There’s a notion that attending college after high school is mandatory. If you don’t go, students are told they won’t be as successful as their peers with degrees. Sure, statistics show that most people with college degrees earn higher salaries than those without higher education, but that doesn’t prove that college is the right choice for everyone, especially when other post-high school paths have proven lucrative for those who don’t pursue advanced degrees.
Then there are the shocking statistics that make penny pinchers cringe.
Unemployment among college grads is half that of those without degrees. But it’s important to note that those without degrees are also lacking something else: student loan debt.
Even if students cannot afford school, they are still often encouraged to go. With the availability of federal funded loans like Perkins and Stafford, students can sign their names on the bottom line to get up to $27,000, an amount experts in the field say students typically take full advantage of.
Then there are private loans, too. Most of those, however, require the student’s parents to co-sign.
National stats show that most college students graduate with an average of $25,000 in debt – but that amount does not include additional loans that parents co-signed on. The $25,000 is only a small piece of the picture.
With a poor jobs market and a stagnated economy, students who graduate from college are struggling to find employment in their fields. But even if they do land a job, the bigger problem is finding a job that will cover their monthly loan payments.
Stacy Crooks from the College Planning Center of Rhode Island said that most jobs that students receive out of college do not pay enough to cover the cost of student loans, which students can defer until after they graduate.
Nationally, student loan debt totals more than $1 trillion, an amount far greater than the national credit card debt. But the situation gets more dire when you examine the specifics of loan repayment.
Even if a student declares bankruptcy, they cannot discharge their loans. And when the student can’t pay their loan, guess whose problem it becomes? The co-signers, or parents. The debt then falls on their shoulders.
Now some are raising the question: what happens if no one can repay those loans? Will the bubble burst like the housing market?
The bubble will burst, but maybe not in the way people first assume. Like in the housing boom of the 2000s, everyone thought they should own a home. So even the people who couldn’t afford houses bought them. Today, college educations are like homes; people will eventually view them differently.
So think, high school grads, long and hard about your future. Will your chosen field guarantee you can afford 25 years of post-college loan repayment without preventing you from moving out of your parents’ home? Or is it time to think outside of the box, or in this case, the bubble?