Comments about ‘Drowning in debt: More students in debt and at higher rates than ever before’

Return to article »

Published: Sunday, Oct. 9 2011 9:00 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
St. George, U

College is possible to get through without debt. I am on my 3rd year and I have yet to borrow a single cent. How did I do it. I was in the military so I get about 1,500 from the GI Bill, I have worked and I get grants. Of course I am 29 so it has taken me a while but I will graduate without debt at about 30-31 years old.

Montesano, WA

Well Lets see? Take out a loan you know your not going to afford that you can not ever get rid of unless you pay it off. Going to a over priced college taking a major that is never going to get the return on investment you put in to. Not smart people! Wake up go to a community college pay for it as yo can. The way this generation has been sold a bill of goods is down right beyond crimnal. Not every person need collage the goverment needs to stop subsidizing higher education 100 percent. do a way with loans. when schools money dries up then they will lower the cost. when it it free to the school by the government they will jack the cost right out the sky.

Provo, UT

To paraphrase Marge Simpson, "Graduate students aren't bad people, they just made bad choices."

Let's give our sympathy where sympathy is due...and that certainly isn't anywhere near Columbia University.

Mesa, AZ

I agree with Dadof5sons. I do not think getting a degree that pays nothing from a school that charges that much is stupid, and I do not feel sorry for her. This is another program that is well intended, Wait until next years rules about student loans come out now that Uncle Sam is the only game in town, unless you want a private loan.


Re: dadof5 sons
The unemployment rate for college graduates is significantly less than for high school grads.
One of the main reasons college tuition has increased significantly for students is because state govts have decreased their funding. Diplomas at the top schools-like Columbia-often do translate into more/ better employment opportunities. The US can't compete in job markets where wage rates are a fraction of the US rate. The future of the US lies in having a highly educated populace. Already, enrollment rates for graduate school are down.

It is a shame so many young people, who are willing to work hard, are accumulating so much debt in order to get a college education. This is exactly backward of where we should be.

Taylorsville, UT

From what 'goldfever' has said patriotism does have some benefits. But the US is not the most patriotic country anymore and serving their families and friends and country with their lives is not an option. He is one of the few and one of the brave who have earned the right to make his claim.

Education serves 3 pruposes:

1-It keeps people out of the job market, at least as job seekers stuck with only find part time limited employment that is not counted as employed.

2-Loans feed the financial industry with continual loans since the losses taken in the housing debacle and failures. Banks keep giving loans but no one is paying them for over 20 years so they are becoming a problematic financial problem. While they were in school prospering with more debt the job market kept getting smaller and drying up.

3- College students are provided a second chance high school education they didn't get the first time while they were enjoying the fun and football games. Many schools in Utah cut back on education subject matter and it didn't matter if they learned or not, the schools fixed the data for federal funding.

M. Matchette
Syracuse, Utah

The standard of living is decreasing every year the dollar is devalued and prices rise in response. This had made the ROI in higher education horrible by comparison just 20 years ago. Now couple this with a disapperaring industry base in our country, wages intentionally stiffled (and in some cases, lowering), and I have to ask, just where do students intend on finding a job? With the very entity that created the mess? This whole thing is playing exactly how the establishment wants. Stay out of debt and avoid risking your freedom and selling your soul for thirty pieces of silver...

Kissimmee, FL

"It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense" Robert Green Ingersoll

new york, ny

Student loans will be the next "bubble" in America. Just as in the housing bubble that burst, we had overvalued investments (homes) combined with access to seemingly unlimited funds to acquire them (irresponsible mortgage allowances). Now we have inflated education costs, with access to practically unlimited debt, much of the time provided by the government. I live in NYC and am always shocked by the number of people who go to Columbia or NYU or other prestigious but hugely expensive universities and rack up enormous student loans to study social work or anthropology, or other subjects that will not provide the return on investment they will require upon graduation to repay. And then the individuals are angry about it. It was as if they never understood their problem until graduation. You can find them all down participating in Occupy Wall Street. "Someone needs to pay my loans! I was genious enough to get into Columbia, but not intelligent enough to make a personal financial life plan!" Boo-hoo. Our true problem here is a system that provides almost unlimited debt access to a generation that feels they are entitled to spend it and not repay.

Springville, UT

First, a student needs to ask whether 20-26K a year at a private university (Columbia) or 41K per year for a three year program for pharmacy studies (Roseman), is worth the debt, when a state school can offer much the same education for a lot less money.

I, too, used the Army College Fund to get through college debt free. When I went to graduate school, I went through a program where I could pay off each year's tuition by the end of the year. Was it a private university? Nope. It was UNR, and I don't have to mumble the name of my graduate school like some who pay ten times what I did for less of an education than I received.

My children know college is what I would like for them, but they also know they are going to be responsible to pay for it and they can have just as good an education at community and state schools. They also know that what they do for a living is not the thing which defines who they are and money does not equal prestige or respect.

  • 6:53 a.m. Oct. 10, 2011
  • Like (6)
  • Top comment
Gainesville, VA

This entire article makes me want to scream! First, there is no such thing as "good debt". Sorry, I don't believe in having a high fico score that only comes through borrowing money. Also, the only people that go bankrupt or go into foreclosure are those with loans so any debt is bad debt. Second, I do believe that most of the problem is that there is "unprecedented access to debt." It is just silly that so many young people are not taught how painful it will be to pay off a ton of student loan debt. I also find Hartifield's attitude to her debt disheartening. She is OK with being broke her whole life because she is doing something good? Why is she OK with being a slave to a lender for 30+ years? The only education that probably requires loans is some type of medical field but even with that it can be done wisely. I find that more and more of these articles on debt and money place the people as victims when they really aren't - they are the cause of their own problems.

salt lake city, utah

Argue if you will about the causes of educational debt and the wisdom of taking on an enormous debt, but to argue against higher education and especially advanced degrees is to sign the death warrant of America. America is all ready losing the globlizatin war, and the biggest cause is we have lost our educational advantage. We are being out created almost everywhere in the world, and while losing unskilled jobs to other nations is a tragedy, losing skilled jobs like we are now is absolutely stupid and self defeating.

Unless America figures out how to educate our young people beyond the high school level without crushing them there will only be one solution to our survival..imigrate the talent. So, point out the flaws all you want but unless we fix it we're doooooomed.

Allen, TX

"Lots of students are taking on debt, but have no real sense of what they are doing or how they are going to repay their debt," Barnhart said. "They would be better off taking time off and working and deciding what they want to do."

Amen. Or work 3 jobs during college, which is what I did. Yes, I borrowed some. $12K, paid off over the 10 years after college.

Wasatch Front, UT

Student debt has been rising for many, many years. The primary drivers:

1) Benchmarking of salaries/benefits: Salary and benefit costs for faculty and administration have been rising faster than the overall economy for years. Each school benchmarks themselves to other schools who are also benchmarking, and it quickly becomes a spending spiral that is a race to highest cost. Combine this with the post-secondary school education complex's complete inability to become more productive in educating students, and you a recipe for soaring tuition and debt.

2) States have been unable to match spiraling costs noted above with new subsies due to economic stagnation. Rather than restrain costs, boards have chosen to hike tuition. It is student vs faculty, and the students have mom and dad to help and are viewed as inelastic demand.

3) Students are living MUCH better than 20-30 years ago and have more expensive transportation (cars, motorbikes, better bicycles), more expensive technology (smartphones, tablets, computers), eat out more, newer clothes, live in more expensive and better equipped housing, and spend more on recreation and entertainment.

Students who avoid #3 will still face higher costs because of items #1 and #2.


I read a NY Times article in May of this year, that also pointed out the debt of College Graduates averages $20,000 for every college graduate.
After graduation, the students cannot find a job that is aligned with their college education working at Wal-Mart food service, and bars.
The statistics point out that 23% of recent college graduates are not employed, 22% are working in jobs that do not require a college degree, and 55% are working. They question the benefit of a college education.
The 800 Multinational Corporations laid off 2.4 million in the USA in recent years and since 2009, have hired 2.9 Million Overseas, Offshore.
A bill in Congress designed to stop Multinational Corporations Tax Incentives to Offshore jobs was voted down by a block of 44 US Senators in September 2010, all Republican.
Jobs are available in India for College Graduates with wages 25% of US wages.


I read an article where recent college graduates are having a tough time finding a job after graduating.

According to the statistics, 23% cannot find a job, 22% are working at jobs like Wal-mart or fast food, and 55% are working.

Students unemployment might be only 5% of the total unemployment number 24 million, but at 22% unemployed as recent college graduates is really is a very high number that certainly was not anticipated when they started college and took on debt.

Wasatch Front, UT


I am grateful that my parents did not have your attitude. While I agree that students can help with the cost of their education, and that state schools and/or local colleges are a great option for many, many students, I DO NOT agree that putting children out on their own for college is prudent or even moral.

When a student is capable of greatness, giving them the opportunity to learn from and with the best and brightest is a sacrifice worth making. It benefits the student and society. And to be frank, your local college or state school will not generally generate the best performance or opportunities, all else equal. I don't have room here to share statistics that support this position, but suffice it to say, the data is clear.

Your attitude is a bit old-world, and has not adapted to the reality that today's job market is exponentially more competitive than the job market you entered 20 or 30 years ago. The best opportunities are going to go to the students who performed the best, from the best universities. To think they can do this without big parental support, financial and otherwise, is naive.

N. Salt Lake, Ut

This article is quite depressing.. currently, I am enrolled in graduate school (first semester) and the thought of how much debt I am going into is disheartening. I have made a plan to pay of the interest (and principal if I can) before the loans go into affect, but the thought of this debt is almost unbearable. To add to that, my wife has about 10k in student debt that we are currently paying off.

Having said that.. I have a great job and I have considered dropping out of grad school because I don't want that financial burden for the next 10-30 yrs. I made it through my undergraduate debt free because of working and scholarships (not available to me in grad school), but by dropping out, it doesn't help the U.S. economy, but it will help my mental, emotional, and financial (short-term) well-being. People like me are stuck between a rock and a hard spot because we want the education, but also understand the financial burden.. what are we to do?

  • 8:28 a.m. Oct. 10, 2011
  • Like (5)
  • Top comment
Bountiful, UT

And that's why I work: to help my children go thru college without getting into debt. They work during summer saving every penny and I help with the rest. Yes, I am not dressing the last fashion but I am pleased to see both thriving at school. I know of another friend who graduated suma cum laude in U of U without any debt. How did he do it? working for fedex part time and getting tuition reimbursement. On the other hand, I know of a couple who live in a nice condo, mom stay at home taking care of the baby and dad goes to the U. She admitted they have been living of student loans but "when he graduates, he will be able to pay them off". I don't think so lady....

David B.
Cedar City, UT

To quote a line from Rodney Dandgerfield "Stay at Home Kids let your parents Worry About it"!But if you really want to thank somebody all you have to do is look at Washington! All they know how to do is spend spend spend! There has to be a way to make them spend within their means and that also goes for everybody else! Lawyers,Doctors,Politicians and so forth. How is the youth of today are going to survive the onslaught of the greedy ones?

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments