Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for The Washington Post, and Josh Mitchell, correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, talk about how student loans have become a big political issue, and the weekend's news.
GOTTA DOLLA IN YO POCKET WELL YOU SHOULD GO TO MICKEY D'S $20.00 IN YO WALLET WELL YOU SHOULD SUPER SIZE N GET SOME CHEESE BUT ME I GOTTA LOTTA MONEY IMA WALKING MAN BANK
Ed, politics aside... you're truly dumber than we all could have imagined!
One factor is cultural: instead of looking like a monk's cell, as it used to, campuses look more like country clubs.
Also schools have to make their campuses appealing to compete for students.
If there were more students there would be less competition, and the fixed costs would be spread over more people. So we're back again to abortion: if there were more young people, education would cost less, in the way the economics works.
Something is fundamentally wrong with even *offering* to loan a young person scores of thousands of dollars. Without any life experience, kids are incapable of even understanding the meaning of these large sums of money. I know I was.Like the caller said, to a young person there is no significant difference between $20,000 and $50,000---it's an inconceivable number to begin with, and therefore not within any realm of reality.
@The Truth from Becky
You're almost correct - my inability to identify irony and sarcasm has been a handicap for as long as I can remember. My apologies.
I heard a caller suggest students work their way through college. My son's high school math teacher, who probably went to Rutgers in the early 90s, worked at Sears during the summer to pay his tuition.Do you think a student could earn $12,000 during the summer at Sears to pay their tuition at Rutgers today?
...c'mon, kids!!! Enough of those dreams! Dreams don't pay the bills, banking® does!!!
And, banking® is such an incredibly noble profession!!
Look at what incredible achievements bankers have made for the world eKonomy™!!
No one needs music, art or literature...or history, really!!
GE...think you're clever pointing out the obvious? Do you think I am not aware of those things? You must have failed your entrance exams if you think so.
@The Truth from Becky:
". . . if they do start forgiving loans going forward, there probably needs to be compensation for those of us who paid off our loans responsibly . . . "
Gee Becky, you probably have trouble with the "pattern recognition" portions of your academic tests.There was no such compensation when the mortgage bailouts took place; there was no such compensation when the financial industry and automobile industries bailouts were conducted. There does not seem to be any such measure in the bailouts that are planned (Obamacare) for the health insurance and healthcare industries.
If you are not the direct beneficiary of government subsidies and largess, you better be satisfied with the psychic benefits you derive from such programs.
My loans were consolidated at 9%. And btw, up until the economy tanked, I was paying $1000 a month to try to speed repayment. I agree with Jeff in Park Slope: The easy availability of loans encourages tuition inflation. The same phenomenon occurred with health care costs when employer-paid insurance became the norm. Anytime you separate the payer from the person opting for service, you remove any incentive to keep prices reasonable.
If I had it to do again, I would still have gotten the degree - because the education was great and the brand has value. Until the economy tanked I was doing great, making very good money, paying back my loans, saving for retirement, contributing to charity and paying lots of money in taxes. And I didn't begrudge it at all.
People fall on hard times. That's the reality of life.
I would just like to say that professors, at least in science, work VERY hard and usually long hours. They have to design, direct and monitor the research projects of graduate students, undergrads, and post-docs in their labs. They have to write grant applications to provide the money for said projects, which includes money for salaries and health benefits of the students and post-docs and, often, the salary or partial salary for themselves. They have to write papers about their research and get them published in reputable journals, or else the funding will disappear. In addition, they have to teach 1-2 classes per semester (more if they don't do research), mentor undergrads as to class selection and choice of major, serve on faculty search committees, and help design (or re-design) science courses offered by their department. Add to that serving on grant committees for the NIH, attending scientific meetings and reading scientific papers in order to keep abreast of work in their field. Theirs is a difficult job and their pay is commensurate with neither the hours put in nor the value to society. Everyone wants their kids to go to college - why do they resent paying the professors who do the teaching? If you think college is too expensive, you're right - but the increasing costs of tuition are NOT going to professors' salaries. Check out the salaries of the administrators if you want to know who is getting overpaid - and that includes the ridiculously inflated salaries of university presidents.
So we raise the collective IQ of the USA 1940-2010 by probably 20 points and what do we do with this increase? Better coffee shops and sports TV? I mean, what about a great goal for the country like 50% renewable energy or nationwide mass transit? Can't help but think that progress away from Oil is held by some large political lock-in.
I'm 54 years old and went to art school and got 2 graduate degrees in art. I took out some modest loans at high interest rates, and now I'm buried in student loan debt after 20 years of low income employment. I now owe far more than I originally borrowed. I worked all the way through undergraduate school, and I went through grad school almost entirely on scholarship.Do I regret it? No I don't.
But I'm less interested in my situation than that of my students. I teach art in community college now, and I have a lot of students taking out loans on top of scholarships. All of them are working, some are taking a full load of courses while working full time. Some work 2 full time jobs while taking care of children and family, and going to school full time. Some of them are veterans. I have some very talented students with a lot of passion for art. On the one hand, I want them to be able to find employment that will permit them to pay back those loans. On the other hand, I hate to see talent go to waste. I hate to see my students lock themselves into something they really hate for the rest of their lives because they have to pay off debts.
The loan situation dramatically affects what goes on in the classroom. While it certainly affects the majors students choose (the sciences these days are joining the begging ranks with the arts and humanities), it also affects how all subjects are taught and studied. My old profs complained about how students were becoming stenographers, that their students weren't nearly as bold or curious as students in their days in college. Part of this was the inevitable disappointment in younger generations that goes back to the Garden of Eden. Another part of it is that people who are looking at graduating with massive debt loads are going to be far less willing to rock the boat. Students now are much more likely to see their classes as hoops to jump through rather than as opportunities to learn. I can't say I entirely blame them. My old profs went to school on the GI Bill and could afford to pay their tuition with part time jobs, something that is unthinkable now. For them, higher ed was not only a ticket to a career, but an adventure. Now, higher education is a stress filled high stakes ordeal to win entry into the professional class. Students and families pay high tuition with the expectation that they are buying a ticket into the middle class.
The caller thinks a 401(k) from a fast food service job will reach a million dollars in the time it takes to earn a master's degree? Or does he think you can put your whole salary into a 401(k)? You can't; there's a maximum percentage of the salary you can contribute, & your employer may or may not match some part of it. There's no way it'll reach $1 million in 6 or 7 years. Besides, you can only borrow (not withdraw) up to $50,000 for tuition, & for some colleges that may not be enough, & some 401(k)s don't allow borrowing (according to ehow.com).
Maybe 1 approach could be to take more than 4 years to get your BA or BS & work while you earn your degree. Don't know how practical that is in today's job market, though.
Student loans are a modern form of indentured servitude.
We need to organize a student debt strike. We will start by getting a large number of people to pledge they will stop paying their loans through an online petition. Once we have reached a certain number of people, or a certain amount of principle, we will stop paying our loans. If just a few people stop paying their loans it will only hurt the credit scores of potential debt strikers. But if enough people stop paying their loans it will harm the banks enough that they will renegotiate terms. We might need to target individual banks that hold a large amount of this debt. When we renegotiate we can ask for a reduction in principle and create a dialogue to create a better way to fund higher education.
I don't think the people who criticize student loan forgiveness understand what student loan debtors face. Many of us got very practical degrees, but still face a job market where we can't find jobs that allow us to pay down our debt at a reasonable rate.
I'm a little sick of callers and the guests talking about how you have to be "smart" about student loans and your career choice. What is toxic and wrong about student loans is not the career path or the ambitions or dreams of a student, its the loan system and its high interest rates. That's what needs to change. Like the caller Beth, I took out about 40,000 of loans at a crazy high percentage to get an MFA in writing from an ivy league school.
I now work in the arts as a writer and performer. I do what I love and what i am good at. I work very hard and make around 40k a year (is that not a decent living?) but still, there is no way i am able to pay off my crazy student loan debt that has TRIPLED since then. If there was no interest rate, I would be halfway through paying off those loans at this point. I think what needs to be addressed is the impossible interest rate, and also the un-negotiable manner that these lenders refuse to let people try to pay back their debt in smaller increments.
Another possibility: what if there was a way to do service for a year or two to pay off debt? I would gladly spend a year or two picking up trash on polluted beaches or roadsides, or working at some school or outpost. Just a thought.
I am 31 and pursuing an engineering degree at NJIT. The caller who said that his kids are taking 12 credits and have 110 hours outside the classroom to work are obviously not taking any challenging courses. I am currently taking 13 credits and school work outside the classroom eats up all the free time I have, save the 24 hours I work a week. If he can say that 12 credit hours only takes 12 hours of time in a given week he needs to either look at the student, the degree they are pursuing or the school they attending.
By the way, if not for the GI BILL, I would have had to take out student loans for my degree, even to attend community colleges and state schools. Who has $14,000 laying around each year to pay for college?
Why not just eliminate all arts, language, literature and liberal arts studies, all together??
Really, what's the value of these kinds of educations???
Just eliminate them.
@Jeff Park Slope -
Do NOT focus on the rate of overall inflation, FOCUS on the rate of growth of the ECONOMY. Since 1986, GDP has risen from $4.425T to $14.5T. Colleges (like unions) have kept their eyes on the prize. It is the rest of us who have been focusing on inflation and watching our wages going down.
This is a problem because college tuition now outstrips the middle wage earners ability to pay it.
Kolumbia University® has a $8 BILLION endowment!!!
And, they can't "afford" to pay their regular "adjunct" professors a single benefit - ZERO ACCESS TO HEALTH "INSURANCE".
This is what you $50+k/yr tuition is paying for!
Chrisda - regulate the loans? SALLIE MAE is now run by the govt. Don't you get it? No one regulates the government, only the market responds to market forces. Govt threw money at housing also with FNMA and its regulation of banks with respect to housing loan portfolios (CRA).dboy - taxpayers need to pay for you to study things that will not enable you to be productive? You hold in contempt the things that generate the wealth that you want to consume? Why should we do that for you? If you don't plan on generating income, then figure out some other way to learn about how the US is such an oppressive place.
The usual MORONS weigh-in with the typical drivel.
Thank you, Martin.
Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia University also sits on the board of the New York Fed!!!
YOU CAN"T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!!!
Colleges are trying to be everything to everyone now, probably because everyone wishes they could go to an Ivy League or other prestigious college instead of just getting the training and education they actually need. So a college like Parson's which I went to for a specific reason twenty or so years ago has been busying itself spending all their students' parents' money setting up schools abroad or expanding theiir programs, and building other buildings to accomodate the increased student loads they've been solliciting. If they'd stayed small and focused, they could instead have just been successful in their own right, while perhaps other (small) colleges were established to take in other students. Colleges would be more democratic if that were to happen that way because tuition would not need to go up, and other competing colleges would have to keep their prices down to stay in the market. It's been the exact opposite instead.
There is a petition going around asking people with student loan no to pay their loans if there are 1 million signatures.
I'm actually one of those students that worked through school - and thank goodness I did. It wasn't full time work, but it was part time jobs - work study & internships. I left school in the summer of 2001 and entered the job market post 9/11 (which was rough). Unlike many of my fellow graduates that year, I was able to get a lot of interviews because I had work experience on my resume.
Of course, no one is even bothering to mention that the U.S. is the only developed country that imposes such punishing debt on its citizens who seek higher education.A situation not unlike the healthcare situation in the U.S.
C'mon Brian, where is your criticality? How can you not respond more strongly to the recent caller's comments about class facetime versus outside of class work, and the fact that professors conduct research (including book writing, music performances, scientific research, etc.) that benefits both the field and their students. I have student who take 6 and 7 classes and work 20 hours a week. Do they turn in good work? Are they sleeping in class?
So (as you like to say) the question is "Has the Congress passed a bill that took money from Obamacare before?
I really don't care if its routine.
2nd question: why don't we just drop the interest rates for "professions we really need" (i.e., engineering, primary care medicine, etc. . . .
I think America is becoming more and more like China. Students should be smart and focus only on jobs that pay well? So much for free thinking or following your passion... decline of an Empire.
NYU™ and Columbia® University land grabs - that's what your expensive pays forQQ
That, and Lee Bollinger's $2 million (MILLION) salary!!
Schools is a full-time job. It's not just time sitting in a classroom.If your school isn't demanding then your school is worthless.And you will find this out when you on interviews.
This discussion is appalling to the extent that is seems to be centered on the idea that a college education should "pay off," as if it were a job ticket. I guess that's what you get when you invite someone from the WSJ to focus the discussion. I'm disgusted.
Karen Tumulty is wrong when she says that the reason medical students go into higher earning specialties is because of student loan debts. This is a much repeated falsehood. There have been a number of studies on this and it has been found that students with the most debt are more likely to go into the lower earning primary care specialties.
30 years ago Rutgers tuition was $1,170 per year. Minimum wage was $2.20/hr. It took 600 hours pay for school. RU now is roughly $14,000. Minimum wage is $7.25. 1,931 hours. Working your way through school is no longer achievable. Why do banks get to borrow the money at 0-1% from the Fed but charge 8, 9 or 12 % to the borrowers.
Someone please mention that one of John Boehner's leading source of campaign cash for years was the student loan industry when it was run by private banks. Don't expect much sympathy from him on this issue. Especially, since Obama removed the banks from the student loan business.
We need to realize that a university and Airline corp are the same. We would like to thing that HIGHER EDUCATION a honest venture, but at the end of the day a college employs financials officers who try to maximize the income for the university. They give discounts in the form of SCHOLARSHIPS, and in effect try to fill in all the "seats" at the highest rate of income. I could never understand how some students spent $120K to become teachers with potential starting income of $40K/year.
We should ONLY pursue MBA's and BANKING careers because that's the ONLY way to afford a decent education.
It's an INCREDIBLE Kulture™ we live in!!
D_g Bless AmeriKa®!!!
Sheldon and Josh are absolutely right. It seems higher education has become a profit making venture with very little return on product (degree). Student loans need to be regulated as colleges have no interest in job placement post graduation for their consumers. And, I too agree that private college shilling of GSLs is highly suspect.
Beth, is right! Student loans should be able to be refinanced.
It has become that not only are college degrees a talisman for the wealthy, so too jobs?
Dude from Massapequa is right in the $ too.
My loans are paid off. By my banker husband.....
For the caller who has an MFA from Columbia. Is she eligible for loan consolidation at current rates?
an MFA??!! I just spit milk out of my nose onto my keyboard in a laughing fit. Thats a fantastic waste of 60,000. Wonder if she buys art from the guy who smears poo on a canvas and went to community college.
Regarding the caller with 9% interest on student loans, you can usually go through a one-time loan consolidation process to get a lower rate. I'm not sure why no one mentioned this.
WHY IS IT SO FK'N EXPENSIVE!?!?!
To the caller who graduated from Columbia: There is a way you can refinance your student loans, but the current formula uses a weighted average of all your loans. So, if all your loans were issued at high rates, the refinance rate will be high, as well. No savings in that arrangement.
Caller Beth (CANDO on thread)-"Columbia gave me way more than I asked for" in student loans. (Who forced you to take it??)Ah, another innocent victim of an evil (leftist) university !!! What a nation of whiners.....it's the school's fault!!!!
The harrowing discussion of this caller's student loan experience shows how far off-the-rails our nation has gone.
We are heading individually and collectively for a crash and one HUGE hangover.
Please mention that if you take income based repayment, deferment, etc, that the unpaid interest is capitalized, which is part of the reason balances increase. Not only do you not pay enough, but your PRINCIPAL increases.
Not so sure how I lucked out, and I paid for college on my own. I went to community college for 2 years, then a 4-year state university for 3 (I wanted an extra year to work on a thesis). I worked two jobs out of high school in the summer, paid my community college tuition in cash and only took out only Stafford loans for my state college years - I worked a summer job to make up the rest of the tuition and room/board that my loans did not cover. I graduated in 2003, consolidated all four of my Stafford loans in 2005 at a ~3% interest rate. I left school about $15K in debt and now have it paid down to almost $7,000 with a monthly payment of only $80 (I overpay $100 a a month). I should have everything paid off at that rate by the time I'm about 40.
Lucky Jimmy Fallon, Brian's given him all the props for a performance at a Correspondents' Dinner that he didn't even attend!
I blame a combination of our own societal expectations and policy manipulation. On our societal expectations, the last few generations have gotten comfortable with the notion that we will always grow economically, standards of living will always get better, and everyone can have a high-paying white collar job. That is not going to work in the long-term. Ideally, we will eventually find a functional equilibrium that tends to all members of our society. Many companies won't even look at candidates that don't have a higher ed degree which means college has become a required experience to even get a foot in the door. That means the colleges are on the happy end of supply-demand.
On policy manipulation, we have a much less progressive, much more complicated tax policy, making it difficult to assess whether taxes are at a reasonable rate. Marketing psychology is used to manipulate voters into thinking that we must choose between two candidates that are both indebted to wealthy special interests. Large corporations concentrate power. And technology eliminates the need for many manual labor jobs, forcing people into other labor markets. This lopsided power on business and government fronts works to put workers, especially those new to the labor market, at a disadvantage.
Say it Cando: "artsy" and not really bright.
Banks love student loans because personal bankruptcy does not cover them; the bank can still come after you!
@Jeff...yup thats it.
It's the GOP *not* the President that has been blocking a return to job growth after the Great Recession. The GOP realize that without blocking action on jobs, their small chances of being elected to the Chief Executive office would completely evaporate. So, the GOP Senate filibusters early and often to keep the Americans underemployed.
I think junior year should be free - We can cover it by building one less aircraft carrier. This may sound like joke but it is not. One year of college costs the same as building one new aircraft carrier. We need to rationally build down our military. We need to rationally educate more cheaply.
Jeff, you're spot on. Increasing tuition is no different from the increasing cost of "private" healthcare - the government blindly funds 50% of the health system via medicaid, medicare, and the VA.
If you are an exec in either industry and you are guaranteed money from the government, why won't you increase your fees?
Brian, the comedian at last weekend's dinner was Jimmy KIMMEL, not Jimmy Fallon!
It was Jimmy Kimmel....NOT Jimmy Fallon!
I have about $80K in debt from studying Architecture. A professional degree requires 5 years (it's not a program that can easily support employment while going to school) and unlike professions that assume you make up the cost of schooling in a future salary, architects do not make nearly as much as doctors, lawyers, etc. There is a culture of unpaid internships and high competition keeping salaries low.
I'm one of those with impossible loan burdens. I went back to school (Columbia) for an MFA in writing. I didn't think I'd be able to afford school at the time because I barely had enough money to pay my phone bill, but - lucky me - Columbia threw loan money at me, more than I asked for. For a variety of reasons, I didn't have an adequate appreciation of the burden I was taking on (student loan interest rates were 9% at the time). I graduated with $52,000 in student loan debt and a degree in creative writing. I started teaching writing and adult literacy as an adjunct for a couple of different programs and freelancing. But I wasn't earning enough to pay student loans back. So I got a corporate job. For years I was paying my loans, sometimes doubling up on my payments to try to get through the debt faster. But the last 3 years, were financially disastrous and I had to take deferrals. Now, 17 years after graduating and having paid as much as I could, I owe $67,000.
This is a hot button issue for the election year...but if they do start forgiving loans going forward, there probably needs to be compensation for those of us who paid off our loans responsibly, without a deferment but with a part time job, sometime 2 part time jobs.
The whole thing is a racket. The government should stop providing student loans to PRIVATE collages, unless the major (science engineering etc) is in a field that can make repayment possible. The cost of tuition will start dropping.
I have about $50K in undergrad and grad loans from SUNY and CUNY colleges. I'm an artist living in NYC and my loans have been in economic hardship forbearance for three years due to my underemployment. The biggest issue for me is that my interest continues to accrue while my consolidated subsidized govt loans are in forbearance because of my economic hardship. That's outrageous.
I graduated from college back in 1995 with a modest amount (by today's standard) of $25,000 in student loans. My student loan monthly payment was over $600 per month and I only made $26,000 per year! At the time I felt like my only option was to refinance. I refinance with Salle Mae into an 8%!! loan which I am still paying off. I now deeply regret this choice I made because 8% is predatory!
Please......playing audio clips of Nancy Pelosi lowers the I.Q. of this sgment by 40 points.
Why are tuition costs escalating so much faster than the overall inflation rate? Maybe because so much federal money is available for student loans - more demand, tends to increase prices. Teacher salaries rise, new buildings are created, new gyms, diversity administrators, no competition for the student dollar.
"College tuitions soar each year, advancing far in excess of the inflation rate. The overall inflation rate since 1986 increased 115.06%, which is why we pay more than double for everything we buy. On the other hand, during the same time, tuition increased a whopping 498.31%" - source: http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_articles/Education_Inflation.asp
I hope you'll address the issue of "older" adults who are still paying off student loans. I'm 49, graduated in 1984, and still have 11K in undergrad student loan debt (my original loan amount was 10K) my interest rate is locked in at 7%, and I have paid THOUSANDS off over the years. Due to a need for forbearances because of periods of unemployment I now owe more than my original loan amount and I repeat, I have paid off thousands.
These loans are also for living expense. right?So students are loaned money for a night of drinks. Or 4 or 5 years of drinks?
I think its all the fault of a culture of "Reganomics", where Ivy League Schools are considered the trend setters of all things education. Yet top tier of schools like Harvard have endowments that rival and surpass the funds of small countries!Any university below those tiers are caught in a vortex of trying to be those like schools. Financially, they'll never make it, and academically, how can they compete when all they are doing is digging into debt? Therefore the tragedy is that schools think they must lower the quality of their education in hopes that they can increase their volume of business.
Don't the enormous expansion projects that so many colleges and universities are undertaking add debt, and isn't that passed on to students through tuition increases?
people should go to colleges they can afford.
Low loan rates = price inflation. Bailout = Moral Hazard. Easy money will only accelerate the increasing costs of education. Bailing people out is unfair to those that made prudent choices.
The real cost of living must be reflected in the measures of inflation that drive monetary policy. Education, medical care, and housing should be included in CPI. Only then will the real cost of living in America be made clear to politicians and addressed by policy makers.
I don't like this student loan forgiveness movement. Basically all the people who went to affordable schools instead of hanging out in Manhattan are getting screwed over. Before they forgive student loans they better invent a time machine first so we can all go back and redo our early 20s then...and what about the students who took scholarship at state schools instead of going to the most expensive school possible? Is the government going to make those guys whole? Because it seems they're going to get shafted. Ever sine the 60s American activism is always so drenched in privilege it's more alienating than capitalism sometimes. I want to see jobs not bailouts.
Please ask about the revelation in the WSJ last week that a whopping 53.6% of college grads 25 and under are unemployed/underemployed. Shouldn’t students be demanding some economic competence in the White House and JOB CREATING GROWTH instead of easy pandering on loan interest rates by Obama? Are students that easy to fool?
And on that…..besides the obvious vote-buying purpose………Ask if this student loan bailout/subsidy proposal isn’t really a wealth transfer from lower working class people to middle class college students?
….and shouldn’t Obama be working on the economy (or the genocide in Syria) instead of lame appearances on late night comedy shows?
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