15 Reasons Why Young Americans Should Do Whatever They Can To Avoid Getting Sucked Into The Student Loan Debt Trap

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America has created a student loan debt bubble that is inflating at a staggering pace and that is destroying hundreds of thousands of lives.  For the first time in U.S. history, Americans owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.  Millions more young people are getting sucked in to the student loan debt trap each year.  They are told that “an education” is the key to achieving the American Dream and that they won’t be able to get a good job without going to college.  They are told that they should get into the best school that they can and that they will surely get a good enough job to easily pay off their student loans.  In fact, most American high school students don’t have anyone warning them about the dangers of the student loans that they are about to commit to paying off.  But they should, because the system of higher education in the United States has become a money making scam.  Those who get sucked into the student loan debt trap often end up regretting it for the rest of their lives.

 

Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if there were plenty of good jobs available for college graduates and if the education our college students were receiving was of a decent quality.

But unfortunately, most colleges in the United States are a total joke.  I know.  I have three degrees.  I have an undergraduate degree, a law degree and another degree on top of that.  I went to what would be considered “good” schools.

But the education that I received (and that millions of other young Americans are receiving) is of such poor quality that it is almost unimaginable.

Most college students spend two to four hours a day in the classroom and maybe an hour or two outside the classroom studying.  The rest of the time they are out drinking beer, partying, chasing after sex partners, going to sporting events, playing video games, hanging out with friends, chatting on Facebook or getting into trouble.

For most Americans, the most free time that they will ever have is when they are in college.

On top of that, the actual “education” that goes on inside college classrooms is absolutely and totally pathetic.  Take it from someone who spent close to a decade in those classrooms – even a trained monkey could pass most of those courses.

Today, going to college is all about having a good time and getting that piece of paper that says you are a college graduate so that you can put it on your resume.

Shockingly little actual learning goes on inside America’s college classrooms in 2010.

Meanwhile, big financial institutions are making an absolute killing on the massive amount of student loan debt that Americans keep piling up.

The following are 15 reasons why young Americans should do whatever they can to avoid getting sucked into the student loan debt trap….    

1 – We are constantly warned about the evils of credit card debt, but nobody ever warns us about the evils of student loan debt.  But the truth is that it can be even more devastating, and the mountain of student loan debt that Americans are accumulating is absolutely staggering.  Americans now owe more than $849 billion on student loans, which is more than the total amount that Americans owe on their credit cards.

2 – A college degree does not guarantee you a good job.  Today’s college graduates are entering the worst job market in a generation, and many are now wishing that they had never gotten into so much student loan debt in the first place.

3 – In fact, many recent college graduates have not been able to find jobs at all.  Approximately 17% of all Americans between the ages of 20 and 24 do not have a job, and about two million recent college graduates are currently unemployed.

4 – Record numbers of college graduates now find themselves waiting tables, working in retail stores, tending bar, delivering pizzas and working next to (or subordinate to) people who never even went to college.

5 – Even many of those college graduates who are able to find decent jobs are finding themselves disappointed. Starting salaries for college graduates across the United States are down in 2010.

6 – A high level of student loan debt can actually keep you from getting a job.  More employers than ever are checking the credit history of job applicants, and so a lot of student debt can actually be a huge negative.

7 – You could be in debt for the rest of your life.  Do you actually want to spend the next 30 or 40 years working to pay off a subpar education that isn’t doing you that much good anyway?

8 – College has become insanely expensive.  Tuition at some universities is now running more than $30,000 a year.  That is before you even factor in living expenses.  Shouldn’t students figure out if it is worth it before enrolling at such expensive universities?   

9 – While you are in college it is easy to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt without even realizing what is happening.  The Project on Student Debt estimates that 206,000 students graduated from college with more than $40,000 in student loan debt during 2008.

10 – Sadly, most of the students piling up student loan debt do not even graduate with a college degree in four years.  Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor’s degree within four years.

11 – Financial institutions love to get America’s young people locked into debt slavery.  Over three thousand dollars more student loan debt is added to the national total every single second.

12 – After all those years of study and after all that debt, most college graduates end up moving right back in with mommy and daddy.  A recent survey of last year’s college graduates found that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.  That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.

13 – Unlike almost every other kind of debt, you cannot discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy.  Once you have signed on, there is no escape – student loan debt will haunt you until you are able to eventually pay it off.  No matter how destitute or how desperate you become, the student loan collectors will always be after you.  Is that what you really want to commit yourself to?

14 – Unless you have a very low interest rate locked in on your student loan debt, you could end up paying back to the bank several times what you originally borrowed.

15 – It is just not worth it.  In the vast majority of cases, the “college education” that you are going to receive is going to be really crappy.  The “good jobs” you were promised after graduation are very few and far between.  While it is true that attending college is a lot of fun, do you want to spend the rest of your life in debt slavery just to pay for that four years of fun?

The reality is that student loan debt is very cruel and very painful and it is ruining the lives of hordes of young Americans.  For much more on this topic, check out the following video news report about student loan debt from RT….

  • Nobilis

    “Shockingly little actual learning goes on inside America’s college classrooms in 2010.”

    This statement is the spine of your argument. Do you have any support for this statement, aside from having studied at a few programs in a few universities?

  • Not so Mad Max

    It’s funny that you had this article up my dad and my nephews had this same discussion. My advice is get a skill, electrician, gunsmith, carpenter, locksmith (A real one that can make locks not just make keys) something nobody can take away from you, and avoid collage all together. My dad is 77 years old and has this futuristic view of the future he still thinks things are going to go to crap, how he reconciles the two I have no idea. He’s too young to know the worst of the depression his formative time was 1950’s and 1960’s.

    Going to college let alone going into debt for collage is a really stupid idea at this period in time. The more I look the more I’m sure things are going to get bad I talking eventually food riot bad.

  • Devan

    “Going to college let alone going into debt for collage is a really stupid idea at this period in time” I think you are right on the mark with the “PERIOD IN TIME” Not so Mad Max. We are going to be in tough times ahead, consider that the jobs may not be so available.

    My advice to those who just graduate high school is work in some sort of trade to get under your belt. Either hairdressing, mechanics ect. My highschool offered a certified hairdressing certificate right in the high school, which meant when I graduated high school, I could have had a certificate in hairdressing as well. If you get your first degree or certificate, go after it quite cheap. Go to night schools or not a formal university to do so. This will at least get you past the entry level pay, and gain you some experience until you figure out what you really want to do, and then you can build on your degree if you have to. Many people go go college and university and later change their minds. This happens to pretty much everyone. It is a lot of wasted money.

  • Gary

    My son just started college this year. I guess one good thing about being underemployed and his being on the honor roll all through high-school is that we qualified for substantial grants which do not need to be repaid. That said we also had to get student loans. The cost of college has no basis in reality. Even renting the textbooks costs north of $300 per sem.

    My thought is that having a college degree is no guarantee of a good job, however, not having a college is almost a guarantee of a bad (low paying no future ) job. I know there are exceptions to this but as a general rule.

    As proof-I have a business degree and am so underemployed I need a microscope to locate my paycheck when pay day roles around. I have never made this little pay since graduating college.

  • Thanks to ::BLOATED:: college faculty salaries & pensions, tuition is stratospheric. Fortunately, however, like housing, the bubble will eventually burst and bring tuition costs back down to reality.

  • Young people should take advantage of Vocational training that is offered in high school and make use of that. As more figure out college degrees do not pay off, except for the high level graduate degrees [medical school], the colleges will be shrinking more and more. Today college is becoming kind of an outdated concept when information is so free, via the internet and free library system. One interesting thing to explore is why has college tuition and costs outdistanced the rate of inflation for so many years? That proves corruption and a problem right there, with the money pouring in from the millions of dollars in student loans. I think that perhaps some alternative systems would be better, a modern apprentice-ship system, or more breaking away from the idea, that a piece of paper that cost 50,000+ bucks, is the only way to enter a field or “prove knowledge” [that alone keeps many people out of the running who may have the knowledge and skills but just not the money]

  • concerned Reader

    A few years ago I graduated from high school and took financial aid from the government to pay for my college. Although it is a big government program, I could not help but partake into because how else am I going to pay all the tuition costs? I have had trouble finding a major and I am actually becoming disillusioned with the whole process.

    I look on the news and read blogs such as this one and I can not help but notice that the employment opprotunities are slowly but surely diminishing on a near dayly basis. I want to avoid the trap of student loans because I know that it is just another gimmick like the home equity loans and credit cards. Sooner or later the student loan buble is going to pop and we will be in yet another financial fiasco.

    The only reason people go to college is to keep with the jones’ and that is a good thing. However, all one has to do is look at how the cost of living is sky rocket and the fact that America is slowly becoming a third world country. After looking at the facts, I have to wonder if keeping up with the jones’ these days is even worth the trouble. I am not one to admit defeat, but it seems like too much of a fighting battle to put your cards on the table.

    Even with all these kids going to college, we as a society do not value education as much as we did before. A good example of this is the growing amount of illiterate people are in our society. There are an estimated 40 million Americans who can not read past the fourth grade. Another example is the rising number of students who do not graduate from high school. Some major American cities feature drop out rates of high school aged students above fifty percent. How long can we remain a viable civilization with all of this illitearcay and poorly educated peoples in our society?

    http://www.newswithviews.com/Wooldridge/frosty590.htm

    As for the rising costs of tuition, there are several reasons for why it is going up. First, we have both private and public universities that realize that they can keep charging the federal government, if any of the students have financial aid, an arm and a leg and they will quickly pay any price. Second, since the economy has gotten bad more and more people have flooded the universities to better their employment opprotunities. I do not blame them at all, but the increased demand has helped drive up prices. The thid and final reason is such things as sports stadiums. Almost every college has to have some kind of giant sports arena to draw in crowds who will pay off the sponsors who built the stadium. This adds into big bucks and the colleges raise tutition rates to foot the bill of all these stadiums.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    Just how bad has life become in this Third World horror movie called The Banana Republic of America (formerly the USA)? I know a very underemployed/sporadically employed business attorney in New York who is planning to apply for some grunt work at a new Target that will be opening in his neighborhood. In the past, he made over 90K. But in the last few years, he has survived with sporadic freelance work–and a full-time position eludes him despite sending out hundreds and hundreds of resumes. So now, you have an experienced attorney with a strong background in business affairs competing with other college graduates as well as with unemployed construction workers for low-paying entry-level jobs at Target. And that right there tells you everything you need to know about life in the BRA.

    There is nothing wrong with taking an entry-level job and paying some dues at Target if you’re an 18-year-old who is starting college or is going to trade school. But people who have already spent decades paying their dues, whether they’re plumbers or attorneys or IT professionals, deserve better. When the applicants for those entry-level jobs are skilled, experienced workers–white collar as well as blue collar–you know this country is in deep, deep trouble. You know the former USA has UN-developed and become a miserable, pathetic, broken-down Third World basketcase.

    La esperanza ya no existe en esta maldita pesadilla llamada La República Banana de América. Que dios nos ayude.

  • ILOVECOLLEGE

    Depends. Some arguments made are understandable. However, there’s more to life than carpentry, lighting, and pluming. The world will always need doctors. People will always need lawyers. We’ll always need teachers. All of which require post-secondary education. If you do well in high school and search for scholarships, you can receive a quality education from a renown university for almost nothing. I know someone who not only applied for and got enough scholarships to pay for her entire schooling, but her twin’s as well. AND was able to buy a new car with the refund check. There are ways around loans. In my opinion, getting a skill or taking up a trade is the easy way out. If you really can’t handle a college work/study load, than maybe a trade is for you. However, if you have brainpower and ideas to offer the world, why not further your education? Engage in research. Get internships and coops. Students get job offers like crazy from the companies they coop for throughout their college career. My cousin just graduated from MSU, #1 party school in the country, last May and is now working for GE in downtown Chicago, started at $59,000 I believe. There is hope in this economy. This world is in constant need of educated people. Soon enough, technology will take over trades and skills. There will be no need. But there will be a need for educated engineers to design new robots and technicians to make sure the robots are doing their job right.

    ^ This is all coming from a current college student.

  • mike

    I tried to tell my daughter to mmunity college top became a RN just like me and her mother did. We work throw school with our parents help. We was debt free. when we got our RN license. But she wonted to go to a Big time Unuversirty. In a job feild> That I knew was not goingh to be their. Nopw My doughter has no Job and is going back to school. In medical. I hope she choices Nursing.

  • Non-grad

    I was in the top 1% of my high school graduating class, I skipped the graduation ceremony and didn’t bother to pick up my diploma as I felt it was worthless seeing that 10% of the students that received the same diploma were illiterate. I went to college, got bored and felt the education wasn’t worth it. Started my own advertising/graphic design company (failed 3 x trying but eventually got there). Ended up with a staff of 10, most with college education, working for me. I had 3 immigrants on my staff and they all had better English than any of my American college grads. Their work was more accurate, they were more productive, more conscientious, and they all lived debt free and were able to save up sizable nest eggs. I had one college grad with a Masters degree in Education who couldn’t spell worth spit. She would constantly ask the immigrants to check her work. Words such as Jewelry, college, school even the word “education” were often misspelled.

    Something is wrong with our educational system that charges $25-$35k/year and graduates students that cannot even spell or manage their own finances. Employers used to actually look for these grads, assuming they had more intelligence than the average guy. I think smart employers, like myself, are starting to use more scrutiny and look for workers that can prove they are qualified, not just ones that have a worthless piece of paper that proved they attended 80% of their classes and had enough money to buy Cliffs Notes to pass their tests.

    Unfortunately, many employers are finding the only way to stay competitive is to hire intelligent immigrants who have a solid work ethic and dedication to self-improvement and doing their best to keep their job, who will work harder for less money and show respect for a worthy employer.

    I am recommending to my sons that they get a vocational education along with their college education. They are working their way through college, gaining hands-on training, not accumulating debt. College kids can’t afford to make any mistakes regarding their future anymore. There will not be any safety net to catch them like there was for my generation.

  • Greg

    Mike – I hoap I nefur enz up inn a hopseetul wher u bee uh noorse!

  • Pat

    I mostly agree with this, from my own experiences. I’ve never had a significant amount of credit card debt, but there was nobody around to warn me of how terrible it would be to have student loan debt. I believe my college education was too expensive. When I graduated most employers didn’t care about my education and only wanted to see experience, so I could’ve stayed home for four years and taught myself the same thing while building a portfolio. Even if my education was only half as good I’d be in a better place financially and probably be able to get a job easier due to actually having some sort of portfolio. I did move in with my parents right after graduating with a BS in Comp. Science. Now 7 years after graduating I’ve racked up a half year of total unemployment, more than a year in retail, more than a year delivering pizza and a couple other jobs that aren’t remotely related to my education. I still have $500/month in student loan payments and will probably be paying for another ten years. I’ve paid over $7,000 in interest. It has pretty much ruined my credit score and I can’t get a loan for a car, a house or even a Best Buy card. Pay rates have dropped; I was forced to get a new job and now I make 12.5% less than I was two years ago. Every website that tells you the average payrate for a job shows numbers that seem to be incredibly high. If you’re just graduating, expect to be in the bottom 2-3%; or even off the scale.

    On the plus side, the degree-related jobs I have had have all allowed me to sit at a desk in an office rather than manual labor.

  • Naked Short Seller

    Given the lack of leadership from left or right I think we’ll be sliding into a local cash (e.g., non-central bank issued) and barter economy; how soon its hard to say, I’d hazard 5-15 years depending how much longer the ultimate pop can be delayed. Think Wiemar Republic in the 1930’s (that’s if we choose what’s behind Door #1….soft default, the central bank tries to print away the debt obligations…) or Argentina circa 2002 (…and behind Door #2 is hard default…all the bondholders take one heck of a haircut). In any event, a young high school graduate, and middle aged folk too, had better to be able to either grow things, make things, and/or repair things….in short be good with your hands. Even here, choose wisely. The fellow who can cultivate seed and grow food sustainable on a suburban pocket farm (not run a chicken factory farm for Tyson or plant Monsanto anything), who can repair small scale farm equipment, bicycles, rice burner cars, and such will be a lot better situated than the specialist MD or fancy law degree, and much better off than an MBA, accountant or other finance field, or any fantasy trade (fashion/media/tourism) (although the general practiciner [sic] will be in high demand); it may well all be about the basics – food, fuel, and folk culture 1930’s style for at least a while, I sincerely hope not but our leadership over the last 30-40 years has not impressed me. By all means go to a university to get broadened and for the classical intellectual rigor, just a) make sure you got your hands skills there, and b), pick carefully be sure to go to one of the few places left where you won’t rack up any significant debt. Who knows student loans may become dischargable when the big deflation hits but best to not depend on that and be nimble and not saddled when the rough water hits.

  • I keep seeing these college bubble articles which I believe are true to an extent. I am an advocate of vocational schools but will save that post for another day. My biggest problem with college (a state university with a regional draw) was that it didn’t actually offer what it claimed to. I would pay tuition, scramble to get classes but many were full or cancelled. Furthermore, many of the teachers were fifth year seniors (ta’s) who didn’t know anything about the subject. Even worse, the ph.d’s never worked in their fields. Another thing I have noticed comparing notes with friends at other universities is the lack of concentrations. It seems we sent more time doing a mish-mash of courses rather than focusing on our major.

    I think the system is sadly broken. I think top tier private schools are getting away with fraud. Paying college coaches 3-10 million a year while cutting research (and I’m a sports fan!). It just does not add up.