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"Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans" (article)


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Looked through the topics quickly and didn't see this NYT op-ed being discussed.

 

What a strange brew of feelings it evoked in me.

 

Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

 

Please forgive the mixture of apples and pears for a moment and replace "in college and graduate school" with "buying a car" or "mortgaging a home." When did ignorance of the true cost of a purchase become a valid reason for walking away from one's obligations?

 

Maybe the problem was that I had reached beyond my lower-middle-class origins and taken out loans to attend a small private college to begin with. Maybe I should have stayed at a store called The Wild Pair, where I once had a nice stable job selling shoes after dropping out of the state college because I thought I deserved better, and naïvely tried to turn myself into a professional reader and writer on my own, without a college degree. I’d probably be district manager by now.

 

Or maybe, after going back to school, I should have gone into finance, or some other lucrative career. Self-disgust and lifelong unhappiness, destroying a precious young life — all this is a small price to pay for meeting your student loan obligations.

 

I don't even know where to begin, so I'll leave it at this: He appears to concede that he was reaching aboving his means in taking the loans, which seems to indicate that (a) he knew there would be a price and (b) he was implicitly agreeing to pay it. Now he doesn't want to and won't because the work he wants to do doesn't pay enough? Default is "the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society."

 

I'll say this much for him: He gives every indication of having a particularly well-developed if misguided sense of self-worth. (And I would add that Siegel was earning his degrees in the overpraised past, before tuition costs began wildly outpacing income growth -- back in the days when many maintain it was possible to work one's way through college.)

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What I think I'm hearing from him is that he needed the best degree possible so that his writing, the talent he has to share with the world, would be best groomed. But when I look on Amazon he seems t

I'm now filing away the phrase, not some slice of extra special plum pudding to use in just the right occasion.

Looked through the topics quickly and didn't see this NYT op-ed being discussed.   What a strange brew of feelings it evoked in me.   Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too

I agree with you, OP, that the author does not make a good case for himself (putting it mildly.)  There were others mentioned in his piece whose stories were more compelling, though.  Personally, I think the whole student debt business is a dysfunctional mess.  I wish I believed that we (global we) were doing something to fairly address the problem and not just protect the interests of well-connected stakeholders with high-dollar lobbyists on the payroll.  Which I guess could probably be said about a myriad of issues. :glare:

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Wow. He's not much better in person. We're not wealthy, but my dd is 1/2 way through her undergrad degree debt-free. It can be done. I'm not saying it's easy, but it can be done. 

 

Disclaimers: DD is not at Columbia (or an ivy). I'm not a CNBC fan. No cable/dish/antenna here.

 

I had only read the NYT piece, so thanks for the link. And yes, it can be done. I don't want to go wildly OT on my own post, but you mentioned your daughter, which made me think of my own daughters, one of whom wants to be a physicist and the other, an animal trainer or linguist. Since they were quite young, we've shared ideas, mantras, advice, etc. that all falls under the following umbrella: Pursue work you love but develop the sort of mind that can endure jobs you don't because while you're in pursuit, you will need to live, too. At 17 and 19, they are already developing skills and chasing down opportunities that will enable them to cobble together work assignments that can pay bills and yield a little savings while they pursue their dreams.

 

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The Slate article linked below points out that the "small private college" he is referring to is Columbia University, and he received not only a bachelor's but two different master's degrees.

 

He's annoying. 

 

ETA link: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/06/08/lee_siegel_new_york_times_op_ed_is_this_the_worst_op_ed_ever_written_about.html

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 "I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school." 

 

Doesn't he realize there are plenty of people who have jobs they don't want in order to pay bills?  He can write on the weekends or in his spare time. 

 

 Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

 

If he doesn't want to waste his life in a job that he doesn't think is befitting his station in life, why did he get student loans in the first place? No one forced him to get the loans, just like no one forced him to drop out of state college and enroll in an expensive, private college. 

 

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He sounds like a twit.  I don't think most 18 year-olds truly understand the amount of debt they are taking.  I don't think the USA does a good job of helping either.  Look at the cost of attending school in Europe.  College in the US has become unreasonable.  At the same time, it has become almost a requirement if you want a decent job.  Yes, there are some other paths.  But, a large # of people have a degree because high schools aren't meeting a reasonable standard and business are looking for some assurance you know how to think.

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I skimmed through that article the other day.  What an idiot.  I'm not sure why the article got published except as click-bait.

 

Did I miss a place where he regretted the borrowing?  Gained a speck of wisdom?  (I can't bring myself to look at it again.)

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Aww, poor guy.

 

I think everyone should refrain from buying and reading his brilliant writings, so that he will find he needs a disgusting regular workaday job to eat, let alone pay his bills.  Like most people.

 

He apparently doesn't notice how insulting he's being to all the sheeple who got a regular job so they could pay their bills.

 

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I skimmed through that article the other day.  What an idiot.  I'm not sure why the article got published except as click-bait.

 

Did I miss a place where he regretted the borrowing?  Gained a speck of wisdom?  (I can't bring myself to look at it again.)

 

On the contrary, he seems to have missed his own point. He believes he reached above his means by attending Columbia, but ostensibly, his Columbia cred may have landed him the work he believes is his gift to society. But now he's not going to pay?

 

Insert bewildered head shaking.

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What a morally repugnant view.  And clearly he never bothered to take even a basic logic course.  I am tempted to review the article with DS14 and pick out all the fallacies.

 

I have never heard of this writer, but I can now guarantee him that I will never read his books.

 

I know it's wrong of me, but frankly I sort of hope this blows up in his face.  Or at least in his wallet.

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The Slate article linked below points out that the "small private college" he is referring to is Columbia University, and he received not only a bachelor's but two different master's degrees.

 

He's annoying.

 

ETA link: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/06/08/lee_siegel_new_york_times_op_ed_is_this_the_worst_op_ed_ever_written_about.html

Oh my gosh, he's a real peach.
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Does he use his real name?  That's great - any prospective employer is likely to pull this up while doing basic due diligence before hiring.

 

And prospective girlfriends too.

 

I'm sure any kind of traditional hiring situation would be beneath him.  Additionally, he  is already married.

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While I'm not impressed with the author's methods, the truth is that the student loan/college tuition situation has become ridiculous and needs to change.  Bankruptcy laws should be changed to allow for discharge of student loans -- otherwise, predatory lending will continue and colleges will continue to raise tuition rates just because they can.  I'm not saying that people should be allowed to escape their student loan debt in general, but I think allowing discharge will be the only way to create a balance.  It's unfortunate that this guy is turning people off to the bigger issues that require real attention.  

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Whoa, I missed the age that MMV noted in the cross-post on the other board - 58.  He's triple the idiot I thought he was.  He borrowed back when tuition was relatively cheap and still couldn't pay back his loans in 35+ yrs?  I just clicked back at the article long enough to see the note at the bottom that he's writing a memoir about money.  LOL, like he has an ounce of financial judgment anywhere in his body.  Negative advertising for his "book."

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The Slate article linked below points out that the "small private college" he is referring to is Columbia University, and he received not only a bachelor's but two different master's degrees.

 

He's annoying. 

 

ETA link: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/06/08/lee_siegel_new_york_times_op_ed_is_this_the_worst_op_ed_ever_written_about.html

 

Thanks for this link. This bit stood out: "He was just a feckless liberal arts major. As the man tells it, he grew up in a 'lower-middle-class family' and borrowed heavily for school after his parents split following his father’s bankruptcy. At first, he tried to do the financially responsible thing by transferring from his small, private college, to a state school near home in New Jersey. However, Siegel felt he 'deserved better,' and left."

 

I'm wondering if during my next car purchase, I ignore my financial planning, announce that I deserve better, and simply choose a spiffy car that reconciles itself to my sense of self.

 

Posters much better versed in economics can correct me, but isn't his suggestion that everyone default the sort of flawed thinking that caused the financial debacle in 2008? Folks felt they deserved, lenders made loans (scrupulously and unscrupuously), and then folks couldn't or wouldn't pay.

 

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I don't blame the student loan industry at all.  I do believe college tuition today way exceeds the value and this needs to be fixed.  I believe this bubble will burst like every other bubble eventually does.  Meanwhile don't blame the banks who provide a way for working-class people to afford to get into a well-paying profession.

 

ETA:  I mean, I don't blame the student loan industry in cases like this, where a qualified student attended a respectable school.

 

I'm not talking about cases where those in the industry should know that the degree is unlikely to lead to a job that pays for the debt.

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I don't blame the student loan industry at all. I do believe college tuition today way exceeds the value and this needs to be fixed. I believe this bubble will burst like every other bubble eventually does. Meanwhile don't blame the banks who provide a way for working-class people to afford to get into a well-paying profession.

You think there is no connection between tuition cost and the "easy money" available to pay said tuition? Do you think were the student loan industry to collapse, it would have no effect at all on tuition prices?
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On the one hand, some amount of loan availability makes sense and I have benefitted from that, though wise borrowing involves a lot of personal judgment.  (I borrowed the regular Stafford amount for college and I borrowed close to the full cost of attendance for law school and paid everything back within a few years; I'm pretty sure the law school was the lender though, not a private bank.)  On the other hand, the availability of loans absolutely has a role in driving tuition prices.

 

Meanwhile, as my oldest is 14, I'm waiting for the bubble to burst.  I thought it would have burst already.   :toetap05:

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Perhaps Columbia's education isn't all it's cracked up to be.

What a morally repugnant view.  And clearly he never bothered to take even a basic logic course.  I am tempted to review the article with DS14 and pick out all the fallacies.

 

I have never heard of this writer, but I can now guarantee him that I will never read his books.

 

I know it's wrong of me, but frankly I sort of hope this blows up in his face.  Or at least in his wallet.

 

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What I think I'm hearing from him is that he needed the best degree possible so that his writing, the talent he has to share with the world, would be best groomed. But when I look on Amazon he seems to mostly have written retellings of tales collected in India.  ETA: Probably the wrong Lee Siegel.

The. I thought of authors like Mark Twain (whose very pseudonym draws on his working like on steam boats), John Grisham (lawyer), Michael Crighten (doctor), James Michener (naval officer), David Poyer (naval officer), Alex Hailey (also naval officer iirc), Tom Clancy (insurance salesman). They eventually moved to full time writing. Some worked as younger men, but made the switch after a few years. Work gave them wider life experiences that in turn illuminated their writing. Poet William Carlos Williams was a country doctor who wrote tiny poems on prescription pads between patients. T. S. Elliot was a bank clerk for many years.

So not only does he come off with a self serving attitude, but he may well have missed an opportunity to engage with people who could have then peopled his books. But then this is the critique of many creative writing or MFA writing programs. That they charge a pretty penny but don't produce writers who put out in quantity and quality.

I think of my dear Jane Austin, who didn't benefit from the glorious degrees this man collected. She wrote early work in small hand stitched booklets that she his under her stitching if someone came in the room. I think she would have used this man as a model for a friend of Mr Collins or Mrs John Dashwood.

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What a prick.

 

Contrary to what he seems to think, the world needs competent waiters and shop clerks more than it needs mediocre writers and philosophy majors who can't think.  If he had gone straight to work out of high school he would have no student debt and would likely be offering more to society.

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You think there is no connection between tuition cost and the "easy money" available to pay said tuition? Do you think were the student loan industry to collapse, it would have no effect at all on tuition prices?

 

It might, but that is the wrong way to go about it.  I don't believe in throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  There are better ways to address the skyrocketing tuition.

 

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The Slate article linked below points out that the "small private college" he is referring to is Columbia University, and he received not only a bachelor's but two different master's degrees.

 

He's annoying. 

 

ETA link: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/06/08/lee_siegel_new_york_times_op_ed_is_this_the_worst_op_ed_ever_written_about.html

 

The real head-scratcher here is that he claims that his full tuition was paid for all his years at Columbia, so all his loans are just for living expenses.

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So I just got around to the Slate article.  I'm more confused about the author's situation now.  He seems to have gotten scholarships for school, but paid for living expenses.  May have worked before quitting to become a full time author.

 

How is this different than the starry-eyed actor heading off to NYC or LA to fulfill their destiny on stage or screen.  If they choose to eschew working as a waiter why should the credit card debt they rack up for living expenses be defaulted on?  Siegel used student loans to pay for room and board.  Columbia probably isn't a cheap place, maybe not even back 20-40 years ago, whenever he was there.  But I fail to see why someone else should be on the hook for the costs of his education.

 

 

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So having found what I think is the correct Lee Siegel, it seems that a couple of his last books are about the internet and how it is creating an electronic mob.  

 

I cannot help but wonder if his statements about defaulting on his loans were genuine or if he is trying to provoke a reaction in order to prove something.  Is it some version of performance art or internet stunt?

 

There is already one Amazon review that refers to the student loan default.

 

 

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I cannot help but wonder if his statements about defaulting on his loans were genuine or if he is trying to provoke a reaction in order to prove something.  Is it some version of performance art or internet stunt?.

 

 

"Research" for the next book?

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So I just got around to the Slate article.  I'm more confused about the author's situation now.  He seems to have gotten scholarships for school, but paid for living expenses.  May have worked before quitting to become a full time author.

 

How is this different than the starry-eyed actor heading off to NYC or LA to fulfill their destiny on stage or screen.  If they choose to eschew working as a waiter why should the credit card debt they rack up for living expenses be defaulted on?  Siegel used student loans to pay for room and board.  Columbia probably isn't a cheap place, maybe not even back 20-40 years ago, whenever he was there.  But I fail to see why someone else should be on the hook for the costs of his education.

 

 

I thought Columbia (or any other ivy league school) doesn't give scholarships for tuition?  

 

Aside from that, though, the problem with the comparison to the would be actor who racks up credit card debt is the fact that person will ultimately be able to discharge his/her debt in bk.

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The number of articles about "woe is me; I shouldn't have to pay off my student loans" annoys me to no end.  The young adults in my life (NOT my children, but their friends and our relatives) all believe they shouldn't have to pay back their loans.  They tell my kids how stupid they are for worrying about college debt and refusing to take out loans b/c it is going to be the next big bailout.  Publicity for that attitude only fuels the fire.

 

FWIW, have ZERO sympathy for one young lady who is extremely in debt.  She used graduate loans to buy a car and fly to Europe for a several week long vacation.  

 

There are ways to attend college frugally.  The "I deserve a better school/education" mentality is just another entitlement attitude.

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I thought Columbia (or any other ivy league school) doesn't give scholarships for tuition?  

 

Aside from that, though, the problem with the comparison to the would be actor who racks up credit card debt is the fact that person will ultimately be able to discharge his/her debt in bk.

 

Ivy League Schools can't give merit (whether academic or athletic) money but they can provide need based aid and he may have received enough from that stream to fund his undergraduate tuition.  Additionally, since he has two different masters from Columbia it is possible that he received tuition waivers in exchange for teaching or grading or something like that which cancelled out some or all of his graduate tuition.  

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I thought Columbia (or any other ivy league school) doesn't give scholarships for tuition?  

 

Aside from that, though, the problem with the comparison to the would be actor who racks up credit card debt is the fact that person will ultimately be able to discharge his/her debt in bk.

 

I had neglected the bankruptcy question.  However, it doesn't seem to me that the author is saying that he was working his back end off and still couldn't pay the bills.  Instead it seems to me that his argument is that he shouldn't have to work a less than ideal job in order to pay his bills.  He should be free to choose to take on the career of his choice without consequence.  I see a moral equivalence to racking up credit card debt and expecting to walk away from it.

 

I would be curious about the next few interactions between him and the IRS.

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I had neglected the bankruptcy question.  However, it doesn't seem to me that the author is saying that he was working his back end off and still couldn't pay the bills.  Instead it seems to me that his argument is that he shouldn't have to work a less than ideal job in order to pay his bills.  He should be free to choose to take on the career of his choice without consequence.  I see a moral equivalence to racking up credit card debt and expecting to walk away from it.

 

I would be curious about the next few interactions between him and the IRS.

 

I agree with you about the moral equivalence.  I think that is partly his point, but he has made such an a$$ of himself the point is lost.  There is a fundamental disconnect when the debtor who racks up credit card debt can walk away in bankruptcy debt free but the student loan debtor cannot.  This disconnect has contributed  in a major way to the education/tuition/student loan bubble that we have today.  

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On the one hand, some amount of loan availability makes sense and I have benefitted from that, though wise borrowing involves a lot of personal judgment.  (I borrowed the regular Stafford amount for college and I borrowed close to the full cost of attendance for law school and paid everything back within a few years; I'm pretty sure the law school was the lender though, not a private bank.)  On the other hand, the availability of loans absolutely has a role in driving tuition prices.

 

Meanwhile, as my oldest is 14, I'm waiting for the bubble to burst.  I thought it would have burst already.   :toetap05:

 

:iagree:

 

We are already discussing payment strategies, i.e., "You better get to it, kid.  With dual enrollment, you should be able to get your AA along with your HS diploma. Oh, and here.  Look at this.  This is what private university tuition is and this is our state university.  And let's practice standardized tests.  If you score over x, State U will give you $5K."  She's 12.  And this is a practiced conversation.  Poor child.

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:iagree:

 

We are already discussing payment strategies, i.e., "You better get to it, kid.  With dual enrollment, you should be able to get your AA along with your HS diploma. Oh, and here.  Look at this.  This is what private university tuition is and this is our state university.  And let's practice standardized tests.  If you score over x, State U will give you $5K."  She's 12.  And this is a practiced conversation.  Poor child.

 

Yes, we are having very similar conversations in our home.  It's reality.

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I had only read the NYT piece, so thanks for the link. And yes, it can be done. I don't want to go wildly OT on my own post, but you mentioned your daughter, which made me think of my own daughters, one of whom wants to be a physicist and the other, an animal trainer or linguist. Since they were quite young, we've shared ideas, mantras, advice, etc. that all falls under the following umbrella: Pursue work you love but develop the sort of mind that can endure jobs you don't because while you're in pursuit, you will need to live, too. At 17 and 19, they are already developing skills and chasing down opportunities that will enable them to cobble together work assignments that can pay bills and yield a little savings while they pursue their dreams.

 

 

The part in bold is so important. One of the board members entered into the fray on debt for college by talking about doing a job that you weren't passionate about. She really got shot down, but I think there is a validity to that thought that we need to explore with our young people.

 

We've had to revisit the issue with our older children and explain again that there is dignity in work itself even if you don't feel very validated  or dignified on the job. I am not suggesting that you throw away your life on an awful job, but often bad jobs are the stepping stones to good ones. Dh and I have worked crappy jobs and know that we can survive the experience if we had to do so again in an economic downturn. It can difficult to convey to young people the fine balance between job passion and job practicality.

 

As to the author of the article, he's written 5 books. Why not use some of the royalties to take care of his debt?

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When you figure in the inflation rates, the state school tuition that my huband , I ,and our son attend haven't actually increased the price of tuition. I think status schools have. The argument here is not about whether tuition is too high, or banks loaning too much money. Just deciding not to pay won't change anything. I can't imagine a few generations back borrowing money and just deciding not to pay it. We have always explored options for college costs, which is a good thing as we have 15 years of college tuition left to pay for my kids.

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When you figure in the inflation rates, the state school tuition that my huband , I ,and our son attend haven't actually increased the price of tuition. I think status schools have. 

 

That is very unusual then.  Using the .gov inflation calculator, I put in my tuition from 1984.  http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htmMy tuition was $350 (per full-time semester) and in today's $$ it calculated $797.  Actual tuition for that same university today? $4290/semester.    (in-state public and not one of the states with massive cost increases due to severe funding cuts.)  

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When you figure in the inflation rates, the state school tuition that my huband , I ,and our son attend haven't actually increased the price of tuition. I think status schools have. The argument here is not about whether tuition is too high, or banks loaning too much money. Just deciding not to pay won't change anything. I can't imagine a few generations back borrowing money and just deciding not to pay it. We have always explored options for college costs, which is a good thing as we have 15 years of college tuition left to pay for my kids.

 

 

If this is true, your school would be the rare exception, rather than the rule.  Tuition is unconscionably high for the vast majority of schools in the country, and the increases have far outpaced inflation.

 

eta:  I used the inflation calculator for our local state university tuition.  When I went to school, tuition was $718 per year (30 ish yrs ago).  Today, with inflation, that amount would be about $1495.00.  However, the actual cost of tuition for that same institution today is $6976 per yr.  That's more than 4 times what it should be in terms of inflation, not to mention it is almost 10 times what it actually cost 30 ish yrs ago. And of course, this doesn't include room and board.  Back then, room and board was $3368.  According to the inflation calculator, it should cost $7014 today.  Instead, the same university currently charges its students $15,826 for room and board.

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That is very unusual then.  Using the .gov inflation calculator, I put in my tuition from 1984.  http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htmMy tuition was $350 (per full-time semester) and in today's $$ it calculated $797.  Actual tuition for that same university today? $4290/semester.    (in-state public and not one of the states with massive cost increases due to severe funding cuts.)  

 

I thought for sure I'd have the same sort of result.  I was absolutely shocked to see that the adjusted price I paid for nursing school is about $30 MORE per credit hour (including fees) than the current cost to go to the same school.  I graduated in 1999.  Perhaps by 1999 tuition was already skyrocketing, but in the 80s it was still much lower.

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The part in bold is so important. One of the board members entered into the fray on debt for college by talking about doing a job that you weren't passionate about. She really got shot down, but I think there is a validity to that thought that we need to explore with our young people.

 

We've had to revisit the issue with our older children and explain again that there is dignity in work itself even if you don't feel very validated  or dignified on the job. I am not suggesting that you throw away your life on an awful job, but often bad jobs are the stepping stones to good ones. Dh and I have worked crappy jobs and know that we can survive the experience if we had to do so again in an economic downturn. It can difficult to convey to young people the fine balance between job passion and job practicality.

 

As to the author of the article, he's written 5 books. Why not use some of the royalties to take care of his debt?

Well, book royalties often aren't anything much.  He may well make more from his article writing.  I know I made as much off of one article than dh did off of a small run academic book.  His royalties didn't even pay for photocopying costs at archives.

 

I am a big believer in work.  In one of my Navy jobs, I had to inspect the ship's sewage tanks after they were emptied and cleaned.  This sounds bad, but was actually much better than inspecting the fuel tanks, which never really smelled anything other than a fuel tank (and were about five stories deep with multiple stages of ladders to climb).  And getting up at 0300 for a four hour bridge watch wasn't glamorous either.  One makes do.

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It's not quite clear to me when he gave up?

 

I think if you've been trying to pay student loans for forty years and give up, that's one thing. Any other debt that you couldn't repay after forty years could be discharged in bankruptcy.  If you give up at a year after graduation, that's a different story altogether.

 

The problem is: Once you decide to default, there's really, really no going back. The penalties will quickly multiply and you're pretty much screwed. I hope that impressionable young graduates with financial problems really look carefully and understand the consequences before they try following this example!

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The part in bold is so important. One of the board members entered into the fray on debt for college by talking about doing a job that you weren't passionate about. She really got shot down, but I think there is a validity to that thought that we need to explore with our young people.

 

We've had to revisit the issue with our older children and explain again that there is dignity in work itself even if you don't feel very validated  or dignified on the job. I am not suggesting that you throw away your life on an awful job, but often bad jobs are the stepping stones to good ones. Dh and I have worked crappy jobs and know that we can survive the experience if we had to do so again in an economic downturn. It can difficult to convey to young people the fine balance between job passion and job practicality.

 

As to the author of the article, he's written 5 books. Why not use some of the royalties to take care of his debt?

 

This idea that only work that you feel passionate about is really important seriously bothers me - I mean, it makes me very angry.

 

I don't know who sold this idea to kids, that some kinds of work are just not worthwhile or are without dignity, or that their self-worth will come from fulfilling some kind of passion.

 

Not only is it just factually such self-centered bull-pucky, I think it makes people unhappy.  they think they are failures because the get jobs as electricians or doing office work instead of say, writing, or raising awareness about the situation in Tibet.  Their sense of self-validation comes from some kind of fulfillment of "who they really are" and they can't stand to find out that who they really are is an office clerk or hairdresser at a mid-range salon.

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