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Letter: Living with debt

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  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    Educator...
    My daughter paid all Tuition, fees, parking passes, Lab Fees, etc...

    I paid for books, transportation costs, housing, food... that is it.

    Most Americans families can afford to do this regardless of their income, because they do all this for the most part anyways. These kids live with their parents and most of the less paid families do most of this for their kids.

    For the poor, there is Pell Grants and other programs that can be used to help pay for their education.

    my daughter did pay for her education, she was still required to help around the house because in order for her and her sister to go to college, both my wife and I worked (I held down two jobs).

    My point is this... if you want it bad enough, you will find a way to accomplish it without the government having to bail you out.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    @Larry Jones

    You make excellent points. As you proceed through life, bear in mind that maintaining a modest lifestyle can be an important part of having peace of mind and the ability to help others financially. You can get by just fine without a McMansion, for example.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    To "The Educator" you are confusing. I don't think you are reading my posts very well. You seem to be reading into them what you want.

    I said that tuition and books can be paid for while working a minimum wage job. The you argue against that by saying that working a part time job you can earn more than enough money to pay for tuition and books. You don't make sense.

    I was quite clear that for a person living at home and working a part time job that a college education is very attainable without going into debt.

    Can you make up your mind?

  • Utah Soldier Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 7:49 p.m.

    I have 4 kids that have graduated or are in college. 1 Private university, 3 public universities (with 2 being out of state). Due to scholarships, their savings from work, and other funding sources available to all, they have/will graduate without student debt, and I will have not had to pay anything.

    It can be done with proper planning.

    Nevertheless, I will state that there are some significant barriers - the one that frustrates me the most are books. Knowing a few college professors, it is clear that their gravy train for live is to get a textbook published, and they update it every couple of years. If colleges could reign in the textbook industry somehow, it would be a great start.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 7:00 p.m.

    My parents were poor.

    I worked 2 part-time jobs,
    joined the Military,
    saw the effects of war for myself,
    and listened to "Liberal" professors for 6 years.

    With that sort of exposure to world,
    living outside of the Utah "bubble",
    and seeing for myself what I was taught at the University,
    -- It changed my hard conservative heart into a bleeding heart Liberal.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    Aug. 7, 2014 5:46 p.m.

    Its not even about debt. Its society placing too much emphasis on getting a degree that doesnt even matter. There are only so many jobs in the four college degrees that will actually get you somewhere. Education, Nursing, Engineering, Law and Medicine. I guess thats five. But there is an inflation of those degrees. Do you really need a degree in business to start your own business? Come on. If you dont have vision or innovation, a business degree wont do anything for you. There are people that major in philosophy, drama, art and communication and those kinds of degrees go nowhere.

    Its the emphasis on getting any kind of a degree that will most likely get you nowhere that is the real problem. That emphasis is scamming gulliable people out of money they couldve used for starting a business.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 5:03 p.m.

    It was pretty clear to me that, "The rest? Goes onto the student loan debt..." meant the same as, "The remaining student costs not covered by their income ends up adding to their amount of total student loan debt."

    But then, perhaps my LDS Business College, University of Utah, and Western Governors University education has endowed me with a greater-than-average reading comprehension skillset . . .

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 4:51 p.m.

    It is my understanding that 100% of students at Harvard are on scholarships that pay all tuition and book expenses.
    something to think about when there is talk of ending Pell grants and student loans.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    "Goes onto the student loan debt"

    The rest of the costs. See, you need to read the entire statement:

    "Most students will earn enough from their jobs to pay for tuition, fees, and maybe cellphone or some food. The rest? Goes onto the student loan debt..."

    So it's pretty obvious that I was saying the rest of the costs, bills, etc are paid for by student loans. If you wish to argue about this further then we're done here.

    "You didn't think about the rest of my statement. I said that with a minimum wage job a person in California can afford tuition and books."

    But they can't. Sorry. Lets do some math! Min Wage in California is $9 per hr. If you work full time that's $360 per week. Times by 4 weeks: $1440. Times by 12 months out of the year: $17,280. That's without considering taxes too.

    If Tuition is just $6,000 (as you stated). That means that a person has $5,000 for the entire year to pay for fees, textbooks, insurance, food, room and board... Without paying taxes.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 4:32 p.m.

    To "The Educator" since you can't read what you have written, you said "Most students will earn enough from their jobs to pay for tuition, fees, and maybe cellphone or some food. The rest? Goes onto the student loan debt..." you either mean that students pay for student loans or else didn't communicate your idea clearly. You decide which.

    You didn't think about the rest of my statement. I said that with a minimum wage job a person in California can afford tuition and books. If they want to live away from home all that is required is to work full time during the summer and not part time.

    Your Estimates form UVU are also wrong. For an in-state student they estimate a cost of just over $15,000/yr. Even that assumes a lot of unnecessary expenses. If you really wanted to, you could easily cut that down to $12,000/yr. That means that a person could work 20 hours a week during the school year and 40 hours/week during the summer and graduate debt free with an entry level telemarketing job.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    "With another $800/yr for books, a person could afford to go there while earning minimum wage (assuming they live with rent free), and if they live away from home if they work full time during the summer they could earn enough for living expenses."

    800 per year on textbooks? How long ago did you go to college? 1960?

    I just spent $200 dollars on a used math book off of amazon.com. If I wanted a new one from the bookstore I would have paid $250. Many of my friends spend $800 on just one semester of books. And that's shopping online!

    "For example, California has 26 universities that are less than $6000/yr for tuition"

    Cool story. But the bottom line is how many of those with resumes from "cheaper" universities get thrown away in favor of those with flashy resumes that show that they got their degree from an "expensive" university? You see, due to failed Reaganomics, the competitive over jobs is fierce. For many job openings there are hundreds of applicants. Those with degrees from lesser known schools are thrown out (despite oftentimes being more qualified than those with flashy degrees from expensive universities).

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 4:17 p.m.

    I don't agree with RedShirt that it's "EASY" to stay out of debt while going to school... but I agree it CAN be done. You don't need a rich daddy. It takes commitment or necessity... then you do whatever it takes, even if it takes working nights or dropping out long enough to accumulate the cash needed to proceed with your education.

    I think when you earn it yourself.. you actually appreciate it MORE than people who have it given to them (by parents, a scholarship, a grant, or the government).

    I did it (no grants, no scholarship, no loans, no help from daddy). But I did it 30 years ago... so that may not be valid anymore.

    You CAN do it... but it's NOT "easy". Never has been... even 30 years ago. It's even harder now because it's more expensive and banks are willing to loan money to students... There were no banks willing to loan money to students during the Carter years. I tried. Couldn't find a single bank that would give me a loan.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 4:12 p.m.

    "A college student does not have to pay a dime towards their student loans until they either graduate or stop going to school."

    Did I say otherwise? Could you please quote where I stated that students had to pay off their loans while going to school? Part of this discussion is dealing honestly with others.

    "With another $800/yr for books, a person could afford to go there while earning minimum wage (assuming they live with rent free),"

    That's like saying everyone can have beach front property if they were just born to a millionaire family, like Mitt Romney. Who lives rent free? Certainly not the majority of college students.

    At Utah Valley alone, estimated costs of going to school for just 2 semesters is over $20,000 including real expenses (not the free ones that you make up) like food, rent, textbooks, etc. What college kid can come up with over $20,000 dollars and still go to school full time without receiving handouts from their parents and/or going into debt?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 4:04 p.m.

    To "The Educator" for an educator you don't know how things work. A college student does not have to pay a dime towards their student loans until they either graduate or stop going to school.

    The other thing you don't realize is that a student in most places can actually afford a college education without going into debt. For example, California has 26 universities that are less than $6000/yr for tuition. With another $800/yr for books, a person could afford to go there while earning minimum wage (assuming they live with rent free), and if they live away from home if they work full time during the summer they could earn enough for living expenses.

    You see, even in an expensive place like California it is possible to get an education and make ends meet, if you want to.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 2:55 p.m.

    @ Confused

    So in your original post you bragged about how your daughter did things "on her own" without debt. Yet, now you reveal that all she did was pay for tuition. You handed her thousands of dollars. You essentially doubled and tripled whatever she paid in tuition and subsidized her education.

    All she did was pay for tuition (which is a great feat, don't get me wrong).

    But how many middle-class Americans, forget lower-class families, have an extra $6-10 grand per semester hanging around? You paid for her books, her room and board, food, car, etc. That is thousands of dollars that most Americans just don't have right now.

    While most Americans are scraping by just to make ends meet, you were able to give her thousands of dollars.

    See, most Americans don't have that luxury. Most students will earn enough from their jobs to pay for tuition, fees, and maybe cellphone or some food. The rest? Goes onto the student loan debt so that they can have a roof over their heads, textbooks to study, etc.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    ECR: The starkest example of the disproportionate impact of Ivy Leaguers is SCOTUS, where they are all from Ivy League schools, and all but one are from east of the Mississippi.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 2:09 p.m.

    FF41,
    right's war on college students?

    HAHAHAHAHA

    too funny!!!

    where do you come up with this hogwash?

    to listen to you, the right must include the 1% and no one else.

    demographics say this just isn't true

    then you get the clintons and pelosis, who are 1 percenters, and they definitely are NOT right

    But when you talk about keeping people in servitude, you are really talking about those who the dems have made dependent on the government

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    The right's war on college students is well documented.

    They don't want anyone to dare challenge the richie 1 percenters. Demand that they obtain college degrees and saddle them with large amounts of debt! Keep the 99 percent in servitude to the 1 percenters.

    How much longer will we buy this bad Kool-aid?

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 1:40 p.m.

    Tuition cost at the U: 2864.00 for 12 credit hours (full load). About 239.00 per credit hr.
    Mandatory Fees (non negotiable) 434.00

    For a grand total of 3298.00 PER SEMESTER....

    That does not include: Lab Fees Transportation, Books, supplies, food, housing, insurance, or anything else you can think of.

    When my daughter worked her way through school, she stayed at home, used a car provided by me with insurance, I paid for the books (around 800.00 a semester) and I feed her.

    People like ECR mention may not have it as easy if they live in say Rural areas, because they can not simply live at home and go to school. Although at least in Utah, they are putting some satellite schools out in the rural areas for such reasons.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 7, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    Redshirt - Living at home with your parents while you're in college is great...unless you live in a rural community where the college is far enough away to make it not feasible. I finished college with very little debt - because I worked full time in the summer and had a part time job (actually two of them) during school. I was also married for part of my schooling and my wife worked to support us. But tuition for a full schedule on my last semester was $250. That was for a full schedule. Please tell me even the cheapest state school that doesn't charge at least 10 times that amount for college tuition.

    It's not easy to get a degree (and these days a masters degree is usually needed for the best jobs) without going partially into debt. It seems if we want a well-educated populace in order to keep our own industries running it wouldn't be a bad idea for the government to help the situation with finding, regulation of interest rates or whatever it takes for people to get educated without being bankrupt on the day they leave school.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 12:12 p.m.

    To "FreedomFighter41" it is easy to stay out of debt while going to school. All you have to do is work part time during the school year and full time during the summer and breaks. Even with a minimum wage job that should get you enough money for tuition and books. Living with your parents while going to college would help to cut costs too.

    I was able to go through college without debt, and so were my siblings. If you want to go through college without debt, you can do that if you put your mind up to it.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 7, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    Kora - I have no doubt that what you say is true. I also went to a state school to receive my degree in architecture and if I was looking for a job in certain cities in the west and Northwest my degree would be respected by those firms. But there are firms in the east, especially in New York City, that won't even interview candidates unless they attended an Ivy League school. And so you have to ask yourself if you want to work for those firms. Like you, I have never felt inferior to anyone I've worked with who attended a prestigious school. But those stuffy, prestigious firms, who hire only the Ivy Leaguers, get most of the major commissions and so some people are willing to pay the price to get those jobs.

    Another aspect of going to a prestigious program is the networking that goes on and the association you have with other people who are top in their industry. It's a decision that everyone has to make and the more competition in the job market, the more those decisions matter.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    The government loans money to large banks at 1% or less. The loans to students are a minimum of 8%. The great Senator, Elizabeth Warren recognizes that the system is broken and needs change.
    Tuition rates is just one more way in which the poor are prevented from making more money.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    Debt is the American way. And part of becoming a responsible citizen and adult. It ensures people will keep showing up to work, and not quit their jobs.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    "Maverick- A cap on textbook and tuition prices? How about we put a cap on the price of whatever service or goods you provide to limit your income. Would you be okay with that?

    Why is it caps are always okay unless it affects your income?"

    Since when has price gouging been okay?

    And because your heroic activist judges have ruled that bribery is free speech, it has become impossible to break up the monopolies and force publishers to compete.

    If they're going to price gouge then the government needs to put caps on how much they can gouge.

    Besides, maybe it's time for these publishers to sacrifice a little bit too? Rather than buy the 600 foot yacht they should only buy the 500 foot one?

    Why should the 99 percent of us sacrifice so that the 1 percent can continue to exploit us?

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    ECR- You don't need to go to the most expensive schools to get the best jobs. I went to a state school in Arizona while doing some coursework at the community college to save money, and still got accepted to multiple medical schools. I chose a less expensive state school for that as well and it did not limit my opportunities at all. I had med school classmates who had gone to Harvard and Yale and were at the same med school as me with my "less prestigious" education. Many of my med school classmates from our "less prestigious" U of Utah, ended up in some of the best training programs in the country.

    I bet most of the top people in their fields did not go to the most prestigious and expensive schools, or it did not matter. Nepotism matters more than schooling.

    Maverick- A cap on textbook and tuition prices? How about we put a cap on the price of whatever service or goods you provide to limit your income. Would you be okay with that?

    Why is it caps are always okay unless it affects your income?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    After the next revolution, it may be possible to have the equal opportunity of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. But only if we can realize the government of the people by the people and for the people.

    2 bits.

    If I owe $17,614,556,773,206 on the day I die, should I care?

    American is dying. Not because of the debt, but the debt is a good indicator.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:40 a.m.

    "We are wasting so much money, both in government subsidies and students with loans. I went to class with too many students whose sole purpose was just to get the degree with as little effort as possible. In other words, they were spending money for a piece of paper without the desire to actually learn much of anything. Tell me why that is worth the money spent?"

    Without that "little piece of paper" they wouldn't have the jobs to begin with.

    I have friends with history and psych degrees working in the finance sector. However, without those little pieces of paper they wouldn't have even been given an interview at these financial firms.

    Those who graduate with 4 year degrees typically earn more than those who don't.

    So those "little pieces of paper" actually do matter. Or you can continue to live in self-denial.

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    The issue is this, everyone should not go to a 4-year college. Prices for tuition are what they are because of demand. The propagation of the idea that everyone needs a college education has been bad for students and the economy.

    We are wasting so much money, both in government subsidies and students with loans. I went to class with too many students whose sole purpose was just to get the degree with as little effort as possible. In other words, they were spending money for a piece of paper without the desire to actually learn much of anything. Tell me why that is worth the money spent?

    Just look at the number of students graduating and working in jobs that have nothing to do with their degree. Again, wasted money.

    The fact is jobs that 50 years ago didn't require a college education can now demand one since so many people are going to college.

    Maverick- When did it become the job of the government to make sure everyone has college paid for? It just further increases a false and wasteful demand.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    So why isn't the government regulating this?

    Why can't the government put a cap on the price of textbooks and tuition? It seems like our students are in need of a watchdog. Where's the government when you need it?

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    @John Charity Spring:
    "Onice [sic] again., the usual suspects have implied that it is the duty of the government to keep them out of debt. In other words, they are entitled to have the taxpayers fund their every want and need."

    Are you related to Don Quixote? I re-read the comments, and couldn't find one that stated or even came close to implying what you are alleging. Care to identify your "usual suspects" and quote what they said that supports your statement?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    So we have $2 trillion to throw away in an illegal war in Iraq, billions more to throw away in foreign aid, and yet we don't have any money to pay for the college education of our own students?

    How does that make any sense?

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    Onice again., the usual suspects have implied that it is the duty of the government to keep them out of debt. In other words, they are entitled to have the taxpayers fund their every want and need.

    This idea is preposterous. No one is owed a debt free existence. Those who spend more than they earn have no one to blame but themselves, and they must live with the fact that irresponsible spending leads to stress.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    It's great to hear someone thinking about this, and realize that you CAN live debt-free. I'm especially impressed that he learned this lesson so young. It only works if you learn it when you are young. Becoming converted late in life doesn't work as well (the debt is already accumulated).

    We should all try to minimize debt. Even our governments and corporations.

    They need to borrow... but they should MINIMIZE I it... and they should only do it if they have a PLAN to pay it off.

    IMO our Federal Government not only doesn't have a PLAN to pay off the debt they have borrowed for us... they have absolutely no intention of EVER paying it off... or even REDUCING it.

    Google "US National Debt Clock" and look at any of them.

    $17,614,556,773,206 and that number goes up by millions every day.

    That's the kind of number you can't comprehend. And you can't pay off... no matter how hard you try. It's depressing.

    And no... one party isn't responsible. CONGRESS (both parties) is responsible for our budget and our dept.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 8:31 a.m.

    FreedomFighter41- Stop Whining....

    My daughter graduated from the U of U without debt two years ago...

    She did not have a rich daddy...
    She did not go to school 50 years ago
    She did go to college.

    What she did was figure a way for her to pay her way through school. It took her five years instead for four, but she worked and paid as she went.

    Now she is debt free (Well except her house she just bought), she is putting her husband through school now.

    There are ways to do it, but you have to learnt to sacrifice.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 7, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    A worthy goal Larry, at the same time remember life is a process.

    Hopefully there does come a point in your life when first of all you are not stressed by your debt (you have confidence it is manageable) and secondly when you are debt free.

    Debt is a fact of American life. Wise debt is the function of informed choices.

    Debt and credit are not necessarily the boogey man, used wisely they can enhance life. Even the most solvent of America's giant corporations use debt everyday. Inform yourself, and practice self governance and you'll do ok whether you wind up as a school teacher or a CEO

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 7, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    FreedomFighter41 - Now turn to a specialty school like Parsons New School of Design in New York City where my son attended. Undergraduates entering this fall will pay $21,038 per semester for 12-19 credits (full time student) or $1480 per credit. On top of that, pay the cost of living in New York City while you attend school and times that by 4 years of school. It adds up, doesn't it. But it's all about the choices we make. No one is forced to attend school at the campus but if you want to land the best jobs, that seems like what it takes. Education costs have exploded in the last decade and are only getting higher.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    Re Larry Jones

    Have you considered the possibility of a temporary second job to speed up the process of your getting out of debt?

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    So you were thinking that Lincoln's famous words about "a government of the people, by the people and for the people" somehow applied to you with your problems? Once and for all the matter of whether the proper function of government is to help its people achieve their dreams or just stay out of the way and be as inconspicuous as possible. The conversation is on.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 7:14 a.m.

    It's more than a conclusion, it's a commitment.

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 6:05 a.m.

    How does one not get into debt with the tuition rates and insane textbook costs of today? I find it interesting that those who criticize people with student loans either:

    Went to school 50 years ago.
    Had a connection (like their daddy was a professor so they were handed out free tuition).
    Never went to school.

    At the university of Utah, you'll pay over $3 grand per semester just for 12 credits. When you take into consideration fees and textbooks, you're looking at $4 grand. How is one supposed to afford that plus living expenses working their min wage job at Walmat?