“Student loan debt outpaced credit card debt for the first time last year and is likely to top $1 trillion this year as more students go to college and a growing share borrow money to do so,” reports the New York Times. It’s supposed to be “good debt,” an investment in the future. Like mortgages.
“In the coming years, a lot of people will still be paying off their student loans when it’s time for their kids to go to college,” said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, who has compiled the estimates of student debt, including federal and private loans.
It’s about branding, not education, writes entrepreneur Seth Godin. A college diploma “brands” the graduate as employable.
Does a $40,000 a year education that comes with an elite degree deliver ten times the education of a cheaper but no less rigorous self-generated approach assembled from less famous institutions and free or inexpensive resources?
That $1 trillion in debt is a lot to spend for marketing.
What would happen if people spent it building up a work history instead? On becoming smarter, more flexible, more self-sufficient and yes, able to take more risk because they owe less money…
I don’t worry about students who can get into elite colleges. They’ll get an education — and a high-class brand. It’s the students borrowing for non-elite private colleges who are at risk of going into debt for a brand of marginal value. Will they get an education? Depends on the student.
I have a nephew who’s graduated in computer science and a niece who’s about to earn a degree in cognitive science. Both are job hunting. So this cartoon hit home. (Click on it to get a larger version.) Via Instapundit.