NYT: Degrees of Debt

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Paidagogos, May 13, 2012.

  1. Paidagogos

    Paidagogos Member

  2. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Ah, yes, another article about kids graduating $100,000 in debt.
  3. There are some things in life that I will just never understand.
  4. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    According to the article:

    “As an 18-year-old, it sounded like a good fit to me, and the school really sold it,” said Ms. Griffith, a marketing major. “I knew a private school would cost a lot of money. But when I graduate, I’m going to owe like $900 a month. No one told me that.”

    What the hell? How sheltered are some of these kids? My parents raised me to know the value of a dollar, and also how hard it is to earn money. By the time I was eighteen, I had seen my parents go through good times, and hard times. They never hid the bad times from me, which is good. I learned things such a saving for a rainy day, keeping debt as low as possible, and even to pay your bills on time so you have good credit. To this day, I have one the highest credit ratings one can get.

    $900 a month? Not worth it in my opinion. Never had any student loan debt. I paid as I went. The more this kid works restaurant jobs, the more she will be labeled a "restaurant worker". Nothing wrong with that. Hopefully the degree gets her into a job that requires a degree. This may or may not happen.

  5. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    These bricks and mortar private and state universities telling students to "get over the sticker shock" are no better than for-profit, online schools that target military veterans and their GI Bill money. I think students who apply for loans or try to use GI Bill money should be required to take a class explaining accreditation and how loans could affect their financial futures. I have been working on my BS off-and-on since 2005. Yes, it is taking forever. No, I won't have ANY debt when I eventually graduate. All of the tuition is coming out of my own wallet.
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    It's always been said that I have a keen eye for the obvious and so I'm going to summarize:

    1) Go to a college (or let your kid go to a college) that costs 200% or even 300% of your local state college.
    2) Choose a major that has no clear career path.
    3) Graduate into an economy where even people with degrees AND experience are unemployed.

    I'm glad that these stories are appearing over and over. Maybe people will start to realize that the game has changed and that a Bachelors degree in English or History is actually less valuable than a taxi driver's license.
  7. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    These have to be the most stupidest people and the parents of the younger ones should be ashamed of themselves.

    23 yr old is $120,000 in debt for Marketing degree
    24 yr old is $70,000 in debt for nothing (drop out)
    23 yr old is $80,000 in debt for social worker degree
    22 yr old is $80,000 in debt as senior (no degree yet)
    38 yr old is $100,000 in debt for nothing (drop out)
    44 yr old is $45,000 in debt for Nursing degree from NA school

    The article makes these people out to be victims of evil schools taking their money and evil people telling them to follow their dreams and evil Republicans for causing tuition to go up. What a bunch of crap. They may be a victim of their own stupidity, but that's it. The true victims are the taxpayers who are subsidizing the schools and who will be paying for these defaulted loans.

    The 38 year old, single mother, who is $100,000 in debt said “I was promised the world and was given a garbage dump to clean up, like my life was not already screwed up with welfare and all.” Un-freaking-believable.

    I am so tried of this "society of victims" crap. In life we make choices. If those choices are good then we succeed. If those choices are bad then we must deal with the consequences and learn from our mistake.
  8. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    I think you're overstating a valid critique such that it becomes an invalid one. "Stupid," no.

    On drop outs ending up with "nothing" perhaps compounding the problem, consider that you might agree with cutting their losses. Also, see our washout thread here; it happens to some of the best of us.

    The NA school nursing graduate should be eligible for a state license and a very good career. That their entry degree is NA isn't great, but RA nursing school admission is wildly competitive in much of the country, we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, etc. They could also, easily, top it up with a higher degree in nursing earned in service from a cost-competitive RA school.

    We're left with graduates in social work and marketing. Practical fields, and how often do we hear that CSWE-accredited degrees in Social Work specifically are, generally and other things being equal or close, more valuable credentials in the market than similar degrees in human services, counseling, MFT, master's-level psychology, etc.

    I think this sort of article can usually also be read as critiques of the student loan system generally sponsored by Democrats…

    As you go on to do. :p
  9. NMTTD

    NMTTD Member

    $80,000 for a social worker degree. That must be from USC or the like. I actually thought about going into that field at one time, so I did some research. My son has a case manager, and I love her to pieces, and thought I might like to help other kids the way she helps my son. So I did some research. And I spoke to 3 local agencies and asked them what they require. They said as long as you get a bachelors in either psychology, human services, or social work from ANY RA school that is all you need. I was told that they dont look at a degree from USC or Ashford any different. All they care is that the school is RA and the degree is in one of those fields. If you get a masters then you would be able to be a supervisor/boss and not out in the field. The bachelors pay is $30k a year, the masters pay is $38k-$42k a year. They prefer the masters in Social Work, but will accept Human Services. So I started looking at schools and saw that many good schools offer the bachelors AND masters for less than what USC costs for 1 degree. I just dont understand $80k for a degree. Not when you can get the same degree for SO much less at good, RA schools. I just dont get it. I really dont.

    As for $120k for a marketing degree, I really dont get that at all. I have seen MANY really good, RA schools offer that degree (as well as a MBA/Marketing dual degree) for sooooo much less. Why anyone would pay that much for a degree, when you can get that same degree for so much less, is beyond me.

    I know the allure is the loans. You dont have to worry about your credit score, pretty much anyone can get them, and its easy to forget that at some point you WILL have to pay them back. I mean, you get "free" money (which is how many very poor people see it at first) to do as MUCH schooling in ANY field you could ever want. The schools sell you on "follow your dreams. Go with your gut. Fulfill your passion. Get a degree in what you LOVE." So you think "hey, why not?" Maybe you dont have any family who has ever been to college. Maybe there ISNT someone there to guide you and teach you the other ways to do things. So you say "ok, sign me up!!" After all, the government wouldnt offer the loans if they didnt want us to get an education, right? And these universities wouldnt offer these degrees unless they would lead to great jobs, right? So you sign up, choose a college, choose a degree, go along your merry way. You do fairly well, get the surprise of your life the first time you get a stipend/refund check from your excess loans. WHAT????? So not only does the government provide you with the money to pay for your loans, but now they GIVE YOU MONEY just because!!! OMG!!! How awesome is this country!!! So you go along your merry way, do well in school, never worry about how your classes are paid for because hey, the government has your back. You cash your refund checks and think "what the heck is everyone griping about? Im not starving by being in school. This is great!!" So finally the day has come that you graduate. Proudest day EVER for everyone in your family. Many never even finished highschool, nevermind college. So you stand tall, a beacon of pride and accomplishment. You decide to go on and get your masters degree, and of course your whole family says "yes! Do it!!" So you apply to a good college because thats always everyone's dream, isnt it? Go to undergrad school, do really, really well and get in to a really good grad school. So you do. Using loans, of course. Because HEY! It was awesome before, and if it ain't broke, dont fix it, right? There's no one around to really help guide you in making your choice. You've heard of maybe 5 or 6 colleges, so you apply to them. No one shows you all of the other great school that offer your chosen degree for a fraction of the price. So you apply, you wait....and wait....and wait....and LO AND BEHOLD you get in to your first choice school. EVERYONE has heard of it. They are so proud of you. Heck, you're proud of yourself. So you start classes, once again not worrying about your classes being paid because THIS COUNTRY REALLY IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD!!! Where else can you go to school on the government's dime, GET MONEY BACK EVERY DISBURSEMENT, and be at a top notch school with a huge reputation??? Now you can see why so many immigrants come here every year. Why the heck would you want to be anywhere else? So you finish school with a KILLER gpa. You graduate again, near the top of your class!! You're excited because the college has pumped you up, made you believe that the degree will magically open ALL KINDS of doors. You hold a masters degree in Philosophy with a specialization is Religious Studies. Who can beat that?? Your bachelors is in History. So armed with those degrees, you utilize the Career Services area of the university. You submit countless resumes. You go on several interviews. Nothing. Not one call back. Not one offer. 6 months go by. Nothing. You're working at your old highschool job as a waitress to make ends meet until that big offer comes along, which you know will be any day because EVERYONE told you so. Then one day you open your mail and almost pass out. Remember those student loans? Well, the government wants their money back. You almost have a heart attack because you cant afford almost $1000 a month!! You dont even make that much!! So you panic. You call your mom and sister. They are stunned but offer little in the way of help or advice. So you call Sallie Mae and cry and dont know what to do. They tell you if you are on food stamps you can get a hardship deferment for your loans. But you make to much to get food stamps. So they rework your loan payment based on your income and HAPPILY tell you they can reduce your payment to $500 per month. WHAT?!?!?! Thats over half of what you make every month. You tell them you cant afford that, and they proceed to tell you how they can and will garnish taxes, wages, etc... if you dont pay the loans back. You hang up the phone depressed, defeated, and wondering why the hell you got a damn philosophy degree to begin with.

    This is a true story. It happened to my cousin's bestfriend. So I can see how the loans can be enticing. Especially if you dont see any other way to "live the American dream." You have to get a college education in order to succeed, right? ANY degree is better than none at all, right? So while I will never understand why someone wouldnt question the price of a particular degree if it seems way to high, I can see why so many people are drawn to student loans.
  10. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    Remember that people often finance not only tuition but also living expenses and indirect incidentals, and of course textbooks and other more direct incidentals, through student loans.
  11. NMTTD

    NMTTD Member

    I know that. Read the rest of my post.
  12. I honestly don't see how the parents allow things like this. Her mom cosigned on the loan and now is taking out life insurance on the daughter..."just in case". I understand wanting your child to go to college but "c'mon man!!!" At the end of the day a person is going to do what they want but that doesn't mean you have go with what they want.
  13. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    I know you know. :) Just worth remembering, among a bunch of distance learning types who generally don't organize their lives, including personal finance, around being students the way traditional students may tend to.
  14. NMTTD

    NMTTD Member

    I forgot to break up that huge paragraph. I meant to go back and do it after I finished it and then I forgot and hit submit. lol And there's no option for me to edit it, so it may be a bit painful to read. But its still good.
  15. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Yep. I've seen it more than a dozen times. This "is" the story of >75% the students in our CC's culinary program. The saving grace is that they are "only" borrowing the $5600 loan for the first year (our drop out rate >80%) but they've paid their $1200 tuition and pocketed the rest. The reward (cough) if you make it through all 3 years is $17k debt that you get to repay at minimum wage.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2012
  16. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    It can be hard enough for people to fight the messages their culture – including peers, including families and senior role models too – often sends on many levels to do obviously hazardous things.

    Add up all these supports, and all the explicit and well-meaning institutional supports, for a message like "work for your independence, your career, that the family you come from will be proud of you, and that you and any family you form will be well provided-for, by going to a prestigious college," and the weight of this pressure is staggering.

    An eighteen-year-old is NOT stupid for believing and acting on the message that going to a good college is important.

    Yes, most of these students would be very well served to look further beyond the traditional, conventional way of going about this; to question more; to shop more critically especially for price; to weigh community colleges, state schools, distance learning, and tests for credit more highly; to weigh opportunities that would provide creditworthy training and/or tuition reimbursement, including the military, more highly; etc., etc.

    In a community like DegreeInfo, we can take a lot of these things for granted.

    But we shouldn't be a cult about it. We shouldn't think of people as stupid or morally lacking or so on for following patterns strongly, strongly reinforced through society, at the broadest, macro- levels when the president and the opposition candidate for president speak at a continuous string of universities and say much the same thing about the value of what they're selling, and at the most intimate, micro- levels when parents take their kids on a campus tour and they go back and tell their grandparents and their friends and no one ever stops to thrust a trend piece on college debt, and an old copy of Bears' Guide, in their hands and tell them both about the coming apocalypse, and the better way.

    These people are doing what their cultures value – what our culture values – at its highest levels. And they haven't been reached with either the warnings, or, and this is important, the actionable alternatives, the way those of us who hang around something like DegreeInfo.com obviously have.

    The culture is going to have to change.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2012
  17. I don't think the issue is going to college. It's the cost of attendance. There are plenty of "good" (depending on how one would define good) colleges out there that won't cost a person 120k. Most of these stories I have read involved small, private universities. For me, a good school is a school that is good for me. That's a school that will help me get done what I want in life, not necessarily what people/groups think is good.

    Personally, I might be somewhat biased because not to long ago I was in this person's shoes. I too wanted to go to college and felt the pressure of "college is the best thing happening". Instead of going to college fulltime I joined the Air Force. For some that's not an option but there are still other options available. Personally, I have to fault the parents some. Most 18 year-olds probably don't have a true grasp of the effects of borrowing such amounts. That brings up a whole different issue though.
  18. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    I'm not sure I understand your comment. I stand by my assessment that the people in this article made stupid choices. They might have been made out of ignorance or laziness (failure to research their degree), but they are still stupid choices.

    The 38 year old woman who had $100k in debt said she dropped out because she couldn't borrow any more money. Nobody would lend her anymore. Thank god! Her major was Business Administrative with Human Resources for $100k?!?!? Drop out, wash out or graduate, $100k for this degree is a stupid choice.
    Wanda McGill | LinkedIn

    I think anyone in the washout thread who had $100,000 in student loan debt with no degree who was majoring in business admin, would admit they made some stupid choices.

    How long will it take someone to repay $80,000 to $100,000 for BA degrees with entry level salaries of $30k? Try 20-30 years, if ever. They could not even afford the interest.

    I remember a radio talk guy named Clark Howard 10+ years ago said never borrow more than 1 year's entry level salary for your degree. He said there were some exceptions like doctors. Very sound advice.

    "He noted that even as funds for higher education were being reduced, Mr. Kasich and the Republican-controlled Legislature eliminated the state’s estate tax, which will cost the state an estimated $72 million a year. "

    It's not costing the state anything, it's saving tax payers.

    As a tax payer, I don't want to subsidize the people in this article.

    "Denise Entingh, 44, dropped out after two quarters at Columbus State Community College because she didn’t want to wait any longer to get into the nursing program. So she signed on at Hondros ... which costs more than three times as much as Columbus State.[/U][/I]"

    People nowadays have no patience. Six months does not seem that long to wait to possibly get into a better program for one-third the price. Could she have applied to more than one RA nursing program? Could she have applied earlier?

    If she comes out as an RN only owing $45k in student loans then I would agree she is the best off of the bunch. Hondros is very expensive and has only ACICS accreditation. The non-RA Associates Degree program is 2.5 years and costs $54k. Then, if they pass the NCLEX exam they get their RN license. Hondros has a 78% passing rate (Ohio average is 85%).
    Hondros College Nursing Program
    Hondros Nursing Financial Aid FAQ
    Ohio NCLEX Passing Rates By School

    :stooges: :lmao: :bsflag:
  19. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    You see these people as victims and I see them as making bad/stupid choices in life. I've made many stupid choices in life. Some were more painful then others, but they were my choices regardless if they were based on faulty input from others.

    I agree that society/school is not preparing kids for the real world. Kids are being taught political ideology instead of the facts of life. There are many high school classes (foreign language, art, music, gym, study hall, etc) that I would classify as less important than personal finance and preparing for college.
  20. iheartlearning

    iheartlearning New Member

    This is quite a blanket statement. I have a bachelor's in HR and, although I didn't pay $100K for the degree, I did finance the bulk of it and am repaying student loans. I will concede, however, that I already had experience in the field when I embarked on the completion of my degree and, as such, am now in a senior level role where loan repayment doesn't way heavily on my mind. So perhaps some would say I am the "exception to the rule"...

    Anyhow, I actually agree with Jonathan Whatley that the responsibility for these "stupid choices", as jam937 has labeled them, is a shared one in this particular case. I personally feel that it is incumbent upon advisors to share Department of Labor job growth statistics, earnings potential, and the like with high school seniors and college freshman, let's say, before they select a major. Why? Well, to answer, I'll use the language of education, psychology and research because, as academics, I think that's something we can all grok to. According to sociocultural theory, youth learn from a "more competent other" (usually, that refers to adults). We, the "more competent others", owe it to our youth to provide them with complete information about the college major and career path their choosing and with, what Jonathan called, "actionable alternatives". I'm not making this stuff up that the culture at large shares responsibility for the "stupid choices", to continue using jam937's term, some of our youth make. See http://fdslive.oup.com/www.oup.com/pdf/elt/catalogue/0-19-442160-0-a.pdf or, for a lighter treatment, see Sociocultural Theory - What Is Sociocultural Theory

    Sigh... What a sad world we'd live in if no one understood the language or art, or of music, or just another language period. To quote something I've quoted before (that comes from here: From Graduate School to Welfare - Graduate Students - The Chronicle of Higher Education):

    "Imagine that, a society in which there is no one who understands the language of any other country--will have to outsource all those UN interpreters (and if your company does business in China? Tough! None of your STEM graduates have learned Mandarin, much less Cantonese). Imagine a society in which no one knows history. Oh wait, Orwell already did that. He called the book 1984. Imagine a society in which there are no trained journalists (increasingly the future we are already facing), in which no one has learned to read critically and write clearly and persuasively (rather like many offices now, though there are still a few who can cover for the incompetence of the whole), in which no one knows anything about human psychology (so much for Marketing departments in our major corporations), in which no one knows anything of art or politics or human cultures at the macro, much less the micro level. Oh wait...like too much of the American population today." - michaelbryson

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