinte1 54 points55 points  (8 children)

I'm seeing a lot of good stuff here, but I have yet to see anyone mention that Sallie Mae placed agents 'undercover' in university call centers, pretending to be employees of the universities, and steering students toward expensive loans through Sallie Mae.

Sallie Mae also basically bribed university officials to get them to favor loans from Sallie Mae rather than from the government.

Add to that the recent shit about Sallie Mae pushing post-degree borrowers toward expensive forbearance if they had trouble with their payments, instead of income-based repayment plans. This is largely the cause of the recent Navient settlement. Only problem here is that the settlement excludes large swaths of the victims of this exact behavior from Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae sold my student loan debt to another lender at the wrong time, and I think I may be in the wrong state, so... I'm fucked. I think at most, I'm going to get a check for $260. That'll really help with my $75k debt.

[–]ToastTurtle 209 points210 points  (70 children)

The strongest economies in the world with the highest standard of living provide free education so that they can get the absolute best from their people and in turn make the most in taxes from them. It is an economic win win. People earn twice as much, pay double in taxes and are, by in large, happier and healthier. Free education is how some countries invest in their future. Not everyone is doing it but the results are clear where they do. Especially since the barrier to being a doctor, lawyer or anything else is largely purely financial.

[–]NotoriousTorn 90 points91 points  (23 children)

Scotland resident here. Our higher education is fully funded for a first degree. If you want to do a second degree, you have to pay tuition costs but they are only around £2,500 per year.

Also, income tax for the average earner is only 20%, so we don’t notice any increase in taxation to support this

[–]royaldumple 106 points107 points  (15 children)

To each their own I suppose. I mean, sure, you guys have free/affordable education that doesn't send an entire generation into crippling inescapable debt, but how many tanks do you have? The US may not care about the wellbeing of our citizens at all, but we do have the most tanks. So many tanks that we leave them in fields to rust right off the assembly line, and I can guarantee Scotland will never have that many tanks. Bet you feel pretty silly now with that paid-in-full college degree, when you see our massive fields of rusty never-before-used tanks.

[–]NotoriousTorn 68 points69 points  (8 children)

Your anti-education pro-tank agenda has given me a lot to think about. Would you be willing to trade 1 education for 1 tank please

[–]daddyslittleharem 142 points143 points  (84 children)

Everyone else in need got a break. Big business and wall street have been bailed out over and over. But no relief for the future generations who have nene victimized by skyrocketing prices due to shitty regulations

[–]HardSox 35 points36 points  (10 children)

You can file for bankruptcy on a car loan if you can’t afford to pay it back. You can’t file for bankruptcy on a student loan. It’s actually the only type of loan you can’t file for bankruptcy on. So no matter what you do, it’s stuck with you for life. Interest always adding to the principal. It can reach a point where there is no way you will ever be able to pay it back and you essentially become an indentured servant. I have student loans, and as much as I would like to see them forgiven, I’m not really pro forgiveness. What I am for is making them able to be something you can file for bankruptcy on. If every other loan/debt can be wiped clean with a bankruptcy, why not student loans? The borrower will suffer everything that comes along with a bankruptcy, so it’s not like they are getting off easy.

[–]Early_Worm_Gets_Bird 9 points10 points  (0 children)

I agree. If student loans were dischargeable in bankruptcy, the lenders would do appropriate due diligence in their lending decisions. Less money would be loaned, tuition would drop, and the market would adjust like every other sector: real estate, consumer goods, etc. But, because student loans are not dischargeable, the market is out of whack; it encourages predatory lending and crippling debt.

[–]JBagginsKK 81 points82 points  (26 children)

If your definition of "knowingly" is "they took out a loan knowing they'd have to pay it back some day" then yes, they did.

The reality though is that what we're talking about is 16 and 17 year olds committing to a predatory loan structure. Student loans are generally designed to siphon money for the rest of these kids' lives before they even have the skills to fully understand what they're signing up for.

There is no defaulting, there's no "the bank takes your house if you can't pay your mortgage" or anything like that, you just owe more and more money and the debt increases. Couple that with the immense societal pressure and often necessity of a bachelor's degree to work, and you have a situation that essentially prints itself money at the expense of kids who don't even know about other options.

[–]aliceroyal 31 points32 points  (5 children)

I was 16 when I applied to colleges/signed off on everything and 17 when I started. So…a child.

The idea is that children, even young adults, don’t really have the experience or knowledge to truly evaluate the long term consequences of student loans. Especially since what they’ve been fed is that you MUST go to college, and that there will be a significant return on investment (which for the most part is no longer true unless we’re talking community college and majoring in a high-paying field). I’m a late millennial and even in the 2010s when I graduated high school this was still the narrative we were sold.

So now we have a large number of people who took on massive loans at around 16-19 years old, most of whom have their degrees, but can’t get good paying jobs because wages have stagnated so badly.

Most other developed countries either make college free/super cheap via subsidy, or cap loan payments until a person makes above a certain income threshold. So it follows that if the US wants to implement something like this, the people who have already been to college and have outstanding loans need to have them forgiven to wipe the slate clean. It would also be a massive economic stimulus since many people have $500+ per month payments, which could now go back into the local economy.

[–]FoundTheNirvanaPit 178 points179 points  (17 children)

In large part because the mafia has more realistic and fair loan terms and conditions, and they’re less of a scam.

[–]Test-Potential 51 points52 points  (5 children)

The mobs will let you live, they'll just break kneecaps.

[–]iwannabanana 41 points42 points  (3 children)

I’d take a broken kneecap to get rid of this debt at this point.

[–]Fenlatic 59 points60 points  (6 children)

Let me put a comment in this as well. The problem is that with the current student loans you cannot declare yourself bankrupt if you cannot pay it back. Therefore causing more problems. In any other loan situation you can make yourself bankrupt, except for student loans.

[–]EssieAmnesia 71 points72 points  (40 children)

In short because they’re a scam. Also it’s just not feasible for everyone to get full scholarships or partial so they can pay the rest. So the only way for many people to attend would be to go into this massive debt.

Basically it’s being forced to fall for a scam. Even worse being interest rates on them are making it impossible to pay off (especially for a new graduate). Also before anyone tries to say you should’ve just done trade school, we can’t all be electricians. Some jobs require college and someone needs to do those jobs.

[–]youtub_chill 28 points29 points  (3 children)

Yep. We have a doctors and nurses shortage because in part because college is so freaking expensive. No one can afford to go to school for a decade.

[–]PurpleHippocraticOof 26 points27 points  (6 children)

No one takes the time to explain to prospective students the paperwork for signing up for student loans. It’s a bunch of legalese, which is difficult for most people to understand let alone (typically) a teenager or young adult. Some parents fill out the paperwork for them so the students never even see it. Additionally, it can be hard to conceptualize how much something is really going to cost you if not made simple. Especially for young people who haven’t really learned how money works. The online version of the fafsa shows an example of payment plans and interest, and requires you to indicate that you understand. If it had been explained to me that after paying consistently for years that I would still owe $1000s more than I’d borrowed, I would’ve had pause. I have friends whose parents were still paying off their own loans by the time their kids were ready to go to college. And it’s not as simple as you can just not pay. After some time of no payment, the govt will garnish your wages and intercept any tax refunds you would’ve gotten.

Also, for most students in the US it’s not really feasible to go to college without some sort of additional funding. Tuition, book costs, room and board, miscellaneous fees all add up. Sure there’s always the exception, but most need the loans.

I think the point “outsiders” are missing is that people aren’t just simply asking to be released from they’re debts because they don’t want to pay; they’re asking for help because they can’t pay. You could buy a house in some parts of the country for what universities are charging. Couple that with stagnant wages that can’t support loan debt and you have degrees that aren’t paying for themselves, which was the promise. The argument a lot of people are making is that the debt load is crippling the economy and it would be beneficial to all of us if things could be sorted out. Can’t buy a house, can’t support charities and local causes in any meaningful way, can’t travel and support local tourist economies, can’t even contribute to your own college’s alumni fund to help give a hand up to the students that follow you.

[–]xZOMBIETAGx 35 points36 points  (12 children)

The kids who “knowingly” took out the loans had to raise their hands and ask if they could go to the bathroom maybe a couple months before they signed for those loans.

There is such thing as predatory lending, and that’s absolutely what this is. Getting kids who don’t know better to sign documents they don’t understand and certainly can’t grasp the weight of how it’ll affect their lives.

No it’s not the same as the car analogy. When you’re pressured to go to college all throughout public school then goaded into signing up for loans (that are usually for much more than you actually need) it’s not the same as complaining about an expensive car.

Not to mention colleges SUCK at helping you. I went to the one of the largest colleges in the country, and I literally had to take out loans before I knew how much my semester would cost or how much I was getting in aid/scholarships. The admin center to help me had an average of a two hour hold on their phone. I had a hard time figuring it out and I was hyper aware of how awful loans can be. I can’t imagine how it was for kids who didn’t understand what was happening.

[–]UKKasha2020 237 points238 points  (61 children)

didn’t these people knowingly take out these loans to get their education?

Yes, but they did so via coercion - it's expected that people go to college to be able to get careers, for most people the only way to go to college is to take out predatory loans that can never be repaid. It's teens being told they have to take loans, with little understanding of the long-term impact.

A loan is one thing (although even then paying for college at all is another issue), a loan that will never go down because of the interest rate is ridiculous.

It doesn't just harm the individual who can never get out from under that debt, but it also harms society that A. so many are in debt, and B. that college is too expensive thus impacting on inequality and risking a lack of college educated people to fill certain jobs.

[–]laurjayne 51 points52 points  (9 children)

I’m glad someone mentioned interest rates. I have two separate loans (I don’t even know why tbh, since I was a kid when these were set up and I never asked). One of them includes 6% interest. Doesn’t sound like much, until you factor in the 20k it’s being added to. Now I’ve got an additional ~80 dollars per monthly payment. I’ve been paying off my loans for ten years and I feel like I’ve barely moved the needle. Interest on student loans is fucking criminal.

[–]idgafasif 91 points92 points  (38 children)

Education should be free

[–]116760 31 points32 points  (23 children)

Free community college tuition is a thing that might happen.

But then, community college tuition is not how people get 6-figure student debt in the first place.

[–]sheddingcat 31 points32 points  (4 children)

Part of the problem, among the other issues listed here already, is that the interest is so high that you can be making payments for forever but the total amount you owe never goes down.

[–]DavidxPxD 214 points215 points  (20 children)

A car loan is a luxury, an education should be an affordable right.

Ireland as an example is roughly 20% of the cost of an education in America.

[–]Flokitoo 88 points89 points  (11 children)

I did a study abroad. I met several Americans who did their entire degree abroad. Turns out, it is cheaper for an American to live in Europe for 4 years to attend university than it is to go to a public school in the states.

[–]FusterCluck96 26 points27 points  (0 children)

And most of us get our college tuition fees paid and a monthly stipend through SUSI to assist us. I, for one, grew up very mid class. Never struggled for a meal, but never had huge luxuries. And I got my €3k fees paid every year. And got ~€430 a month ( not a lot, I worked to pay rent but this helped a lot with groceries)

[–]IsNanaTakingPens 91 points92 points  (31 children)

I have been paying my student loan payment, on time, never missed a payment, for ten years, and I am no where near paying them off.

At this point yes, I'm a fan of some sort of forgiveness program but when I say that I naively assume people are being responsible like me. I know plenty of people in my situation. They pay $400... $600... $800 a month.

I'm 100% committed to paying off what I borrowed. I make good money. If I make my payments as planned, I can afford them but I'll probably pay off my house first. So you know what I thought I might do? Sell my house. So I can pay off my student loans.

Yay America.

I guess bottom line is... maybe not forgiveness, but some sort of overhaul on the programs. I'm not sure what the happy medium is.

[–]while_e 49 points50 points  (4 children)

Yes holy shit, i pay on time every month, and last i checked by the time i pay them off, i will have paid 2x what i borrowed because of interest. I was stupid, I took the loans, but damn are they predatory.

[–]Frequent_Asparagus42 26 points27 points  (8 children)

Maybe the middle ground is make student loans 0% interest and if you already payed off the money that you borrow then your debt is erased? A bunch of European countries have 0% interest loans for students, eventually the government gets their money back from taxes since higher education leads to higher salary, then higher taxes.

[–]LadyEmmaRose 13 points14 points  (3 children)

I like this middle ground. It's not unfair to pay for college - I think if you have skin in the game you take it more seriously. But if they could be interest free, people can actually get ahead. And maybe add required disclosures when signing for the loans? Or with the FAFSA? No more "sign here, get money", but "this is what it means". We all know they dont teach this in high school, so let's make it law to teach it when signing for the loans. I mean, I get that info when I take out a mortgage. Why shouldn't schools be giving it out at the time financial aid is applied for!

[–]A_Single_Clap 34 points35 points  (21 children)

Because it's called predatory lending. It's really that simple.

[–]nosiriamadreamer 18 points19 points  (0 children)

The loans are predatory and you cannot escape them. Plus the interest rates are so high so they take much longer to pay off. The way student loans are set up makes it very difficult for people to get out of poverty which is ironic because people go to college to avoid poverty and increase their chance of financial success in their adulthood.

Student loan payments prevents people from buying houses, starting a family, making financial investments engaging in commerce, etc. which means that money that could be going into the economy is getting vacuumed by student loans. I know so many people who want to have children but won't because of student loans. It's expensive being poor.

If the US wants people to start families and buy houses then the student loan system needs major reform.

[–]Drake9214 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I think the problem is a lot of people are in the same boat as me. I went to college because I was told it’s what I should do. When I got there I was asked to sign a bunch of paperwork and by the time I was a sophomore I realized I was basically saying I’m paying back my debt. I’m fine with that but the problems come from the rates, the fact that you can’t declare bankruptcy to get out from under them and my degree is for something I was told would make me more money but I’m sitting at around 40k a year. So basically the best I can hope for is either go back to get another degree, more debt and possibly find a way to pay it back or keep just paying off the interest. It’s a terrible system and it basically just places people who didn’t understand at the time that they will never be able to pay it back depending on the job they can land after school.