One thing you can’t say about the US education system is that it’s difficult for college hopefuls to pay for school. Obtaining loans is usually as easy as just signing your name on a dotted line, ensuring that just about anyone can go to college. Easy money is a great equalizer - for those four years at least.
Getting in is easy – getting out is the tricky part. The price tag on a four-year state school is comparable to what an Ivy League education used to cost, but the payoff couldn’t be more different. What we have now are college grads who were easily able to borrow huge sums without necessarily feeling the pinch - until they graduated to a job making $35,000 per year. For many, the salaries at the end of the college experience are just too little too late.
There is over a trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt. How do we reduce that? I recently wrote about the Corinthian 15's debt boycott movement,
designed to trigger a bailout for indebted former students. I argued that in the case of absolute desperation, it might make sense for someone to join the movement, but only after careful consideration of the consequences.
An outspoken critic of any form of bailout for universities is multi-billionaire Shark Tank host Mark Cuban. He believes they would create the expectation among all future students and the universites that if they can’t pay back the loans, the government will take care of it. I have to agree with him to a certain extent.
If there is a bailout, when will the buck ever stop? Say the debt boycott does work - would every financially strained community start boycotting and expect bailouts? If we do get a bailout, all we do is exacerbate and prolong the problem, kicking the can down the road.
Don’t get me wrong. I agree that millions of us were suckered into high interest rate loans. I’m one of them. Getting a good job out of school wasn’t a concern when I started school in 2006. The high price tag didn’t bother me because honestly I couldn’t conceptualize that much money and the amount of hard work and sacrifice that it is taking to pay it off.
But if we get a bailout, we wouldn’t be the generation that took our lumps and set the precedent that you are responsible for the decisions that you make when it comes to higher education. We wouldn’t be known as a generation that stood up to our problems. We’d forever be summed up in one word: entitled.