US student loan crisis

As someone who took advantage of the recent low interest federal loans and frozen interest payments from the current admin, I wonder if Biden will indeed step in and “forgive” loans.

Selfishly, that would be nice. But standing by principle, I don’t think it’s fair to others who did pay off their loans before me or to the tax payers who will take up my burden.

But to me, the loan crisis is a symptom of a larger issue. My generation has been mislead about higher education. There was a time where a college education was almost a guarantee at a decent living wage and a ticket to the middle class. Those days are gone. Hence I’m doing a MSc to be more competitive.

The larger issue I see is there are too many useless degrees, some of them ridiculously expensive at private schools. Another I issue I believe is key is the US undergrad program is 4 years, when I see Europe doing 3. I basically wasted 1 year of my undergrad licking rocks in geology labs and learning about sexual health. I’m not saying these are topics not worthy of learning, but 1 hour of youtube watching videos will provide more useful information for me in these topics not related to my actual major.

The student debt crisis could have been lessen by 25% just doing this. It would also prevent many students going to college just to go if they don’t know what they actually want to study. I think around 1/3 of students my freshmen year came to college without a major in mind, just wondering with a full year of studying general education classes like philosophy 101, environmental studies 101, music business 101, etc.

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A line needs to be drawn one day on a lot of issues. Inherently the generation before is always going to be shafted as their hard work will rain benefits (hopefully) at the next generation. Then that next generation’s benefits will rain down on the further generations. We learned, It’s not fair, but I argue it’s equally not fair to deny progress on the basis of ‘they might benefit from our learning’.

The elementary school I went to installed multiple computer labs the immediate year after I left. It is what it is.

They need to do away with general education classes, seriously.

If I am studying geology my time should be spent licking rocks, doing mineral separation, learning about various geological dating methods (like uranium - lead, Potassium - Argon, etc.) and actually doing them, and not learning about the trolley dilemma or US politics.

A UT natural science or engineering degree is a 5 or even 6 year degree at reasonable course load (reasonable as in about 12 hours or so), because there are so many damned useless classes and electives you gotta take! At least half of those classes should be done in high school. First 2 years (or 3) in college is just a review of high school courses. Why waste money taking them?


So you’re saying that gender geology studies didn’t help your career prospects?


Don’t be silly, I aced my banking interview when they asked me what lava is. It’s magma that reaches the earths surface. Easy.

I could perhaps support student loan forgiveness under several inviolably strict conditions.

  • This is the last time, for all time. A one-off. Never, ever again.

  • Student loans are made for individual courses only. No more loans based on semester costs.

  • No more borrowers studying algebra 2 or trigonometry or intro to Chemistry, Physics, Biology, etc. If you’re not prepared for uni study, then you cannot take out student loans.

  • Eligibility for student loans to college would be tied to entrance exam scores and high school grades.

  • No student loans can be made until the student submits a financial plan for repayment.

  • All student loan debt would be struck from the kinds of debts that are subject to bankruptcy relief.

Possibly not a complete list.

Do you think elementary school should be free? Where do we draw the line for free education? I don’t see why university today is that different from high school 50 years ago. You needed a high school degree for a shot at decent life then and you need a uni degree now. Of course, given the competition from East Asia and Eastern Europe for decent jobs that may not be enough, but it is necessary.

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You do not need a uni degree “for a shot at a decent life.” This is false.


The tax issue could be easily dealt with by just passing legislation excluding forgiven debt from “income” but of course that would require Congress passing legislation which doesn’t happen in banana republic US

The US is too selfish and stupid to do this. It would rather just put financial handcuffs on its educated class, while the top 1% rapes US society more. And deluded morons, mostly racist right wingers, won’t care because all the want is for blacks to suffer even while white Amerikkka goes to the toilet.

Just such a great country lol

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I don’t think it’s necessary at all. In many parts of Europe, tradesman are still respected and encouraged. It starts as early as HS. You can already start on a path from HS in Italy, if you want to become a hair stylist, you work under one as part of your HS education for example.

University in the US is geared towards the goal of white collar jobs. These are not for everyone. You don’t need a white collar job to be successful. Entrepreneurship is not taught at all, I’ve learned ZERO entrepreneurial skills from formal education. I’ve had to learn it almost by myself as someone who is starting a business on the side in hopes of turning it into a full time viable business.

Well you do. Just look at any study ever. Also higher education is important unless you think the west is on the correct trajectory. Say what you will about Asians, their focus on education is at the heart of their success. At this rate there won’t be any western tech left in a few decades.

Yes. Certain types of education. Ive yet to encounter any Asian Tiger moms pushing their kids towards an theater major at a liberal arts private school.


That’s a different argument and one I agree with. We need more STEM and we need more entrepreneurial skills.

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When did I talk about liberal arts? I just said higher education. Who gives a hoot about gender studies? Of course we need to subsidize only, or at least mostly, the programs that we actually need. How we go about that is another problem and I am not exactly sure how to approach it.

Well, you do not actually. Example, I’m currently staying at an Airbnb in Austin, TX, USA. It’s a guesthouse in this couple’s backyard. The husband doesn’t have a college degree; he dropped out of UT to be in a band 40 years ago. The band thing didn’t work out and he went to work driving a forklift in Austin. A smart guy, he is now the owner if his own logistics consultancy and I’d say his life is pretty damn decent. Again, no college degree.

Also, if the idea is education, who says you have to pay? Have you never heard of autodidacts? Of educating yourself simply for the pleasure of it?

The idea that an American has to pay a university to learn and that a uni diploma has intrinsic value is silly imo.

fwiw I’m reminded of the late Billy Joe Shaver’s lyric, “fenced yards ain’t hole cards and likely never will be.”


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I think we are agreeing on the same thing. There are too many expensive useless degrees that will never make enough to pay student loans. I think schools also need to be honest. When you take a program/major, schools tell you careers you can go into, but not all of them are put in context. For example, I took finance in undergrad, my program brochure says the types of jobs finance majors can do and the average salary. Some of them aren’t realistic, you have almost no chance getting into investment banking if you don’t go to a elite school, it’s not fair to tell kids they can go into that taking their program.

Schools also aren’t completely honest about how many jobs there are, you almost have no chance of getting into counseling with a undergrad degree in psychology since there’s not many of these jobs, and you will compete with people who have a masters degree for that job that pays like 30k. Makes no sense.

And I think making degrees 3 years makes so much sense right now. You can easily take 3 years of engineering on student loans and pay it off in a few years with the types of job you can get without starving yourself.


I think we are as well, except that I think we need better financing options (possibly even free education) for STEM and other important degrees.

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Ok maybe I wasn’t clear. I just think we as a society need to put more value on hard sciences. Those degrees are absolutely vital for a prosperous future.

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I can see an argument that federal student loans should be given out with a floating interest rate of inflation since it benefits the country. I think this is rather fair. A 1-2% interest rate is easily repayable compared to 6-12%. Paying back the loan to the country adjusted for inflation seems completely logical.

The country has an interest in educating citizens, and I would much rather people keep more of their money instead of giving huge interest payments to the gov to help the economy. It’s rather strange the country is trying to make money off of loans given to you to go to college.

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