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Education Businesses The Almighty Buck United States

Student Loan Debt Has Nearly Tripled (npr.org) 364

An anonymous reader shares a report: Recent college graduates who borrow are leaving school with an average of $34,000 in student loans. That's up from $20,000 just 10 years ago, according to a new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In that report, out this week, the New York Fed took a careful look at the relationship between debt and homeownership. For people aged 30 to 36, the analysis shows having any student debt significantly hurts your chances of buying a home, compared to college graduates with no debt. The cliche of "good debt" notwithstanding, the consequences of borrowing are real, and they are lasting. The report paints a mixed picture of how student borrowing has evolved over the last decade, since the financial crisis. There are some bright spots: For example, student loan defaults peaked five years ago and have declined ever since. And repayment seems to have slowed down among high-balance borrowers -- those who owe $75,000 or more. Meaning, after 10 years, they have paid down only one-quarter to one-third of what they owe.
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Student Loan Debt Has Nearly Tripled

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  • 34 / 20 = 3
    • Their math is still wrong but your reading comprehension is too.
      34 / (34 - 20) = 2.4%
      • This proofs that not only prices went up, but quality lowered. If you adjust for quality the price increase is even higher.
        • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:31AM (#54171193)

          I don't think the quality of education has deteriorated at all, rather many students are choosing to get totally worthless degrees because they feel entitled to pursue their passion.

          That said, I'm sure that schools are pumping out better and better art historians, music therapists, and western philosophy majors than ever, but that doesn't necessarily mean that these majors have any actual economic demand.

          I mean think about it: Last time you were pondering your own existence, when did you consider hiring a philosopher to help?

          And the reason tuition rates are going up is because of the increase in the money supply in the higher education system, which itself is entirely caused by the increased availability and ease of acquiring of student loans. And, I know an easy fix: Make it possible to go bankrupt on these loans just like any other unsecured loan. If you do that, watch how basically overnight, lenders will start scrutinizing borrowers more, and borrowers will be thinking harder about borrowing to begin with in light of higher interest and/or collateral.

          • I don't think the quality of education has deteriorated at all

            If you're "afflicted," you wouldn't.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            If you are independently wealthy and looking for self-actualization, then following your passion is a perfect use for college. Go crazy with your philosophy degree!

            If you are looking for a job, then a vocational school makes a lot more financial sense, these days.

            Colleges, of course, want money, so they push the "follow your passion for a happy life" agenda on hordes of students who don't have any money and will need to work for a living after graduating. Example: there are more journalist majors graduati

          • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:54AM (#54171393) Homepage Journal

            And the reason tuition rates are going up is because of the increase in the money supply in the higher education system, which itself is entirely caused by the increased availability and ease of acquiring of student loans.

            That's a big factor. But you're also overlooking that in the last ~25 years, most states have slashed state funding to state universities.
            So all these students in the "second tier" of the system are getting a double whammy. These kids would mostly be from what used to be the middle class as opposed to most of those going to an ivy league school.

            • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @01:46PM (#54172177) Homepage

              And the reason tuition rates are going up is because of the increase in the money supply in the higher education system, which itself is entirely caused by the increased availability and ease of acquiring of student loans.

              That's a big factor. But you're also overlooking that in the last ~25 years, most states have slashed state funding to state universities.

              So all these students in the "second tier" of the system are getting a double whammy. These kids would mostly be from what used to be the middle class as opposed to most of those going to an ivy league school.

              This myth won't die, will it? The funding for state schools has nothing to do with it.

              https://www.insidehighered.com... [insidehighered.com]

              What I've found in the past when looking at long-term trends is that when state funding of universities doesn't rise, they raise tuition to "make up for it". But when the state funding goes up in the next year or whatever, the tuition never goes back down. So we have a ratchet effect.

              State schools are well funded. Like most universities, they're also dramatically overstaffed, with a bunch of burdensome administrative staff members and no more faculty than before. That needs to change.

              My only day job was working at Indiana University. One year they went nuts because there was a big cut in state funding. In reality, the state wasn't raising funding at the same level as the year before. We were still getting more money than last year, just not as much more as they wanted.

              So we were told no pay raises, can't afford them. The morning that I was to talk to my manager about the pay raise I was walking in when I noticed the workers out front pulling up the flowers in front of our building to plant new ones. So when my manager tried to bullshit me about the "funding cuts" I shushed her and said "You know, it's funny, I *hear* about this lack of money, yet on my way in to work this morning I saw that the university is paying some guys to pull up perfectly beautiful flowers and plant new ones. See, if there really was some sort of budget crisis they wouldn't be pulling up flowers out front, because that doesn't help the university. I, on the other hand, do. So, since we're not acting like there's a budget crisis I'll assume it's made up bullshit and I'll be getting a raise this year." Yes, I was a dick. That was my largest single year raise during my four year tenure there.

              I know a thing or two about this subject.

          • And the reason tuition rates are going up is because of the increase in the money supply in the higher education system, which itself is entirely caused by the increased availability and ease of acquiring of student loans. And, I know an easy fix: Make it possible to go bankrupt on these loans just like any other unsecured loan. If you do that, watch how basically overnight, lenders will start scrutinizing borrowers more, and borrowers will be thinking harder about borrowing to begin with in light of higher interest and/or collateral.

            To expand on this, increasing the demand and availability of higher education will increase cost in addition to the deregulation the student loan market in 2005.

            2005 was the year that bankruptcy was no longer an option for student loan giving those lenders a free for all. Why wouldn't you loan to students if the government guarantee a return and the lendee cannot bankrupt out of it? It creates no incentive for lenders to scrutinize who they lend to because they have no risk.

            I wonder if there is a correlatio

          • I agree. As some famous, smrt person said, "What is our children learning?"
          • ...I know an easy fix: Make it possible to go bankrupt on these loans just like any other unsecured loan. If you do that, watch how basically overnight, lenders will start scrutinizing borrowers more, and borrowers will be thinking harder about borrowing to begin with in light of higher interest and/or collateral.

            Let's review the "easy" fix for a moment.

            Given the age at which young adults are expected to seek loan-enhanced education, care to tell me how borrowers are going to scrutinize an 18-year old kid who probably doesn't have jack shit established in the way of credit history, and whose "collateral" consists of a 1994 Chevy shitwagon to secure against a $75,000 loan?

            Perhaps we should just go the route of the housing market and increase the cost of college another 500%. That way, only those rich kids who can af

          • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @12:53PM (#54171841)

            Not quality but quantity. In order to make it today you need a degree in America. This means that a lot of people who wouldn't historically would are going to college.
            Back 20 or 30 years ago. Having a college degree means something beyond a starting baseline requirement. People could get professional jobs with a high school education. Not the case anymore.
            So someone who just wants a decent job will go to college for the paper and not for the education.
            We are using colleges as trade schools and not as higher learning.
            So a lot more people getting into college means higher cost. Where the demand is exceeding supply creating high costs.

          • I don't think the quality of education has deteriorated at all, rather many students are choosing to get totally worthless degrees because they feel entitled to pursue their passion.

            I keep hearing this but does anybody actually have data to back it up? From what I can see with a quick look [newamerica.org] is that half of student debt is held by STEM and Business degrees. Only 8% is for arts, less than half the amount that Sciences have. Arts and All Other are less total debt than Science and Business despite slightly higher individual debts. Perhaps when you said "art historians, music therapists, and western philosophy majors" you meant to add in MBAs, chemists and engineers but forgot

            • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @04:04PM (#54173353)

              I keep hearing this but does anybody actually have data to back it up?

              The report you cite is focused on graduate degrees and debt, but let's also look at actual enrollment in humanities programs. For example, see this study [humanitiesindicators.org]. A few relevant facts mentioned there:

              -- The number of bachelor's degrees in "core" humanities disciplines was at the lowest level in 2014 since 2003, constituting only 6.1% of degrees awarded.
              -- The core humanities had their highpoint in 1967, constituting 17.2% of all bachelor's degrees awarded. That's back when most people got degrees in actual fields of study, rather than generic "business majors." (The shift from humanities to "business" degrees largely occurred in the 1970s and 1980s.)
              -- ALL humanities degrees in 2014 were less than 10% of all bachelor's degrees, compared to 34.6% for all sciences, and 18.5% for business/management degrees.

              So, the percentage of humanities degrees has basically been in decline for the past 50 years (though there was a slight rise in the early 2000s, followed by a more recent decline again). Humanities majors (particularly for bachelor's degrees) don't seem to carry that much more debt than for other fields, so I'm not sure what evidence there is to support GP's assertion that "totally worthless degrees" (which seem to be humanities for GP) are a significant contributor current problems.

              Oh, and then we have the question of whether these actually ARE "totally worthless degrees." Once again, let's look at data from actual studies [aacu.org]:

              -- In 2013, the unemployment rate for Americans with a bachelor's degree in the humanities was 5.4%.
              -- Across bachelor's in all disciplines, unemployment was 4.6%.
              -- Unemployment for those with only a high school diploma, meanwhile, was 9%.

              Oh, the next question will be -- "But surely they don't earn anything to pay off their debt!?" Once again...

              -- Median salary for bachelor's degrees in humanities in 2013 was $50,000
              -- Median salary was $57,000 for all bachelor's degree holders
              -- High school diploma holders, median salary of $35,000

              Bottom line -- humanities degree graduates may have a slightly harder time finding a job than your average bachelor's degree holder, and they may earn a bit less, but calling such degrees "totally worthless" is simply not supported by the evidence. They certainly are significantly better than having no degree at all in most cases.

      • Re:New math (Score:4, Informative)

        by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:19AM (#54171071)
        "34 / (34 - 20) = 2.4%"

        Say what?

        34 / (34/20)
        34 / 14
        ~2.4
        240%

        And it's not clear what you think your formula represents. The GP was correct, as far as the average debt figures given in the summary. The tripling of debt is mentioned in the actual article, and refers to total student debt.
    • Re:New math (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dayze!Confused ( 717774 ) <slashdot.org@ohy ... m ['ao.' in gap]> on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:18AM (#54171063) Homepage Journal

      From TFA:
      In the absence of more targeted grant or scholarship programs, more people are taking out student loans, and they are borrowing more. All that borrowing adds up to a total of $1.3 trillion, nearly triple what it was a decade ago.

      Yeah, TFS didn't go far enough down in TFA to substantiate the TFT.

  • the New York Fed took a careful look at the relationship between debt and homeownership. For people aged 30 to 36, the analysis shows having any student debt significantly hurts your chances of buying a home, compared to college graduates with no debt.

    I'm glad public salaries were paid to come up with that study.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      I'm glad public salaries were paid to come up with that study.

      Me too. Information is good! It's tough to look at public policy issues with no data (unless you're an orange shit-for-brains windbag).
    • Wow, how surprising that folks with tens of thousands in student debt have a harder time buying a house compared to their piers with ZERO student debt! I never would have guessed that! /sarcasm

      • Thank God someone else gets it.

      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 ) <ross@NospAm.quirkz.com> on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @12:16PM (#54171559) Homepage

        ... have a harder time buying a house compared to their piers ... I never would have guessed that! /sarcasm

        Honestly, no sarcasm, I am flabbergasted that people who own piers don't own houses, but that their piers do. Or is that not what you were docking aboat?

      • There are a tremendous amount of crap degrees. Quoting Mike Rowe "People come out of College with a 4 year degree in basket weaving and 100K in debt, then wonder why they can't get a job." People have been duped.

        People have been told that any degree is a leg up on a High School degree, which may have been true 30 years. Then Schools decided to expand the number of degrees to be sure that any attendee, even those that didn't really try, could still get a degree.

        Banker: I see you have lots of college deb

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:09AM (#54170967)
    The problem is special case cared out for student loans - in US you can't discard them in bankruptcy. This should be ruled unconstitutional. If you could discard them in bankruptcy, lenders will be forced to re-introduce risk analysis back into the system. Some loans will be declared too risky based on costs and job prospects for graduates from specific program at a specific institution. This will put pressure on universities to keep costs in check as it will be again possible to price out 'consumers' out of the system.
    • I agree with you that student loans should be dischargable in bankruptcy but exactly what part of the constitution makes them "unconstitutional"? Where is the right to declare bankruptcy enshrined in the constitution? Instead of expecting the judiciary to fix this problem, you should be putting pressure on the source of the problem, the legislative and executive branches of government.

    • I mean if lenders want a virtual guarantee of repayment ok, I can see arguments for why student loans are a somewhat special case... but then with that needs to come minimal interest. I'm talking like half a point, maybe 1 point, over the federal discount rate. You want a government enforced lifetime repayment guarantee fine, but you get a government enforced minimal rate of return for it.

      If they aren't ok with that, they are always free to lend normally at whatever rate they choose, but subject to normal b

  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@@@evcircuits...com> on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:11AM (#54170991) Homepage

    You failed math.

    $34,000 from $20,000 is only a 70% increase, not a 300% increase. In those 10 years, the value of $20,000 went up to $27,600, so it's really only a 25% increase.

    A 25% increase in student loans during a recession is pretty well within expected range.

    • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:17AM (#54171055)

      The headline is referring to the total amount of student loan debt, which isn't totally related to the per-person amount of debt at graduation -- for instance, if more people are going to school and taking out loans; or if people are taking longer to repay their loans, the total amount of debt will increase even without the initial per-person amount increasing.

      Of course, the way that the headline and summary were written were obviously going to cause confusion. Too bad that apparently stories are posted by retarded baboons here on Slashdot.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sinij ( 911942 )
      Disagree. 25% increase in student loans, means 25% increase in revenue for education providers. This is non-trivial growth.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What's tripled is the amount of student debt outstanding, which has grown to $1.3T. (It's buried in the article).

    • Inflation over 10 years should be 2% per year, or 21%. That $20,000 should be $24,379. With technical progress, the cost of education should come down (the share of education fees associated with tuition will reflect class size and professor salaries; the share associated with facilities management overhead should decrease due to improved technology reducing the amount of labor required and, thus, the total salary paid per student-year to the collection of people who aren't professors). That means the $2

  • by Eloking ( 877834 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:17AM (#54171049)

    I mean, this is getting ridiculous. When there's not a mistake, it's simply incomplete. And for this news, it's both at the same time.

    "Student Loan Debt Has Nearly Tripled".....compared to what? I have to read the Text to find that is was compared to 10 years ago....which is also wrong.

    Start earning your salary and work those Headline...and please stop the sensationalist too...

  • by Hussman32 ( 751772 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:21AM (#54171093)

    Mark Cuban noted that colleges increase tuition to the amount that students can borrow, and suggested if they capped the amount of loans, the universities would be forced to lower tuition or lose students.

    It's an interesting idea, but in the end I'd guess the lower income families would get hurt.

  • For Spring Break! You'll be paying for that vacation for a long time.
  • It sure seems like Slashdot is falling in love with misleading headlines because there seems to be a plenty of them lately. I don't know who or why is making them misleading but please, knock it off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:33AM (#54171215)

    < life story >
    I went to a public/private university. Tuition was >40k$ / year. I was able to get 25k in grants and scholarships, but that left me and my parents with a 15k gap.

    As my parents had shit credit, they couldn't help co-sign any loans. I had to get an extended family member to help.

    After the first year, I couldn't afford it. Flat out.

    So I dropped out after one year. No degree. Entered the minimum wage workforce making 8$/hr as a line cook. Worked my way up to Assistant Manager with... $9.50/hr...

    Two years later, two shit cars later, and countless roommates later. I lost my job. My father was working as a Project Manager for a nationwide networking company. He helped me land a part time gig that paid 25$/hr but hours ranged from 0 to 30 a week depending on what projects he could help me get on.

    But it took nearly 6 months before I was handed that part time gig... I also went to craigslist and worked landscaping when I could, making 10$/hr. However, during the next year, and the flaky hours, I was evicted from my apartment, and I defaulted on my student loans (yes I used all the deferred time (whatever it was really called) I could)... At this time the amount was ~10k.

    Before I went into default, I knew exactly how to pay back my debt, I go to a website, enter in the amount, bank account info, done.

    A couple years later I found a Software Developer position making ~45k/year. Trying to get my credit back on track, I went to research how to start paying back my debt. This was the most difficult process I could imagine. How can it be that hard to find out who you owe money to?!

    A couple months later I finally figured it out, but saw that they charged enough fees for the amount go back up to the original 15k!!!! WHAT?!

    Every step of the way in trying to pay back my debt, I stumble on some problem or another. Medical bill, car repair/inspection/registration, roommate leaving without notice leaving me with 2x rent.
    </ life story >

    I'm am incredibly happy that debtors prison is outlawed, but it seems they have just morphed it into this obscene beast that just eats anyone and everyone dumb enough to fall for this popular fallacy of graduating HS, going to college for 4 years, then landing a job that can help pay back ur debt and life style.

    Now, before all you red-wing nuts say "Don't live beyond your means, get a better job, blah blah" I did all of that. Sold my car, rode public transport, lived in a 2 bdrm apartment with 6 other dudes, moved back in with my parents for a while, etc... I did everything I could to save every penny I could... still wasn't enough.

    Student debt is today's slavery.

    And you know what? Of my group of friends, I'm considered one of the more fortunate ones... Another friend of mine is over 100k$ in debt... And he's currently unemployed.

  • The headline refers to total student loan debt. The summary applies to individuals. Total debt can triple even when individual debt "only" climbs 70%, when more people make stupid choices.

  • by tranquilidad ( 1994300 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:37AM (#54171251)

    Let's tell everyone they need college in order to be successful, but let's not be specific about what kind of college will get you success; after all a basket weaving degree is just as valuable as an engineering degree.

    Let's tell them that college is so important that we'll make government-guaranteed loans available to be sure they can afford that critical degree.

    We'll add to the mix the natural market reaction of increasing prices as more money is made available to pay for the product.

    Then we can all act surprised as loan loads increase, the feel good degrees don't allow one to make payments causing the ability to pay those loans to decrease resulting in a requisite government-bailout for everyone who got a student loan to pay for a degree that has no value.

    If you think a degree is going to have a positive economic value for you then you make the investment to get the degree. If that means working two jobs and taking 6 years to get a degree then so be it, you can make the economic decision to do that. If the economic numbers don't make sense for you then don't go to college to get a degree.

    The whole story line about college being better for you economically is based on a mis-understood or mis-applied correlation: people who went to college earned more than people who didn't. That headline is based on the overall group. A more interesting question would be what is the net cost of college by degree-type. A student who spends $50,000 for a worthless degree will be overshadowed by someone who spends $50,000 for a degree ultimately worth millions. The average of the degrees is higher than those who have no college but the value is still close to zero for the person with the worthless degree and $50,000 in student loans.

    That $50,000 degree worth millions isn't because of the degree. It's because of the application of the knowledge attained with the degree by a person driven enough to use that knowledge in a way that creates market value.

    • Also it used to be that only top performers went to college. Somebody with a 120 IQ is probably going to find a way to be successful no matter what. So, both financial success and college attendance were dependent variables where intelligence was the independent variable. For the most part, though, school doesn't make you any smarter, so putting people of average or below average intelligence through college doesn't increase the thing that gives them greater earning potential later. This is like putting sho

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:42AM (#54171283)

    ... I'm ready to enroll in part-time college and am torn hither and fro wether I should go to the local University (classic CS, bland curriculum, ugly wasted 80ies architecture campus, further away from where I work, PhD option, higher rank, Math 1 through 5 (scares the shit out of me)) or the local University of Applied Sciences (Media CS, neat Master Programs, easy curriculum, brand new posh campus with all the bells and whistles, more chicks on the faculty (so I hope :-) ), PhD option on the ropes (might change within the next few years), 'lesser' rank, Math 1 through 3 (scary too, but manageable)).

    Mind you, aside from semester fees of ~280 Euros these options I'm toying with are free (as in beer) and those fees actually are a bargain because as an enrolled student you get public transport for free in the entire state (there actually is a little problem with students enrolling just for the benefits alone).

    Bottom line:
    It sucks to be a student in the US.

    • That bottom line is based on lack of knowledge on what people what and are getting.
      In the USA you could go to a school similar to what you will get in Germany and the rest of Europe for a very similar cost.
      Instead what the USA student is looking for are private living conditions, with a massive environment with entertainment, round the clock lab rooms each with the latest top of the line equipment, and a big campus that is its own city. All of that stuff costs lots of money.
      It is very easy to end up wit
  • when we started cutting all the federal funds. They warned about this in the 90s when the cuts started and everybody said it wouldn't matter because salaries would be so high to compensate. Meanwhile we've still got folks spreading the already disproved [fivethirtyeight.com] lies that it's all because of fancy dorms and rich teachers. Yeah, a few nasty little diploma mills were taking advantage of the loan programs. The last administration [dailycaller.com] shut that down. Of course, I'm not expecting the current administration [google.com] to be so student f
  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2017 @11:42AM (#54171293) Homepage Journal

    While looking at debt of college, ignores the reason for the high costs. Colleges have been raising tuition prices because they know you will qualify for the loan and the loan will be repaid. There is a reason the borrowing has sky rocketed up to 1.3 trillion dollars, colleges are making buckets of money.

    An example of alternatives, WGU Governors college [wgu.edu] was created to provide degrees for working people at a real affordable cost. Most people can buy a 40K car on a 6 year loan, but a 400k school loan, thats stupidly expensive.

    The running joke is colleges are now just hedge funds with a college attached. And the money isn't used to lower tuition.

    Selling free college is a scam the universities want, they think they will get paid at the same high price, just moving the cost to the government. (aka us the tax payers....)

    I didn't even mention the money the sports teams are making also.

  • It's overpriced, you can learn more on your own, and a degree does not make you any more hireable than no degree. There are TONS of degree holders working at walmart or flipping burgers. Hell my wife with her BSA can not get more than $13 an hour because women dont deserve male pay levels.

    Do not go to college, go to a trade school or join a journeyman program and get a real education.

  • Tuition prices are not tied to inflation or any other real economic index. Rises in tuition have been shown to be directly related to one thing: the availability of student loans. So when the government makes more student loans available they are screwing all students, those expecting to go through school by taking out loans and even those saving and trying to work hard to pay their own way (which becomes harder and harder to do as tuition costs skyrocket).
  • When I went to school a long time ago, I knew a lot of people who would sign up for the absolute maximum amount of loans they could -- way more than tuition costs. The government would pay the university directly, and students would get the extra balance back in a check (this was the mid-90s, we still had checks back then. :-) ) a couple weeks into the semester. Said students would then turn around and buy cars, booze, expensive apartment rents, etc. and just run up the tab their whole time there. I remembe

  • My daughter's BS in Mathematics will cost me about $18K. Add another $12-16K to get her PhD. (All of which I am so far able to pay for in cash)

    How on earth does the average student end up owing $34K at the end of 4 years?

    Also, how on earth does a college graduate not have most of that $34K paid off in 10 years? Come on you guys, it's not THAT hard to pay off debt. All it takes is a reasonable job and the willingness to knuckle down and forego indulging oneself with unnecessary costs. Did you get some

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