Social Question

stanleybmanly's avatar

Is student debt a national crisis?

Asked by stanleybmanly (23336points) 1 month ago from iPhone

I’ve been thinking about the problems which confront our society that were non existent when I came of age. How did the country go to hell in 50 years?

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21 Answers

hello321's avatar


Zaku's avatar

Yes. One of many.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Yes, I’m glad I graduated fifty years ago.

si3tech's avatar

Could be. The southern border definitely is!

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Tropocal Willie Exactly my point. Every time I turn around, I bump into some reminder of my great good fortune in being old.

gorillapaws's avatar


“How did the country go to hell in 50 years?”

The Boomers really screwed the subsequent generations. They didn’t want to pay for the investments in future generations the way other generations had paid for the Boomers. They gave themselves tax breaks, slashed regulations and oversight, abandoned labor, and ran up the debt, to chase short term profits at the expense of long-term prosperity.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s true. But they were sold a bill of goods, the same bill that runs currently.

filmfann's avatar

Back in the Seventies, community colleges in California were damn near free (the big expense was books).

gondwanalon's avatar

@filmfann In the 70’s California community colleges and State universities were tuition free for California residents. The California State universities required a small “fee” (kept going up each year) per quarter. My family couldn’t help me. I paid for books, food and rent by working part time at KFC. Took me 6 years to get my BA with no student loans or debt.

If California could offer free or nearly free (for resident students) college in the 70’s then why not today? Perhaps 5 decades of poor management, waste and abuse has something to do with it.

hello321's avatar

@gondwanalon: “If California could offer free or nearly free (for resident students) college in the 70’s then why not today? Perhaps 5 decades of poor management, waste and abuse has something to do with it.”

It probably has something to do with the fact that there was an outright attack on this model – starting with Reagan in 1966. Not only did he cut state funding for colleges, he tried to charge tuition for in-state.

Like most good things, the right defunds these programs for decades and then cries that they aren’t working because there isn’t enough money. Let’s not pretend this just happened organically. Decades of hard work to eliminate tuition-free college and the national rise in college costs have resulted in this. No need to insinuate that it’s some mystery.

Note: We can offer public colleges and trades programs tuition free nationally as well, but we choose not to.

gondwanalon's avatar

@hello321 Well thanks for clearing THAT up. It must be nice to know exactly what happen. Like democrat management of California has nothing to do with the miserable state it is in today You crack up.

hello321's avatar

^ You’re welcome.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes. I have been upset about high tuitions and student debt for 20 years. Not necessarily upset about the same things as a lot of people. I am most bothered by the cost of tuition. This to me is the number one problem, why the hell is it so high? I don’t accept the usual answers. It seems to me it should not be that difficult to keep tuition costs down.

The next problem is people’s willingness to borrow money and the government’s willingness to lend it. I figure this helped to enable the tuitions to get higher.

I don’t accept that poor people have to go to community college. Why should poor people be denied the opportunity to go to a four year institution? This goes back to cost though, I don’t want tax money being spent frivolously, and by that I mean spent on gouging prices. I do want government money available to help subsidize education, and I am not talking about loans, although there might be some loans in the mix, but mostly I mean low cost or free education. Bernie’s idea sounded like all college education would be free for everyone, I think that is unrealistic, but I could be wrong. I think for now we need to come up with a more moderate plan, and really look at where the hell all the money is going.

hello321's avatar

@JLeslie: “but I could be wrong”

You are.

@JLeslie: “I think for now we need to come up with a more moderate plan”

That is the moderate plan.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Once again, the Europeans are doing it. If the Germans, French, Swiss, Swedes, Danes, Belgians, etc. manage to provide THEIR children college at state expense, what is the wrong with us? There was a time when the rest of the world followed our example when it came to recognizing the value of investing in our children. Now our kids have the privilege of being indentured slaves to the banks. That’s THEIR graduation present.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly Yes, but Germany tracks their children at a young age if I remember correctly, I don’t know about the other countries, and kids once tracked for college can easily go to college, but kids on other tracks need to jump through hoops to go.

I think of my father who was poor and his father was an immigrant and had psychological problems and his mom was not very bright from what I understand and disinterested in education for her children. My dad didn’t read until 3rd grade and hated school as a young child. If they had tracked him it would have been an uphill battle for him, who knows if he could have achieved what he has.

Luckily, in NYC at the time there were opportunities throughout the education process to prove new commitments to education and change the course of one’s academic career. He had a school counselor tell him he should not even consider going to college, but NYC had tests and application processes that allow anyone to apply and free college education for those who do well. I don’t know how easy that is in the European countries listed. It would be interesting to know. America allows a lot of lead time for children to find their way in the education process.

I’m going to send this to our German Jelly.

hello321's avatar

@JLeslie: “Yes, but Germany tracks their children at a young age if I remember correctly, I don’t know about the other countries”

Ever heard of the United States? Tracking is early and it’s based on economics.

I’m glad your family was able to take advantage of a better time. But as a result of the right-wing policies you support, this is no longer the case. If he were a kid today, he wouldn’t be able to go college.

Older people tend to lean into personal anecdotes about how their hard work and gumption allowed them to succeed. But in reality, what they are describing is merely privilege that has since disappeared.

JLeslie's avatar

@hello321 I am not supporting right wing policies on education. I support providing free education just like my father benefitted from. Even back then not everyone was able to go to school for free even in NYC. So, you don’t want it the old way, you want it even more available to everyone than the old way. I want it more available also, but I care about the financial part.

My dad had opportunities because he was in NYC. If he had been in Alabama he would have not had the opportunities that he had. I think it cannot be left up to the states, because we know some states won’t give a damn about the poor, especially poor minorities and immigrants. If you make me your enemy….well, we already have discussed that. Stop being so mean and narrow minded.

Kropotkin's avatar

There’s no reason why education at any and all levels can’t be provided for free. It is simply a matter of distributing the available capacity to those who want it, which can be done through the federal government paying for it as it does with anything else it desires, like spending over $700 billion dollars on the military each year.

The reason it isn’t freely available, is because the financialization of education has become extremely profitable. It’s basically become a form of both rent extraction and usury.

I mean, why give people something that would benefit them and the whole of society for free, when you can make a few people very rich by it not being free?

KNOWITALL's avatar

What I’m hearing from everyone on disability is that they can’t afford to pay for student loans on the pittance they receive monthly. You are allowed to work so many hours, so many people force themselves to do so, even when it’s really not feasible, health-wise.

So instead of working out plans for these folks, the interest accrues and they take these poor people’s taxes who barely make ends meet as it is. Many are on Medicaid and some have chronic illness. It’s horrible, they didn’t choose to be disabled early in life.

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