Looking for good news about the fortunes of college students is a thankless task. The latest news just in is a double whammy to people who have bought into the belief that going to college is the best investment for a sound financial future.
Apparently, total student loan debt now exceeds total credit card debt in the country. That’s fantastic news…for the student loan companies. And it’s yet more bad news for college students. A few years ago, President Obama signed the Credit Card Accountability Act of 2009 which was designed to bring more transparency to credit cards for college students which are being pushed on college campuses.
But no such legislation has been passed to disclose the dangers of taking out student loans. When will high school teachers and parents stop blindly pressuring young people to go to college, when the cost is so high and the return so little?
The statistics and belief that college leads to a better quality of life, or higher earnings, is continually undermined with every news article reflecting the sad reality for most graduates.
The “bad economy” keeps getting blamed. But isn’t the real culprit an educational system that doesn’t teach young people about financial literacy, business, or how to create their own jobs? Instead, young people are pushed through a system of grades and approval that leaves them with nothing but a degree, to be pushed to the bottom of their resume in lieu of job experience.
Within the article from NPR on this topic, it mentions that people go to college with “hopes” of having a better career. This is sadly true. Most people do not regard their investment in school or the taking out of thousands of dollars in student loans with the same scrutiny afforded to an investment in a stock or a start up company. Colleges have no accountability for the plight of their graduates. And at the same time, students and their parents rarely examine the real world benefits or cost of going to college until it is too late.
Student loan debt needs to be addressed. It may be the next “bubble” after the housing crisis. But it can’t be solved by just forgiving the loans already in existence. We don’t want to wait another 4 years to have another batch of young people screaming their lungs out on Wall St. Instead, we need to encourage these young people to stop applying to college.
This sounds outrageous to most people, because we’ve been conditioned that college is the “only” way to a good life. But after looking at the reality, is it so outrageous? Websites like Uncollege.org are encouraging young people to take on self education and try new innovative approaches to life.
Whatever the case, young people should be able to choose their options for the future with their eyes wide open, instead of being blindly led off a cliff into unlimited financial debt.