The Cost and Debt of Knowing Important Things

In 1993, around 45 percent of students went into debt in order to attain a bachelor's degree.

Today, that percentage has risen to 94. 94 percent of students.

That's a crime. In order to be better educated and therefore a more capable contributor to the economy and the betterment of America, you have to sink into crippling debt before you've earned dollar one.

If America wants to compete in an increasingly competitive world, college education has to be waaaaaaaay cheaper. And advanced education beyond that, too. Bachelor's degrees alone don't even hack it with many career paths.

More shocking stats here.

Adding... Karoli via Twitter: "spending for prisons +26% over last 10 yrs. spending for college -9%. Prison pop grew 1%. Univ. pop grew 13%"

  • Brutlyhonest

    Just like with health care: No one in a country with this much wealth should have to spend every dime they have/go into debt to better him/herself.

  • trgahan

    It is understand exactly why college has gotten so expensive. Fees and tuition are higher every year. Tenure is almost non-existent anymore and most of my friends who got PhD’s (costing around 80,000 to 100,000 plus) are now competing with 1,000’s of other PhD’s for a $40,000 a year professorship. So it may not be all those lazy American-hating, socialist professors we keep hearing about.

    It is hard not wonder when most Division I coaches and athletic directors make multi-millions. Most presidents and board members want similar salaries without accountability. Colleges can’t build “luxury” dorms and related facilities fast enough. With states pretty much abandoning their university systems in to keep taxes low. Is it any wonder that who ends up paying the bill? We are in the same unsustainable cycle as healthcare.

    I agree the students need to focus on what they want to do with their lives and how much it will cost for a degree in the field. I don’t want to question people’s decisions, but do you really need to pay $100,000+ for a degree to teach elementary education?

    • IrishGrrrl

      I never thought about it in terms of healthcare but you are on to something there….

  • scifritz

    I wonder how much of this is a factor of parent’s, who would normally save for their kids college either can not at all or can not to the degree they once did, which cause more kids to have to go into debt above those who already would have. Is this the first generation of college student’s whose parents we not gauranteed pension and had to gamble in 401ks and the market to worse results because they are not education in finance enough, thus having to save more for themselves and think about the kids second…that is what a financial planner told me when it came to balancing my retirement with my kids education.

    • IrishGrrrl

      I think it is a legacy of the Baby Boomer generation who didn’t bother to instill values in their kids or save money for their college education. Once the middle class started to decline, and I think it can be definitively placed at the point where the Baby Boomers reached their highest point of success, that’s when parents could no longer afford to save for both their retirement and their kid’s education.

  • Draxiar

    Pair this up with a shakey job market with no promise of even getting a job in their field of study and that debt becomes even meaner. Many will default on their loans, move back in with their parents, work multiple jobs not relevant to their degree(s), or all of the above and more.

    • agrazingmoose

      I am all for students becoming English, History, Philosophy, and Art History majors. But, they need to make a realistic assessment of their employment options from the get go. I blame the administration and faculty in these areas for not making this clear to their students and I believe that they do so in order to keep their own jobs.

      We are in dire need of students that are willing to do the exceptionally hard work of becoming science, statistics, and math majors if we are truly going to be competitive in the global economy. Those students are not having any trouble finding employment.

      • IrishGrrrl

        Recruiters are incentivized to tell students what they want to hear, not what the need to hear.

  • agrazingmoose

    Despite all the debt that students and their parents are taking on in order for them to attend college, I see little evidence that students understand that they need to work hard in addition to taking out loans.

    The last two decades of “students as customers” has yielded the laziest group of students that I have ever seen. Year after year things get worse. Student cheating is growing exponentially and is, at this point, out of control.

    Hold the “grandpa” comments. Higher ed faculty across the board have found this to be true.

    • jjasonham

      Define what it means to “work hard”. Then tell me the difference between what these students are doing and what “successful” adults (like Wall Street for example) are doing. Students are not living in a bubble. They are learning from society. I blame your generation…for the outrageous costs students have to face, for the cheat-to-win mentality, and for not having the jobs there for them to work.

      • agrazingmoose

        Let’s see. I graduated from an elite private college in 1983 and was unable to find a job in my field for several years. I ended up going to graduate school.

        You might feel that your generation is enduring all of the pain, but it is not. Students fresh out of college with certain types of degrees have always had trouble finding work.

        I teach in an business school and all of my students have gotten jobs in their field upon graduation through all of this financial mess.

        I expect my students to be prepared and to do their own work. Not an outrageous request, but seems far from their actual goals.

        In my opinion, the cost of a college education is driven largely by the bloated costs of administration and non-essential frills that universities use to draw in students. Resources for faculty have been stagnant for over a decade.

        Finally, parents are responsible for teaching their children ethics and my kids are doing just fine, thank you very much.

        • muselet

          In my opinion, the cost of a college education is driven largely by the bloated costs of administration and non-essential frills that universities use to draw in students. Resources for faculty have been stagnant for over a decade.

          I can’t speak to the situation anywhere else, but a couple of years ago one of the chancellors of the California State University system said in a radio interview that the cost of providing a university education isn’t much different than it was twenty years ago, but that the state has become an “unreliable partner.” State funding for public colleges and universities in California has dropped like a stone over the past couple of decades, a trend that shows no sign of changing, and one which seems (per Karoli’s tweet) to be national.

          Depressing, it is.


          • agrazingmoose

            That is true indeed.

        • jjasonham

          I actually don’t disagree with your high expectations for students. I don’t really think our generation is bearing all the pain. I only typed I blame your generation because your comment felt like an accusation toward mine. It also felt like you were saying “if only you worked harder you would be fine”. That seems to be a popular argument against the poor. Simply “working harder” is not always the solution in reality and it doesn’t take into account the environment those students are operating in.

          • agrazingmoose

            Ah. Well no, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that students expect grades to be handed to them on a silver platter.

            In our case, working harder actually does translate into better outcomes. I see it every day.

          • IrishGrrrl

            I can second your anecdotal evidence. I worked for a private college and the students wanted As for doing nothing and they were constantly complaining about getting their monies worth while at the same demanding lower and lower standards. It makes it impossible to maintain academic standards when the student becomes a customer. If they pay, they want their paper…regardless of whether they have earned it or not. Having been in the private college arena I know I would NEVER hire someone with a degree from somewhere like the Univ of Phoenix or their competitors until I could determine whether they actually know something first. This might sound like snobbery but it isn’t. I went to all public schools all the way to grad school…I am no Ivy Leaguer. But I can honestly say that American students in general are lazy because their parents did not encourage the value of education and instead they pushed the idea of getting ahead by whatever means they could.

          • jjasonham

            Well this is a totally different topic. I believe it is the education system that needs to change to get more inspiration to work hard. The old manufacturing/factory approach inputing students, putting them all through the same system regardless of their individual natures, and expecting the same output is thoroughly outdated. Students will gladly work harder for something they feel inspired by.

    • MrDHalen

      Be glad their just lazy and not burning down cities and the capital. The system of corporate greed and stagnate wages instituted by the Boomer generation has put America on a path to failure.

      Our system has been broken and it was broken by highly educated Ivy League school graduates. The best and the brightest!!!