Another day older and deeper in debt

Federal student loans aren’t based on students’ ability to repay — and many will not.

Arrested for a credit union hold-up in Madison, Wisconsin, 49-year-old Randall H. Hubatch said he owes $250,000 in student loans and wants a long prison sentence. Hubatch earned a bachelor’s in English in 1998 at University of Wisconsin, Madison. He added a law degree in 2004. He works at the university as a custodian. He wore a hat with UW’s mascot — Bucky Badger — for the robbery and was wearing it when arrested.

Via Glenn Reynolds, author of The Higher Education Bubble.

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  1. Student Loans for degrees which have poor ROI will do nothing but create an entire class of indentured servitude for attempting to pay off the debt, and being 250K in the hole is usually insurmountable in terms of ever being able to pay it off.

    Sounds like in this guy’s case, prison might be a better alternative. He’ll get a place to sleep, his health care, and will be fed. Additionally, while he’s in prison, it’s gonna be pretty hard for the companies that gave him the loans to collect anything.

  2. Jay Garcias says:

    I owe my soul to the….bank.

  3. I guess I expect too much from journalists these days, but it would have been nice for the article to investigate and corroborate his claims (is he really $250,000 in debt? He went to UWisconsin for undergrad… was he paying instate or out-of-state tuition? What fraction of his debt is from his undergraduate education and what fraction for law school? Etc…) Without more information, the article is pretty useless for us to really draw any conclusions.

    • Mark Roulo says:

      I agree that it would have been nice for the author to have done some digging.

      But … $250K is quite believable for a janitor with a law degree (I assume that he hasn’t worked as a lawyer much …) and the potential debt load that comes with that degree. Add in years of compound interest on the debt and $250K almost a decade after law school (which could have easily come to $100K in debt) is quite plausible.

    • Mark Roulo says:

      But … even if the author *HAD* dug and confirmed all this, we still couldn’t draw any conclusions about this. It might be representative or it might be an outlier. I’m betting on outlier (but an outlier that is getting more common …)

  4. The money question: did he pass the bar exam? I’ve heard that has become a significant issue. I think Sanders discusses this issue in Mismatch, where law schools admit kids with significantly lower LSATs, for “diversity”, but they flunk out and fail to pass the bar exam at much higher rates than to regular admits. Of course, there’s also the issue of getting a full-time job as a lawyer. I think there are lawsuits pending against schools who reported full-time-employment data for their grads that included non-lawyer employment.

    • Actually, the field of Law isn’t immune to the economic downturn. A lot of law school grads are having problems finding employment at the moment.

    • Clearly you didn’t read the link. The “robber” is white. But I’m not surprised your first impulse is to blame race and/or affirmative action.

      • My last post was in response to momof4.

        • Jab, affirmative action may take into consideration a number of factors; for instance, “slightly autistic” is a card Mr. Hubatch might have played. Indeed, Mr. Hubatch might have fabricated an African-American or Native-American heritage merely to gain admission into the school. Don’t believe me? Go talk to Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).