The Knowledge Debt

After five years of undergraduate study and a year of law school, I am in serious debt to several financial groups and services.  I took the poor advice of my parents (my sister, Paula, can corroborate their advice and so can Dave, as they passed that infinite wisdom to him, too) and took on too much student loan debt under the guise of “you can just pay it back over 30 years!”  By chance, I am sure, they left out the parts about interest rates, interest accrued, and repayment terms, among other things.

After reviewing the current situation last night with Dave, we totaled my loans to be just short of $110,000.  That is about what a small, old house costs in Ohio.  Or the cost of four cars over 20 years, if you only drive each car for five years.  Regardless, it is a lot of money.  Now, spread it over thirty years, the repayment amount is closer to $350,000 with interest.  That is 360 payments of almost $1000 a month.

Currently, that is more than one-half of my paycheck.

Luckily, my boyfriend and his parents are very empathetic towards my situation.  I live for free with Dave and his family.  My only expenses are my car (and the usual tag-a-longs that come with vehicles) and my cell phone.  When Dave graduates, he promised to provide just about everything I would need so long as I just keep making those payments.  If I did not have Dave and his family, I would probably need another part-time or full-time job for the rest of my life, or until I made a better biweekly paycheck.   I could not afford housing, food, or basic necessities without them (or a second job), and I am thankful now more than ever for that.  This process has been one giant, biting reality check.

So, I guess my question to the American Government and those public schools that are not-for-profit is this: Why did I have to take out so much money to attend your schools?  Even half of the amount I spent would have been astronomical compared the estimates schools provide on what tuition costs.  You expect me to attend your institutions, get the once-coveted-degree-turned-new-high-school-diploma, and find a job, but then how do you expect me to return my “investment” to the economy when you rape me senseless of all hope and ability to do so?  I made mistakes, yes, but education, which is so integral to our “flat” global economy, is painfully expensive with little to no return.  I know for sure you will never explain, and you wonder why so many young Americans lose respect for today’s politicians and leaders.  You just lead us on.

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2 thoughts on “The Knowledge Debt

  1. It is repayable, and your earnings will increase as you age, so long as you continue to work hard, build valuable experience, continue to keep your education current, etc…

    There is no such thing as a not-for-profit University. Last I checked, most president’s of large Universities make around $400,000 a year. Some of that is your tuition money. Also, if you recall correctly, many schools were in bed with the student loan companies (the loan companies were offering incentives such as yachts, cars, etc… to university loan officials for using their services). Unfortunately, the whole system is extremely unethical in that it takes advantage of those who are the most vulnerable – young adults seeking a better life.

    Here is what will happen (with any luck):

    Students will continue to take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans – they will get a job upon graduating, will not be able to afford a home, may not be able to afford to pay their loans back, and the market for student loans will collapse (just like the market for housing). After this sequence of disasters has played out, the Government will wake up and institute some legislation aimed at reducing the cost of school and limiting the amount of loans you can take.

  2. Hmm…you know you could have gone to a prestigious Canadian University for far less money. In fact, Acadia University, Canada’s most expensive public institution would have set you back about the same amount as a state university. I mean, why not? An arts degree is an arts degree and the grads from Acadia (and the other great univerisities in Canada) go on to do great things – Nobel Prize winners, established actors, even graduates of Harvard and other okay American Universities – and they even become American lawyers. In fact, many of the professors at these economical Canadian universities are Americans who received their PhD in the US. When it comes to the almighty buck it pays to really shop around.

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