Comments about ‘In our opinion: Restructuring student loan repayment as equity instead of debt’

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Published: Monday, May 12 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Bountiful, UT

How is it that Canada tuition is significantly less than here? How is it that a few decades ago, a student could work during the summer and with this money pay tuition and books for the following entire year? Something fundamentally bad has happened. Rather than find new ways to pay this highway robbery, why not roll back what ever it was that was done that caused this to happen?

Salt Lake City, UT

Yes, but a student still faces a payment stream after graduation. I'm afraid this is a distinction without a difference.

With either student loans or the scheme you describe we are almost getting back to indentured servitude. To get from Britain, Germany, or wherever in Europe the indentured obligated himself to 7 or so years of servant status in the colonies. Presently students obligate themselves to servitude to financial institutions, or in your illustration venture capitalists, for a period of years - sometimes long.

Thanks for your creative thoughts, but the student debt bomb shows the need to restructure the entire production process, including the education process. I know you get tired of hearing us socialists say this, but workers need to own the means of production and the means of education. We need worker owned and managed enterprises, and faculty owned and managed higher education - get rid of those corporate CEO style administrators in education.

Your solution might work for a while, but it is not different enough from the status quo.

London, 00

Surely this is overlooking the obvious solution - some sort of graduate tax. It would do exactly the same - reward those who benefit substantially from their college education, while not burdening those who will go into non profit or low paid work with huge debts. And then the monies raised would go back to the government, for the benefit of the education system - rather than benefiting private companies. Win-win, from my point of view.

high school fan
Huntington, UT

It is sad that this much debt is racked up over a students time in college. If the amount any individual could borrow in any year was capped then universities would feel inclined to stop raising tuition every year to where now nobody can afford it. Education should be more reasonably priced.

Chicago, IL

I appreciate the thoughtful presentation of this important topic.
The name of the Chicago company is "Education Equity, Inc." rather than
Equity Education.
Andy Davis, CEO

Sandy, UT

And yet everywhere you go colleges and universities are building new high-tech buildings with all of the goodies as if a nicer building means that you are getting an education. The cost of tuition keeps going up much faster than inflation. Perhaps if we focused on education instead of architecture costs could be a little more reasonable.

Houston, TX

My experience with state and community colleges has been very favorable. The professors there are often closer to real world experience, and they tend to be more caring for the individual student.

Maybe the top employers should be a little less elitist about which universities they hire from. You can find bright, talented, and dedicated workers who aren't rich or heavily in debt.

Salt Lake City, UT

In my not so humble opinion, we seem to forget that "higher education" is a a business. The president is the CEO, he/she is hired to raise money. The provost or similar office actually runs the academic end of the business, the president raises money to run the operation. As such it is in the industry's best interest to enroll as many customers (students) as possible regardless of academic acumen or talent or probability to successfully complete the course of study. Dumbed down courses and vague majors help keep marginal customers enrolled.

Government is part of the ruse, as they loan the money to pay for the cost of seat time and earn interest on the debt.

If you must go to college, have a plan, work part time and take longer to graduate with less or no debt. The Armed Forces provide GI Bill and chance to earn college credit or in some locations attend local colleges.

Vocational training provide good skills, faster entrance to the work force, and satisfying and productive careers.

Just want an education? Get a library card, enroll on-line for specific courses, attend community college classes as able, read books.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

Indentured servitude...

Makes me reflect on Bible stories where the protagonist works 7 years to obtain a goal only to have the goal posts moved...

In one area of our economy...

Collecting money off of services performed by another human being describes a profession most people would want to avoid...if all costs.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Maybe we should make the wealthy students (those who worked through college) pay back the loans for the people who are struggling... to get them used to life after college and the constant struggle for "equity"... (Google "Equity theory" - Wikipedia)

Maybe we could also have them share their grades. Then people with more A's than they need could be forced to give them to the students who didn't get any A's. In the name of "equity"...


"equity theory" is an OK concept. But if you have to knock somebody else down to accomplish "equity"... is it really BENEFITING anybody??

I mean after med school... you want to know which students actually performed well and got the best grades... right? Not just across the board "equity"...

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT


Re: "And yet everywhere you go colleges and universities are building new high-tech buildings"...

I happen to know that most of those fancy buildings are built with donations from private people (not money they got from the legislature). SOME basic building is done with State funds set aside for construction... but MOST of the new buildings are only constructed when they can get some major donations (mostly from those evil 1%-ers, but also from you and me).

I have relatives involved in soliciting and managing these donations... so I have a feel for how significant they are, how appreciated they are, and that they are being used for great benefit to students and the community.

The buildings are NOT an evil thing. And almost no tax dollars go into them. They are a gift... and a thing to be happy about.

Mchenry, IL

College costs too much. You borrow money. You pay interest. It doesn't need to get more complicated. It should not be tied to earnings. In fact that is a main problem with student debt. Colleges giving degrees in fields that won't lead to jobs. And kids havingt o quit before they are finished having a massive debt burden without the income to pay it back.

Gross minimum wage for 20 hours a week is $7,800. Taxes, insurance, transportation and living costs and donations have not been considered. Most public universities cost more than this in tuition and fees and books per year.

Smithfield, UT

Even if the buildings are "gifted" to higher education, someone (tax payers) still have to pay for the utilities each and every day -- heat, electricity, etc. There are a lot of people who buy big houses and then can't afford the utilities to keep them going. Are we surprised that this could happen in higher education too? Getting a student loan? Then the monies should go for tuition and books -- nothing else. PELL grants... no accountability at all. Loans must have been made too easy for the student to obtain to have so many in such terrible debt. When certain professors are making more than the President of the school, something is wrong.... Isn't there a topping out on pay -- just like school districts?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

We should be teaching our children young (yes, even before college) that DEBT is not our friend, and something to be avoided whenever possible (there are a few places where it's not possible to avoid).

I listen to Dave Ramsey and his "baby steps" program where he counsels people who are in debt, and people call in who are trying to get OUT of debt.

I'm always amazed at how many of them started down this road in college... and have never been able to get out, and it just snowballs on them (and that is why they are calling his show).

His first questions are:
- How do you owe...
- How much student debt do you have...
- How much do you make...

So often he has to point out that they borrowed more $$$ in college than they could ever pay back in that career. (ie borrowing $600,000 to get a teaching job, etc). That's not smart. They are in college... they should know math. If they know math... they should be able to figure out this won't work... But people keep doing it!

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Unless we equate a university education with a trade school education, we miss the point entirely. We send our children to a university to get a broad education, so that he or she can see how all things interrelate.

Too many people think that graduation from a university is equivalent to graduating from a trade school. They think that their student has learned all that he needs to know to get a job. That is not correct. Unless a business pays a university for courses that enable a student to know exactly what that business wants a graduate to know, a student only has a basic understanding of his field.

I have talked with many "computer scientist" graduates who thought that they were well qualified for a job when, at the very best, they were qualified to learn how to learn.

Equity or debt doesn't matter if someone needs to borrow money to attend a University. He will be paying someone for a long time. Working full time all summer and part time (or full time) during the school year) would eliminate his need for debt or equity funding.

terra nova
Park City, UT

Years ago we heard about a family that had set up a family "perpetual education fund." A grandfather with vision had set it up.

He told his kids that they could go to any school they wanted and that he would help them if they needed help. But that each dollar he gave them would have to be paid back. Not to him. But rather, to a fund that would help their younger brothers and sisters go to school. The money they pay back will then be available for their children.

We implemented that idea. It has worked. Interestingly, our children have taken less money because they do not want to pay it back. Mostly, they've managed to work it out with scholarships and jobs. Our implementation has not been perfect. It is an evolving project.

So far, two have graduated without personal debt. Two more are in school now and have no debt.

We will likely leave whatever assets we have at death to that fund.

Kearns, UT

If a college student plans ahead they can get out of college with very little debt. The key is planning, then following that plan, even with unexpected challenges along the way. For instance, (1) planning before 7th grade for the future (2) scholarships (that is why you start planning before 7th grade) for even extracurricular activities. (3) possible pell grants that cover tuition and even some expenses (4)consider transportation and living costs before accepting at a particular college. The first two years can be at a 2 year community college (5 Do your homework on available government welfare programs such as food stamps, housing, medicaid, etc.--if you make too much money, you will not qualify. Sometimes it is better to live on less for a few years so you do not have to live on assistance for many years after college, especially if you do not get your dream job.

E Sam
Provo, UT

No. Better idea: cut defense spending in half, use the savings to provide every high school graduate a free college or trade school education.

Bountiful, UT

A big reason tuition has gotten out of control is student loans. It's very similar to what happened with the housing bubble. The government decided that everyone needed to be able to buy a home. Because of that, almost anyone was able to qualify for a loan, and it drove housing prices way out of proportion to their real value. In the end, people were stuck with homes not worth anywhere near what they paid for them.

The government also decided that everyone needs to be able to have a college education. Because of their easy loans for college students, the price of tuition has been driven way out of proportion to the real value. And this problem is worse than the housing bubble because students can't default on the debt like many house owners did.

The government needs to get out student loans and let the private market compete for them. Tougher standards for getting a student loan would hopefully push the Universities to adjust tuition to real world pricing again. Unless something changes, student debt and tuition will just keep spiraling out of control, and the bubble will eventually pop just like the housing bubble.

Providence, UT

I think if this proposal were implemented, we'd see every humanities student who struggles to find a job after graduation rush to sign up. It won't cost them much, if anything. Business, engineering, and science students would be forced to participate at some point to cover the tuition funds lost on those who can't get jobs. Another form of income redistribution.

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