The best fix for excessive student loan debt is better information about colleges and costs

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  • thunderbolt7 DUTCH JOHN, UT
    June 29, 2014 1:58 p.m.

    Colleges & Universities have no accountability for the product they are selling, education. They take student's borrowed money and often provide an education in a dead end career. Furthermore, lenders gladly pass out money (loans) to hopeful & gullible students, knowing they (students) can't bankrupt out of the debt when/if the education proves to be valueless. This is a no-lose business scheme abetted by greedy politicians who made it happen.

    If Colleges/Universities and lenders were accountable for the product they were selling, then you'd see drastic & quick changes for the better. Until then, unsuspecting young students will continue being devoured by the education monster.

    Public universities and for profit schools both participate in the education scam.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    June 18, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    I was talking with my niece about how she will pay for college. She is going to work and save. She said she won't take a student loan because she knows that people are spending years to pay them off.

    I supported student loans years ago, but loans shifted the supply-demand curve. People who wisely don't want to take out loans are now excluded because it is too expensive. So apparently student loans were not a liberal or progressive idea. It has now become a regressive idea which is keeping people from rising out of poverty.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    June 14, 2014 4:22 p.m.

    American Fork, UT
    "The best fix for excessive student loan debt is prevention. Students working before, and during their school years. Respecting and appreciating what they've been given. Living frugally, taking transit, choosing schools where they can live at home. And come spring, no lavish vacation. That's work time."

    -- Yes, true for White middle class students. Poor people and minorities are bombarded with ads from so-called colleges that want their aid money and loan money. All you need to do to learn this is watch daytime TV in many cities.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    June 14, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    One of the few times I agree with Mike R. but he didn't need to throw any type of Constitutional argument into the mix here.

    Face it. If you borrow money for college pay it back. Oh wait a minute. Banks were bailed out during the last financial crisis right? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were bailed out as well? Oops. My bad. Kids: borrow as much as you want because your elders have done a bad job of molding good behavior for you. We have only ourselves to blame.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 14, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    The best fix for excessive student loan debt is prevention. Students working before, and during their school years. Respecting and appreciating what they've been given. Living frugally, taking transit, choosing schools where they can live at home. And come spring, no lavish vacation. That's work time.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    June 14, 2014 12:05 a.m.

    The worst of the student debt comes due to the heavy promotion of for profit colleges that have, for years, taken unqualified students, solely to gain the aid money.

    I taught at 2 of them myself -- minorities were herded in, and urged to apply for loans and grants. These were not the type of student who would be swayed by more Government information.

    Most of the worst of these so-called colleges are owned by republicans with great influence over Congress. The greatest need for more information is for Congress to get the message not to prop up these thieves who are pretending to run "colleges".

    June 13, 2014 5:25 p.m.

    "That average loan amount is higher than the average expected starting salary of someone with a bachelor’s degree."

    $15 an hour for a bachelors degree? o to Seattle, you can flip burgers and earn that much.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 13, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    We do NOT have the resources to invest in the individual. All duties of the Federal Government are enumerated in Article I, Section 8. All other duties are to be left to the States or to the People, according to the 10th Amendment. In no case, does the Federal Government have the right to tax the people to pay for college education. Those who refuse to read and comprehend the Constitution may disagree, but that only shows that either they would not read the Constitution or that they cannot comprehend the English language.

    If a citizen incurs debt while getting an education, that debt is his responsibility. It is not the responsibility of the other citizens of the United States. Passing responsibility to some "rich guy" is a favorite ploy of the liberals, but there is no Constitutional justification to do that.

    When a citizen has graduated High School, that citizen is deemed competent to understand the basic concepts of debt, of revenue, of cause vs effects. If a citizen cannot or will not handle his own debt, he has only himself to blame.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    June 13, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    @Esquire: The reason education is so expensive is all the money we are throwing at it through subsidized loans and grants. All that cash is inflating the price. Doubling down on these government subsidies is just more of the same and will result in still higher tuition and higher student loan debt. It's a vicious cycle that benefits educators at the expense of everyone else. You didn't address the issue of moral hazard, but it absolutely applies here just like with banks. If I'm a student, why would I not take out the maximum loan, live a great life in college without working, then avoid working some more after graduation, pay 10% of my income for a few years and then let the taxpayers pay the rest. That's what Obama is encouraging people to do. It's almost as insane as bailing out rich bankers.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    June 13, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    A better way would be to raise the minimum wage so that students take on less debt.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    June 13, 2014 11:40 a.m.

    @Kindred. I am in a skilled trade and I advocate to every person who wants to get into a trade not to.

    Here are my reasons not to go into a trade. Typically tradesmen are treated poorly by their employer. You will always have to travel for work because you are always building your self out of a job. Construction is capital and labor intensive and is either feast or famine.

    Our current unemployment system does not work for construction workers either. You can expect to work the full year only during the best of times and you can expect to work very little during the down times. Of course people would just say get another job to bridge the gap but in reality who wants that type of lifestyle? If I have to keep getting a non construction job during the down times, then I should just get out of construction all together and avoid the headaches.

    Of course a mass exodus of skilled tradesmen will only cause cost to rise and projects to be delayed.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 13, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    @ Invisible Hand, this isn't crying over spilled milk, as you say. It is saying we have the resources to invest in our people. It is saying our priorities are messed up. It's about burdening our young people with debt that will decrease productivity for decades to come, while lenders profit. Today's higher education environment is far different now than when I went to college. I was able to work and get through my undergraduate program with no significant debt. Things are very different today. Paying for tuition is an investment I am willing to make, as long as there is satisfactory academic progress. Maybe ask students to give something back. This won't create the problems you claim. But if we had priorities on education rather than war and war profiteers, we would be better off as a nation. Yes, the war money is spent (but not paid for - and you cry over taxpayers getting stuck with the tab!) At least with investment in education, there is a long term return on the investment. We can and should do better, rather than keep on doing the same thing over again.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    June 13, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    Bail out?

    Looking for a lower interest rate is a bail-out?

    Capping the monthly payment @10% of monthly income is a bail-out?

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    The article brings up many great points that actually reinforce the need for student debt relief. If Mitt Romney had proposed this as president, I suspect that the editorial today would have been strongly in support of it.

    "More information," as the writer put it, is helpful. But it doesn't help anyone with a loan originated before 2007, does it? Furthermore, any amount of additional "information" will not negate the fact that the decline of Utah state funding for higher education is the reason for higher tuition and fees here in our state. I suggest we place the blame on: 1)the legislature for spending so little on education and 2) the conservative media for prioritizing government spending on new global military interventions over student loan debt relief.

  • Kindred Mesa, AZ
    June 13, 2014 9:31 a.m.

    I think one of the problems we are missing here is that there has been an over-emphasis for the past 30-40 years on college education. We are all being told that the only goal is college, but I have known many people of special genius who do not do well in a traditional classroom setting. They have a lot to contribute, but they are not judged according to what they can do in the world. Everyone is being judged according to what they can do in the classroom.

    I am concerned that, within the next few years, there is going to be a severe lack of the craftsmen needed to build and maintain infrastructure. We need good plumbers, good carpenters, etc. and these jobs should require apprenticeships, but not college degrees. Being a loan officer or a police officer or a salesman or an exterminator should not require a college degree.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    June 13, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    @Esquire: Stop crying over spilled milk. Those wars are a sunk cost. Most of us can agree that the money could have been better spent. But going forward, continued government subsidies for students only will only cause the spiraling cost of college to go higher. Students don't benefit from that and neither do taxpayers who will get stuck with the tab. At some point we have to look at moral hazard here, just like in bank bailouts. If we bail out students, then there is no incentive to borrow wisely. Just like with banks, we privatize the benefits and socialize the losses. Heads they win, tails the taxpayers lose.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    June 13, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    I"ve met a number of people who for example wanted to become a medical assistant but were put in a much more expensive program that put them through the M.A. program plus a CNA, pleobotomist etc and they end up in school for 1 or 2 years with 20k to 30K in debt for jobs that pay IN and Out Burger or less wages. Often they end up working in a call center instead. The pitch was much more for the benefit of the for profit college than the student.

    Information is power and if a school and student receives thousands of dollars in taxpayer guaranteed loans, we absolutely should be collecting data for the benefit of informing future students and policy decisions. Some data is available now, but it needs to be much more complete and provided to students up front. Do we want tax payers on the hook for example if we find a high default rate and that 5 years after graduation 90% of massage therapist graduates are doing something else?

    Lets keep track of short and long term default rates for specific majors, specific colleges, graduation rates, if students practice in the field they majored in etc.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 13, 2014 7:44 a.m.

    Amazing how you can find a way to take a shot at the Administration for trying to do something and address a serious problem, after lots of neglect by the opposition party.

    Check this out. For less than what we have spent annually, on average, in Iraq and Afghanistan, we could pay the college tuition bill for every student in the U.S. I think I would rather make that investment than waste it like we did.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    June 13, 2014 7:36 a.m.

    College education is the United States should be very much like public schools. If a person wants to extend into a more professional field then a government assisted loan at a very low interest rate. The loan would be repaid as an additional tax from the barrower and would be paid back in twenty years.

    If we can give away BILLIONS to countries that hate us then the least we can do is educate our children to create a better future!

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    June 13, 2014 6:47 a.m.

    More information may not be the only needed solution, but it would certainly help.