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A whopping two-thirds of American college students graduate school already deeply in debt. But the decision to go into debt to pay for a college degree is a $1.2 trillion crisis that’s crippling the economy.
According to The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) Project on Student Debt, the average borrower will graduate with $26,600 in student loan debt. That means, that before a dollar is made using the degree, most Americans will owe money to someone else. The trend is not doing the economy any favors either. One in 10 graduates will accumulate more than $40,000 in debt and 1% of graduates will accumulate over $100,000 in student loan debt.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, student loan debt has reached a new milestone, crossing the $1.2 trillion mark — $1 trillion of that in federal student loan debt in 2013. That debt currently stands at a whopping $1.5 trillion. And according to a report by Forbes, this is a negative sum game for both the borrowers and the economy. Although taking out massive amounts of debt for college is now the new normal, it’s crippling the economy and the personal financial situations of millions of borrowers.
However, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette says there isn’t a student loan crisis in a recent op-ed. But this information is coming from those who profit off of student loans, such as college presidents. But others say that this is simply a matter of supply and demand and there is more demand than supply. Additional options should be presented to those who have become intent on debt rather than a mandated degree. Educating students on the power of debt should also be considered to help stave off and eventually eliminate this problem.
“There has been a big shift in terms of who should bear the burden of the cost of education,” said Benjamin Keys, a Wharton real estate professor with a specialty in household finance and debt. “We know the stories of our parents, that they could earn enough working as a lifeguard in the summer to pay for a semester of college. The growth of tuition costs relative to teen wages — indeed, all wages — has veered sharply upwards.”
“We’ve come to a place where most students have to borrow in order to pay the cost of completing a bachelor’s degree,” said University of Pennsylvania professor Laura W. Perna, executive director of Penn’s Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy.
Of course, that’s little consolation to those who cannot pay for the degree they went into debt to finance. The student loan dynamic is without a doubt changing the culture of the country. People no longer view debt as something they need to avoid to eliminate slavery to the lender, but something as “necessary” to get ahead. Perhaps this is also why people cannot imagine their life without enslavement to the government. They have been conditioned to believe this is “normal.”