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Generation Debt (Part III): It’s Payback Time

April 28 (2009)
This last piece was written by Kara McGuire

From third part of a series in the Strib:

“Danni Hulm-Lowe lives in her in-laws’ basement in Woodbury with no plans to move out soon. With $94,000 in undergraduate loans, nearly every dollar earned as a school portrait photographer goes to her $1,000 monthly loan payments.”

[Ouch! This situation raises a lot of questions and the culprit in this case is not the U of M but Concordia College in St. Paul.]

“Having a college degree has been offered up as a key to middle-class prosperity. But now with unemployment at 8.5%, some graduates are having a tougher time finding a job and making good on their college debts.”

“That has the Dannis of the world wondering where their college advisers were when taking on their student debt. Colleges have come under fire for cozy relationships with credit card companies and student loan providers. Lenders, too, face criticism that they have too little to lose if a student borrows too much.”

“As debt loads mount, so does concern that student loan debt will be the next financial crisis.”

“It’s unsustainable,” said David Laird, president of the Minnesota Private College Council. “There’s a limit to how much students can and ought to be borrowing.”

“At Minnesota’s four-year colleges, the average student debt burden for a student in the class of 2007 was $24,169 compared with an average of $20,098 nationwide, according to the Project on Student Debt.”

The article goes on. But I am too depressed to continue typing. Hopefully it will be posted on line in a couple of days and I will put up a link.

Meanwhile, here’s a summary of the series:


Sunday: Tuition increases pushing college out of reach for middle-class students.

Monday: Legislators, critics tell colleges: Show us the money!

Tuesday: Students find financial advice, protection lacking.

Comments

“Having a college degree has been offered up as a key to middle-class prosperity. But now with unemployment at 8.5%, some graduates are having a tougher time finding a job and making good on their college debts.”

While I personally agree that the falling level of public support for higher education is deplorable, the direct linkage of a 8.5% unemployment figure and high student debt is difficult to justify: the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data (March 2009 - http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t04.htm) reports unemployment for those with a Bachelor's degree or higher at half the combined rate (4.3%).

While Ms. Hulm-Lowe's situation is both a personal and public issue, this statement is a little disingenuous in my opinion.

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