College students are now facing increasing evidence that college is a bad financial investment that will saddle students with debt they can never escape. Pro-college ads are seductive: "College graduates can make a million dollars more in their lifetimes than those who don't go to college." The truth is that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17 million college-educated Americans are now working jobs for which they are overqualified. Hundreds of thousands of college graduates are working as waiters, secretaries, receptionists, laborers, or janitors. Those are all respectable occupations, but they are not jobs that will enable them to repay their five- or even six-digit college loans.
The current student loan debt, now $830 billion, is bigger than credit-card debt and growing at the rate of $90 billion a year. Only 40% of that debt is actively being repaid, and students are not permitted to escape that debt burden through bankruptcy.
The one project that received an increased appropriation in the bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling was more money to subsidize students to go to college. Loaning taxpayers' money to students to go to college is one of the worst and most counterproductive spending programs of the federal government, and it is hurtful even to the student who gets the money.
If students were working a 48-hour-a-week night job, as I did when I worked my way through college, they wouldn't have time to get into mischief or to attend the drinking parties, and they wouldn't accumulate the indebtedness that will burden their lives for decades.
For encouragement, they can read Zac Bissonnette's helpful book, Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships or Mooching Off My Parents. Alternatively, students can get a job that doesn't require a college education.
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