Student Loan Debt Epidemic

If you spend any time at all listening to Dave Ramsey or watching Suze Orman, you’ve probably noticed that one of the biggest chunks of most people’s debt situation is their student loans. My sister, for example, walked away from Penn State owing over $80k on her Elementary Education degree. That’s four times more than she made annually as an entry level teacher in western Pennsylvania. I was slightly luckier in that I escaped with only $40k in debt after transferring TO a branch campus to finish up cheaper while living at home.

What is it about “Higher Education” that makes people think the price tag isn’t important? I know people who obsess about saving $5 a month on HBO and at the same time insist that their kid has the premium (insert favorite college here) education no matter what the cost. For some reason, most people seem to be more concerned with their perception of the value of a degree than they are with the actual earning power of that degree.

I’d like to challenge people to think about what life would be life if they didn’t go to college. What if instead you worked somewhere, anywhere, making $20k for 4 years? You’d end up with $80k earned instead of what seems to be an average of $100k in student loans. That’s a $180k swing. Seeing as most people I know can’t find jobs pertaining to their majors anyways, would you really be worse off? Would you really have that many less opportunities? Now I’m not suggesting that everyone, or anyone, should blow off the importance of a college degree, but it seems like looking at it from this perspective at least shows people that there is a cost/value decision to be made.