Tuesday, June 13, 2006

College Grads Can Owe Big Bucks

From NewsAlert we learn about this USA Today article about the increasing number of college grads who owe $100K or more at the end of college. There's some hand-wringing in the article and on NewsAlert's commentary about how bad a development this is--but no one forced these adults to go into expensive degree programs and put themselves so far into debt!

Palazzolo, 25, graduated on Mother's Day from Rutgers University with a master's degree in public policy and student loans exceeding $116,000. His payments will average about $800 a month. It could have been worse: Because of his top grades, Rutgers paid Palazzolo's tuition for his final year of graduate school.

At a time when his friends are thinking about buying their first homes, he's looking for roommates to share a three-bedroom house so he can limit his rent to $600 a month. “I feel like I've done everything I was supposed to do, and at the end of the day, I've got this huge debt,” Palazzolo says. “What did I do wrong?”

Wrong? You apparently didn't look into the cost of the program in advance, you idiot. And if you start pulling in 6 figures--and why would you go into such a program unless you thought you could get 6 figures a year out of it--are we still supposed to feel sorry for you?

Cry me a river.


EllenK said...

You will see alot more of this. Sadly, many of the kids who are college bound won't be getting grants and scholarships. If their parents didn't make provisions early in the game, they will end up with expensive loans even if they go to state schools. In Texas, they have deregulated tuition which means that the schools set the tuition. All the state schools have raised tuition. On one hand, yes the kids need to look down the line at what their education is costing, but on the other hand there are pricey scholarships going to marginal students based on athletic ability or a desire to create a diverse educational experience. Universities think nothing of subsidizing students when it fits in with the goals of the Board. There will be sticker shock down the line. I just got a call from my daughter who is working as an RA over the summer bemoaning the fact that many of her friends from high school are spending summers and years in Europe or traveling rather than working. I know this is just angst, but I reminded her that she will be free to travel after graduation because she will have less than $5000 in loans to pay back because we, her parents, chose to not buy new cars for sweet sixteens, not to fund expensive senior trips and chose to support her through a couple of decades worth of contribution to our states guaranteed tuition account. In the end she understood. I think many of her friends will have to defer adult goals of marriage and careers just in order to pay back loans. So on one hand, I don't feel sorry for the kids, but I do think that there is a good deal of financial waste that goes on in the university systems that could be better spent on support student success.

nick d said...

I wonder where it all went.
According to yahoo's college info, rutgers will full room and board, full time in-state tution and fees, works out to be about 16k/year or roughly 100k for 6 years. Now if you got a part-time job even making 10k/year -> 60k for 6 years -> 100k-60k = 40k of loan debt.

With all these 100k+ post graduation indebtedness, I'd really be interested in seeing a break down of where the money went. I wouldn't be surprised if alot of vacation, misc, etc spending show up.

Of course, why didn't those people go to a community college first for the first few years for their lower division stuff then transfer? Why did they need to go (if they did) out of state? Why private vs public? Why not go ROTC? If you want to get a college education, its really isn't hard or that expensive if you econmize your cash as much as possible. Don't tell me your degree from rutgers will get you 50k more in starting salary than the same degree from SUNY or a cheaper school.

Anonymous said...

I’m not trying to be a jerk. I’m really not this time. Scout’s honor. (wink) :-)

However, I do find it deliciously ironic that someone who revieved an exhorbinate eductaion at the taxypayer’s expense would be so callously unempatheic to somone who incurrered horrendous debt while pursuing a degree. And that of couse says nothing of the guaranteed post-graduation employment you also enjoyed.

Before cusing someone else’s lack of forsite, count your own blessings. Fair enough?

Darren said...

No, not fair at all. I *did* look ahead, considered the costs and benefits, and made my own decision. You don't hear me whining about my "lost college years" or anything like that.

And if you're going to fault me for the education I received, you might want to consider either the typing or the spelling education you received. Fair enough?

Anonymous said...

You got me there. I don’t spell so good. Probably at the 6th grade level.

However, does you statement endorse a student pursing an academy education solely because of the free education aspect?

Darren said...

There's no such thing as pursuing an academy education solely because of the free education aspect--because the graduating cadet will still owe five years of active duty service, and three years of individual ready reserve service, upon graduation.

The deal is, the graduate pays his or her debt by serving in the military. That can't be a hard concept to fathom.

Anonymous said...

That is not true of the Merchant Marine Academy.

Darren said...

"Moreover, in time of war or national emergency, the U.S. merchant marine becomes vital to national security as a "fourth arm of defense." Our merchant ships bear the brunt of delivering military supplies overseas to our forces and allies. The stark lessons of twentieth century conflict prove that a strong merchant marine is an essential part of American seapower."http://www.usmma.edu/about/default.htm

So they don't wear military uniforms at work--but they're vital to national defense.

The Merchant Marine Academy--is that really the argument you want to make about Academy educations?

What point *are* you making?

You lefties always try to change the subject. This thread was about a guy with a masters degree whining about the how in debt he is. You bring up my West Point education and, since I didn't have student loans to pay off (just a few years of service in the military), claim I should have more empathy. When I bring up that graduates of academies (I admit I was focusing on the Military, Naval, and Air Force Academies) pay off with time and service instead of money--your best argument is the Merchant Marine Academy?

Here's more:

"To educate and graduate professional officers and leaders of honor and integrity, who are dedicated to serving the economic and defense interests of the United States in our Armed Forces and Merchant Marine, and who will contribute to an intermodal transportation system that effectively ties America together."

"The Academy is a national institution, operated by the Federal Government's Maritime Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Academy's four-year program centers on a regimental system that instills its students - called midshipmen (a term used for both men and women) - with the traits of leadership, discipline and dedication required for a career that typically may include service at sea, maritime employment ashore, and serving as a commissioned officer in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces."

So, I would say it *is* true of the USMMA.

Darren said...

I guess if it's not true of the Merchant Marine Academy, it's not true of the FBI Academy either--because they don't wear uniforms.

Allow me to rewrite:
The deal is, the graduate pays his or her debt by serving in the military or in some other arm of the government, promoting our national interests.


Darren said...

Coast Guard isn't DoD, either. It's Dept of Homeland Security, now. But I think they should still count as far as service goes, don't you?

rightwingprof said...

I maintain that anybody who sends their kids to a military school should get a property tax refund, and the kids should get a big tuition discount.

That would cut down on the spoiled brat leftists and turn this country around.

Darren said...

RightWingProf, would that include the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine Academies?

How about the Citadel, VMI, Norwich, or the New Mexico Military Institute?

How about parents of kids enrolled in ROTC?

Not challenging your proposed program, just curious how far you'd extend it.

nick d said...

"guaranteed post-graduation employment"

Because everyone enjoys a 9 months tour, nay, OCEAN CRUISE on a aircraft carrier. Or perhaps lovely downtown Iraq, or the exotic Bagram Air Base.

Art said...

I for one am unsympathetic to anyone who was eligible for any sort of financial aid. After serving in the military for ten years I was told that I didn't qualify for financial aid because I made too much money during my final year in the military. We could solve a lot of our recruitment problems by tying federal financial aid to federal service. On a side note, I served with many USMMA grads. They were some of the finest officers I ever had the privelage to serve with. Great blog, I'm adding a link to it.

cassandra said...

I'm tired of hearing these people snivel about owing so much. I'm very suspicious of the whole thing. It's like a whole class of youngsters feel they are entitled to an elite education in any major their hearts desire. If you complain then you're *against education*. The reporters never mention anything about the choice of schools or majors, it's just taken for granted that you must attend the BEST college and take WHATEVER and the world owes you a living.

The truth is, students are a little bit loose with free (Pell) and borrowed money. My best friends blew their Pells on a spending spree and then dropped out of JC. I worked my way through undergrad but when I was in law school I did the same thing--eating out all the time, buying lots of stuff, thinking of all the money I'd be making as a lawyer. Saw a stepson do the same in med school.

If I had it to do over, it'd be the best state school I could afford on current income and savings, and pick a tough, marketable major.

Darren said...

Art, welcome aboard! And Cassandra, welcome back! Seems like it's been awhile since I've seen any of your comments.

David said...

The problem lies in that phrase "done everything I was supposed to do." Making key life decisions according to some impression of what one is "supposed to do" is generally not a recipe for much more than a mediocre existence.

When academics advise a person to pursue an advanced degree in their field, the advice should not be considered any more objective than that of a car salesman.