Students borrow for living costs

“Some Americans caught in the weak job market are lining up for federal student aid, not for education that boosts their employment prospects but for the chance to take out low-cost loans,” reports Josh Mitchell of the Wall Street Journal. They use the loans to pay living costs or to avoid paying back previous student loans.  An unemployed retail clerk with an unmarketable bachelor’s in communications has gone deeper into debt to take theater classes. He hopes to find work as an actor. Meanwhile, it pays his bills. 

Rubio: American Dream must be affordable

Education and the American Dream was the theme of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s keynote speech at Making Community Colleges Work, a National Journal event at Miami Dade College. The son of immigrants, Rubio started his career as an attorney with $100,000 in student loans. He proposed income-based repayment of student loans and Income Sharing Agreements, expanding vocational education, easing accreditation for online educators and testing to prove competency.

Pay It Forward repayment schemes for student borrowers are flawed but fixable.

10 years after 10th grade …

Ten years after 10th grade, 33 percent of young people had earned bachelor’s degrees or higher, reports a longitudinal federal study. Nine percent reported their highest credential was an associate degree and 10 percent earned a certificate, Another third reported “some college” but no credential.

Sixty-three percent were working and finished with school; another 19 percent were working and taking college classes. Five percent were taking courses and not working, while 13 percent were out of work and out of school.

Forty percent of those who’d attended college did not take out student loans and another 16 percent borrowed less than $10,000.  Thirty-three percent borrowed $10,000 to $50,000 for college and 11 percent took out $50,000 or more in student loans.

High school grades strongly predicted college success. Only 12.4 percent of C students (2.0 to 2.49) and 27.6 percent of C+ students (2.5 to 2.99) earned a bachelor’s degree. That rose to 50.1 percent for B students  (3.00 to 3.49) and 76 percent for students with a 3.50 or better.

Rowe: College won’t pay off

“We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist,”, says Dirty Jobs‘ host Mike Rowe. “That’s nuts.”

College pays — $11

30-Year-Old Has Earned $11 More Than He Would Have Without College Education headlines The Onion. It’s a parody that’s all too close to reality.

“After accounting for the cost of tuition, four years of lost earning potential, and the minimal increase in salary an undergraduate degree provides,” 30-year-old Patrick Moorhouse of Dublin, Ohio has raised his earnings by $11, reports The Onion. Moorhouse’s more prestigious first-choice college would have led to $54 more in earnings, said researcher Ken Overton.

“If Patrick had started working straight out of high school, he would have had slightly fewer job options than he does now, but living at home instead of a dorm or student apartment even just those first two years would have added at least $16,000 in total savings, which pretty much evens things out.”

However, it’s impossible to “put a price on the 12 Post-WWII European History lectures Moorhouse attended junior year,” the study noted.

‘Paycheck’ aid shows promise

Disbursing student aid in smaller amounts every two weeks, “Aid Like a Paycheck,” encourages low-income college students to work harder in school and manage money better, a new study shows.

At a Hamilton Project forum today, participants presented new ideas for redesigning Pell Grants, income-based loan repayment and college cost calculators. 

Don’t worry. Keep borrowing

President Obama’s plan to rate colleges is “yet another mistaken attempt . . . to alleviate some of the symptoms of a problem without actually addressing the underlying disease,” writes Erika Johnsen. The other part of the plan — promoting income-based repayment — will make the disease worse.

The “easy, cheap and indiscriminate availability of student loans ” juices demand and helps universities raise their prices, writes Johnsen. The Obama administration keeps sending out “signals about how ‘easy’ it will be to repay these huge loans after you graduate with a little help from Your Friend, The Federal Government.”

Student loan defaults rise — again

Student loan default rates continue to rise. After two years, 10 percent of graduates and dropouts are in default; that rises to 14.7 percent after three years. That doesn’t count borrowers who aren’t paying the full amount but are in “forbearance” or income-based repayment programs.

Rating colleges by grads’ pay isn’t easy

If colleges and universities are judged by former students’ earnings, community colleges will look bad, a dean writes. When community college students go on to a bachelor’s degree, the two-year school gets no credit for their success.

Negotiators are trying to reach consensus on “gainful employment” regulations. The federal rules will deny student aid to job training programs whose graduates don’t earn enough to pay back their loans.

College debt hits $1.2 trillion

College debt has hit $1.2 trillion. Two-thirds of college students take out loans; the average borrower will graduate $26,600 in the red. One in 10 graduates owe more than $40,000.