I’m basically going to defer to the overwhelmingly depressing stats in the New York Times of Gloom for this one.
Student loan debt outpaced credit card debt for the first time last year and is likely to top a trillion dollars this year as more students go to college and a growing share borrow money to do so.
Two-thirds of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with debt in 2008, compared with less than half in 1993. Last year, graduates who took out loans left college with an average of $24,000 in debt.
Pell grants for low-income students are expected to be cut and tuition at public universities will probably increase as states with pinched budgets cut back on the money they give to colleges.
The Times: dashing kids’ desires to go to college one news story at a time. J/K, it’s actually totally the economy’s fault, so… sucks. Kind of feel like lying under the covers until this whole economy thing blows over? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The worst part about this crushing debt is that it prevents anyone graduating in a recession (ahem…) to be on par, salary-wise, with their peers who graduated in the bounteous time of plenty: aka before 2007.
“I am worried about this cohort of young people, because their unemployment rates are much higher and early job changing is how you get those [pay] increases over their lifetime,” Ms. Rouse said. “In this economy, it’s a lot harder to go from job to job. We know that there’s some scarring to cohorts who graduate in bad economies, and this is the mother of bad economies.”
This whole debt thing is not only preventing grads from saving any money or starting their own companies, but it actually creates a whole new generation of childless, homeless, and other-things-that-require-money-less Non-Adults.
“If you have a lot of people finishing or leaving school with a lot of debt, their choices may be very different than the generation before them,” said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for Student Access and Success. “Things like buying a home, starting a family, starting a business, saving for their own kids’ education may not be options for people who are paying off a lot of student debt.”
Worse, it’s basically corrupting America’s slow-to-marriage youth to go to hell in a handbasket.
In some circles, student debt is known as the anti-dowry. As the transition from adolescence to adulthood is being delayed, with young people taking longer to marry, buy a home and have children, large student loans can slow the process further.
“There’s much more awareness about student borrowing than there was 10 years ago,” Ms. Asher said. “People either are in debt or know someone in debt.”
In fact, even the President wasn’t left unscathed from his Ivy League debts!
“We left school with a mountain of debt,” Mr. Obama said in 2008. “Michelle I know had at least $60,000. I had at least $60,000. So when we got together we had a lot of loans to pay. In fact, we did not finish paying them off until probably we’d been married for at least eight years, maybe nine.”
Even then, Mrs. Obama said, it took the royalties from her husband’s best-selling books to help pay off their loans.
So there you have it: the only way to get out of debt is to publish a best-selling book right before becoming President of the United States, as NYMag’s Pressler cleverly deducts. Or turning to a life of whoring and its many variations. Either way, really.