Monday, April 30, 2012

College Debt

Debt for college tuition is in the news. I find it hard to believe that people on Social Security still owe one billion dollars total for college loans! Now they are complaining their debt is being taken out of their benefits!

One report said the average graduate owes $40,000 now and it's closer to $60,000 if you add the money the parents have also borrowed! One broadcast showed the most expensive college in the United States where room and board is $60,000 per year.

LuAnn had a great idea. She said instead of the stimulus, we should have let GM and Lehman Brothers and whoever else go bankrupt and stimulated the economy by forgiving the college debt and encouraging more training instead of more debt. I thought that made a lot of sense. Most American's agree the $5 trillion or whatever has been spent has not done much good. Nothing is any better after 3 years and few actual, good jobs have been created.

It is good news to see companies like General Electric building refrigerators again in the US, this time in Louisville, Kentucky in a plant that they said hadn't operated in 50 years. The union conceeded wages to $13 an hour instead of the $21 they would have made without concessions. I have been in negotiations as a school board member and it is no easy task!

There is so much going on it's hard to keep track of. I dug corn all day and found anything from no sprouts to one inch sprouts in some fields. Those guys who took the risk in March have nice stands of corn overall. I guess planting time did come a month early as I had suspected!

Be sure to dig in your fields and look for emergence problems, cutworms, weed control and whatever you need to be concerned about. If you have any questions you can send me a picture at and will help you the best I can.



  1. A nation where students need to pay to study instead of being paid to study is not investing in its citizens and its future.

  2. College loans are one of my pet peeves.
    You borrow a lot of money to pay for something that you are assured will bring you financial return but it if does not you certainly do not get your money back. Instead the blame is placed on you for not studying hard enough. You are required by a college to have an adviser but if actually listen to the adviser and end up with training for a job that no longer exists or there is so much competition you can't get hired then it is your fault for not doing the research to pick the right career.
    People who take out those loans may have never even had a job or had a loan before. I really don't see kids in college being emotionally and financially mature enough to really make the decision to borrow $100,000.
    You can't eat your college education, you can't sell your college education, and you can't take out bankruptcy on a college loan.
    Instead you have committed yourself to economic slavery for 30 years. You really would be better off as an indentured servant for seven years.
    But of course the banks make a lot of money off of those loans. And college tuition prices can continue to rise because the easy-to-get student loans remove competition to provide a good and reasonably priced education.
    On the other hand I really think you should not be paid to study. You do not appreciate something that comes for free. But, hard selling students on loans is basically entrapment and/or predatory lending practices. Saving up money and paying your own hard-earned dollars for an education would really make students be more involved with what they were learning and more critical of the institutions who are taking their money. I think that would be a good thing.

  3. Two great comments, one short, one sweet. Chimel, we were not raised that way, never heard of the concept until later in life but worked hard to change education in my 40 year stint. Your words make sense in today's world.

    Budde, totally agree. We were raised similarly but my tenant farmer parents were bound we were going to college and I never fully understand why. Neither went to college or their parents. Dad had four siblings in college before him and he must have saw something there and mom agreed and went along. God bless them both for that. I know I am thankful and I know my sister is. Changed our lives for the good forever and our children and I imagine their children, too.

  4. Well, of course it's not actually "being paid to study", the idea behind it in most Scandinavian countries is that students shouldn't have to worry about essentials like lodging and feeding while studying, because these monetary struggles seriously impact their academic results.

    It also makes education more accessible to all, regardless of their parent's financial situation, and it also frees up more time to learn, as time spent working a side job for a McDonald's would make you unable to learn or concentrate beyond the working hours, not even mentioning that a whole year of this job wouldn't pay for more than a few weeks of these college tuition fees. Jobs like assistants are better paid and it's still in college so it's an extension to learning, not a disruption, but they are too few and reserved for senior years.

    Scandinavian students sure appreciate this free education system so much that they defend it for the next generations. But mostly it's not about being free, it's about quality education. In Sweden for instance, they have 2 teachers per primary school class, one goes from child to child to make sure none are left behind and all can move to the next level at the end of the year. That's a country investing in its future.

    I'm sure there are drawbacks though, I don't want to make it as idyllic as it seems. These countries have for instance the highest taxation rates in Europe, like 58% on personal income, and 25% VAT on all goods and services for Sweden. As I remember, one of these countries even had a 100% sales tax on cars, with an astronomical price for tobacco and alcohol. Several countries have a mandatory or optional church tax, usually around 1%, or they collect it through the personal income tax for the churches. It is mandatory in Iceland for instance, although atheists can pay it to the university instead of a church...

  5. We saw a piece in Budapest last night where the cake baker's sales was off 40% of his usual 800 cakes per day. The VAT tax was 50% of the purchase price because of sugar and salt so he was trying to figure out how to bake a cake that met the reduced amounts required to avoid the tax that still tasted good and would sell. I told LuAnn, "we think we have problems in this country!"

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