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Thread: US student loans grotesquely high

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Addressing the $1.5 Trillion in Federal Student Loan Debt - Center for American Progress
    Policymakers increasingly recognize the importance of bold ideas to address college affordability. Those ideas include Beyond Tuition, a plan that moves toward debt-free higher education, rolled out by the Center for American Progress.1 Under the plan, families pay no more than what they can reasonably afford out of pocket, with additional expenses covered by a combination of federal, state, and institutional dollars. There are also strong proposals for debt-free college from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and for tuition-free college, including one from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), as well as calls for free community college championed by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA).2

    As policymakers think about solving college affordability for future students, they must not forget about the tens of millions of borrowers already holding college debt. Fortunately, the policy community is starting to develop new ideas for current borrowers as well. For instance, multiple presidential campaigns have outlined policy proposals that forgive some student loans or make changes to repayment options.

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    Why have colleges become so expensive? Shouldn't that issue be addressed first?

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    Veteran Member KeepTalking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    Why have colleges become so expensive? Shouldn't that issue be addressed first?
    His first paragraph talks about that:

    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Addressing the $1.5 Trillion in Federal Student Loan Debt - Center for American Progress
    Policymakers increasingly recognize the importance of bold ideas to address college affordability. Those ideas include Beyond Tuition, a plan that moves toward debt-free higher education, rolled out by the Center for American Progress.1 Under the plan, families pay no more than what they can reasonably afford out of pocket, with additional expenses covered by a combination of federal, state, and institutional dollars. There are also strong proposals for debt-free college from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and for tuition-free college, including one from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), as well as calls for free community college championed by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA).2

    As policymakers think about solving college affordability for future students, they must not forget about the tens of millions of borrowers already holding college debt. Fortunately, the policy community is starting to develop new ideas for current borrowers as well. For instance, multiple presidential campaigns have outlined policy proposals that forgive some student loans or make changes to repayment options.

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    Veteran Member prideandfall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    Why have colleges become so expensive? Shouldn't that issue be addressed first?
    well that's a social and cultural problem, so it's extremely difficult to address legislatively.

    college is expensive for the same reason diamonds are expensive: a bunch of rubes got tricked into thinking the product has universal value for everyone, artificially inflating what people think the product is worth so vastly far beyond any measurable actual metric that the price of the thing no longer has even the slightest connection to the logistics of the thing.

    so take an abstract product with a price utterly uncoupled from reality, add capitalism, and you have ridiculously and hilariously overpriced products that only continue to exist because people are so fucking stupid they make it a social imperative to continue buying it even though it offers nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prideandfall View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    Why have colleges become so expensive? Shouldn't that issue be addressed first?
    well that's a social and cultural problem, so it's extremely difficult to address legislatively.

    college is expensive for the same reason diamonds are expensive: a bunch of rubes got tricked into thinking the product has universal value for everyone, artificially inflating what people think the product is worth so vastly far beyond any measurable actual metric that the price of the thing no longer has even the slightest connection to the logistics of the thing.

    so take an abstract product with a price utterly uncoupled from reality, add capitalism, and you have ridiculously and hilariously overpriced products that only continue to exist because people are so fucking stupid they make it a social imperative to continue buying it even though it offers nothing.
    It's not uncoupled from reality. ... Well, not entirely. A bachelors degree is the minimum required education level for many jobs in the market. People with only a HS diploma need not apply. This sort of minimum requirement has proliferated along with university enrollment.

    Here's an anecdote: My uncle had been trained in the US Navy to program computers and had been employed for 25 years in a US communications company. He was still happy to work, but his employer asked him to retire. His employer told him that it was partially because he didn't have a university degree on his resume that he was asked to retire early. The minimum requirements for his replacement included a university degree.

    Is it the supply of degrees inflating the demand, or is the increased demand from the jobs market driving supply? It isn't clear.

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    Veteran Member prideandfall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorq View Post
    It's not uncoupled from reality. ... Well, not entirely. A bachelors degree is the minimum required education level for many jobs in the market. People with only a HS diploma need not apply. This sort of minimum requirement has proliferated along with university enrollment.
    but it IS uncoupled from reality... that's the part where it's a social and cultural problem.

    a bachelor's degree (which, btw, is about as useful and as relevant as a liberal arts degree) does not confer any knowledge required to do any of those jobs, it's just an arbitrary goal post that society has decided to put in front of certain jobs because it seems fancy to do so... it's delusion on top of delusion.
    this again comes back to the diamond analogy: diamonds are plentiful, and mostly useless. so the people with the diamonds used marketing to convince everyone that diamonds are rare and highly valuable, and everyone just accepted this.

    Here's an anecdote: My uncle had been trained in the US Navy to program computers and had been employed for 25 years in a US communications company. He was still happy to work, but his employer asked him to retire. His employer told him that it was partially because he didn't have a university degree on his resume that he was asked to retire early. The minimum requirements for his replacement included a university degree.
    here's another anecdote: i dropped out of high school after 2 years, have never had any secondary education, and pull a 6 figure salary doing IT work.
    i'm not special, the system is just stupid.

    Is it the supply of degrees inflating the demand, or is the increased demand from the jobs market driving supply? It isn't clear.
    college, in terms of the social zeitgeist and the cultural and economic pressure to have a degree in something, isn't about learning anymore (if it ever was) - it's just job training that you have to pay a shitload for.
    if you have a career path in mind and it's a field that you have a reasonable expectation will require a degree to even enter, then yes it makes sense to do college.
    but quite honestly, that seems to be at best maybe 30-40% of the people who go to college... those with a plan who are executing it and then actually follow through with it.

    i know it's purely anecdotal but i feel like i've seen plenty of studies that back this up - many, if not most, people who go to college and get a degree end up not actually using it in any meaningful way, or in any way relevant to their long term career.

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    Seems like it's primarily a demographic problem to me. We're still living under the assumption of the old industrial model where you're going to reach your twenties and be paid 35 dollars/hour as long as you can prove that you're somewhat intelligent.

    But during the baby boom people were few, and jobs were plenty, which drove up wages and demand for workers. Now we have the opposite situation - a glut of people competing for fewer jobs - so naturally the cost of education goes up, and wages go down. I think you can make a kind of naturalistic argument here that economics aren't static across generations, nor should they be. Communities change, realities change, and we can't guarantee that things will be easy for everyone, all the time.

    But there still seems to be something unwieldy about tuition costs in the U.S.. I can't pretend to know everything behind them, but the debt burden that students are facing does seem unreasonable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prideandfall View Post
    but it IS uncoupled from reality... that's the part where it's a social and cultural problem.

    a bachelor's degree (which, btw, is about as useful and as relevant as a liberal arts degree) does not confer any knowledge required to do any of those jobs, it's just an arbitrary goal post that society has decided to put in front of certain jobs because it seems fancy to do so... it's delusion on top of delusion.
    this again comes back to the diamond analogy: diamonds are plentiful, and mostly useless. so the people with the diamonds used marketing to convince everyone that diamonds are rare and highly valuable, and everyone just accepted this.


    here's another anecdote: i dropped out of high school after 2 years, have never had any secondary education, and pull a 6 figure salary doing IT work.
    i'm not special, the system is just stupid.
    I can provide an anecdote right in the middle, as I also make a 6 figure salary in IT. I have an AS in Programming & Analysis, obtained at a community college in the '90s, so it wasn't very expensive. About a third, maybe up to half, of the courses I took were relevant to my field, some were useful to me later, others not so much. Something else that was key for me, however, was that I worked in the computer lab part time, so gained some valuable experience there. I too make a 6 figure salary, and with my first couple of entry level IT jobs after graduating, having that AS certainly helped. These days, it is the wealth of experience in the field that make me valuable to a company, most job reqs in the industry require either a Bachelors degree, or 5 years experience. The trend for hiring software developer these days is to have the applicant do a coding challenge or two, and how well you demonstrate the ability to tackle the challenge in a logical manner is one of the primary metrics used for hiring. I work with people currently who have no education beyond high school, and taught themselves how to code, demonstrating their ability was key to getting hired. So, a Bachelors degree can help you get a foot in the door at the entry level, at least in Software Development, but if you can show relevant experience, and especially an ability to code, you have a good chance of landing a good job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    Why have colleges become so expensive? Shouldn't that issue be addressed first?
    The politicians.

    The budgets of colleges haven't gone up unreasonably. The cost to the students has shot up because the government contribution has gone way down.

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