T Nation

HR 4170, Student Loan Forgiveness

http://signon.org/sign/support-the-student-loan.fb1?source=s.fb&r_by=1110921

After the housing bubble I said that the next financial crisis would be due to student loan debt and the rate it has been increasing. I am not sure how I feel about this piece of legislation given that I was against the previous bailouts and that is exactly what this is. My personal belief is that there is no way the government can do this because it’s money that just does not exist. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the bill. What are your thoughts?

[quote]BeefEater wrote:
http://signon.org/sign/support-the-student-loan.fb1?source=s.fb&r_by=1110921

After the housing bubble I said that the next financial crisis would be due to student loan debt and the rate it has been increasing. I am not sure how I feel about this piece of legislation given that I was against the previous bailouts and that is exactly what this is. My personal belief is that there is no way the government can do this because it’s money that just does not exist. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the bill. What are your thoughts?[/quote]

This bill could be useful, but not without massive changes in the higher education system. This bill will take care of the symptom of the major issue, but not the cause. The main problem here is that people are paying too much money for college and are often unable to pay off their debts due to a number of reasons. One factor that is that people are increasingly getting degrees in fields that are not very lucrative such as literature, art, philosophy, literature, communications, etc. College tuition rates are the same, whether one majors in philosophy or nuclear physics. Tuition at the university that I teach at is around $20,000 per year for tuition, room & board. Who do you think will be better able to pay off a full cost of $80,000: engineering, computer science, physics majors or liberal arts majors? (most students do receive some financial aid and scholarships so most students at my school do not owe a full $80,000.) The number of people majoring in lucrative fields has been dropping in recent years and something needs to be done about this, and soon. There are a decent number of business and computer science majors at my school, but other fields that offer decent salaries (physics, mathematics, most engineering disciplines, etc) have experienced a sharp decline in students. Hell, with my budget right now I can afford (and could use) 4 graduate students, but I only have 2 because of the scarcity of qualified applicants, and my graduate students receive full tuition scholarships and around $2000 a month in stipends. 15 years ago I would have 100 qualified applicants for those 4 positions. My point is that until something is done about how much debt is accrued compared to expected salaries of graduates, this problem will not go away and all this bill will amount to is a temporary stall.

I paid my own friggin’ college. All of it. Worked as a male prostitute at in the evenings. Ran three card Monte games in the afternoon. Lived in a van down by the river.

Things got too tight, I sold plasma and sperm.

These pansy ass kids today are too soft. Probably look at you in horror if you suggested selling a kidney. Fucknuts…you got two of them don’t ya.

Pansies…

Matt,

I remember speaking with a Dentist who had a masters in physics. He went to school in the 60’s when there was money being thrown at Physics grad degree programs (cold war). The jobs were not there however, if you can believe that, and many Physics grads go into things like investment banking.

I also remember having conversations with fellow geology grads from the Oil shock years.

I would say the demand, and thus funding and availability is largely a reflection of economics at a given point in time.

yes, todays kids are too soft indeed. I myself fell victim to the “oh, I have 2 degrees and over a 3.0, here comes 50k+ after graduating”. Thankfully, my persistence paid off, but I also had two useful degrees.

FWIW, I can understand the concept of public loan forgiveness as a method to attract qualified candidates (masters level teachers, doctors, etc) to the public sector where inefficiency is rampant. The lower (sometimes) salary could be offset by public service.

As a whole though, the student loan industry is mostly mired in the easy money/ unassailable claims on debt situation that makes the government money. Unfortunately its really just a high interest loan to ourselves.

College education is good, the arts are good, but more emphasis should be placed on vocational applicability as well as critical thinking. both are lacking in all aspects of education.

[quote]666Rich wrote:
Matt,

I remember speaking with a Dentist who had a masters in physics. He went to school in the 60’s when there was money being thrown at Physics grad degree programs (cold war). The jobs were not there however, if you can believe that, and many Physics grads go into things like investment banking.

I also remember having conversations with fellow geology grads from the Oil shock years.

I would say the demand, and thus funding and availability is largely a reflection of economics at a given point in time.

yes, todays kids are too soft indeed. I myself fell victim to the “oh, I have 2 degrees and over a 3.0, here comes 50k+ after graduating”. Thankfully, my persistence paid off, but I also had two useful degrees.[/quote]

As far as getting a job as a physicist, anything less than a PhD is pretty useless, and getting a PhD in physics is extremely difficult because we tend to be pretty picky about our candidates and it is a difficult subject to master. At my university, we don’t just admit people with high GRE scores and high GPAs. We make them go before a panel of 3-5 professors and we give them an oral exam on topics they should have learned in undergrad like Field Theory, particle physics, nuclear physics, thermodynamics, classical mechanics, even math topics like partial differential equations. If they do not pass, they have to retake the undergrad courses and redo the board again the next year. If they fail again, they are out of the program. This may seem harsh, but physics is a tough area to study and we don’t suffer laziness or fools. PhD programs in physics tend to have a high drop out rate.

As far as your friend goes, his path is pretty common for those who don’t complete (or choose not to pursue) a PhD in physics. Physics degrees themselves are very useful in that they prepare you for several different potential professions. You will find a fair amount of physics majors working as engineers, computer programmers, economists, in finance, and many go on to trade based graduate schools like dental, medical, or law schools.

Not sure how I feel about this bill. From a purely personal standpoint this would help me immensely, but from a principled standpoint I tend to agree with Dr. Matt and you, Rich. There are always some bad situations that I feel debt forgiveness can qualify for, but I think on the other hand that if you major in, say sculpture, you should be thinking in advance about paying for college yourself with a part-time job and/or scholarships/ work-study whatever you can find, or you should be prepared to NOT be taking out all your student loan money every semester for “necessities” like flat screen TVs, spring break drinking money, or something of the like.

I personally knew far, far too many students who take out the maximum allowable every semester to spend on things like that. I think as a young newly-sort-of-independent person figuring things out some bad financial decisions are almost inevitable (I know I fell victim to that on more than on occasion with loan money, despite my very responsible upbringing from my parents), but on the whole as a pattern of behavior you should be DEFINITELY thinking ahead and putting in the hard time with a job for your spending/vacation money instead of using FAFSA money to take off to Vegas or buy yourself a damn motorcycle.

Regarding the bill itself, I don’t know enough about it yet to offer any opinion.

If this makes sense, I may not agree with bailing everyone out of their student loans but I would definitely take advantage of it if it was an option. I got out of undergrad with only a couple K worth of debt. My undergrad was in veterinary science (basically microbiology with some animal anatomy thrown in) with a minor in chemistry. I just recently got my Masters in Animal Science (Ruminant Nutrition), picked up about 30K of debt for it, still not too bad debt wise. But now I’m in veterinary school and its 52K a year for tuition alone.(Cue the violins) Which is equal to many med schools, but the issue is I’m not going to be getting out making what a human doctor will and have incurred the same debt. The problem is because of student loans and funding cuts, tuition has gone through the roof to try and cover it. I get that I knew what I was getting into going into veterinary school and have been working on means of paying off my debt as soon as possible with either government work or becoming a veterinary for the army. My goal is to have my loans paid off in 10 years one way or another. And if I could utilize this method and have the ability to develop my own food animal practice I would do it in a second.

Fuck it. America is broke and only getting broke-er. That hasn’t stopped you guys yet.

Offer no-strings financial help on useful degrees (Engineering, Sciences, Medicine, Architecture, actual Music, etc). If some snot nosed little hipster wants to piss away his life doing an Arts degree, then he can do it on his own dime.

And while we’re at it, entry requirements should require kids to actually pay attention in school. University level study isn’t for everyone, so we should stop pretending it is. For example - Architecture should require electives from High School that are relevant (Physics, some form of Art). Engineering should require the relevant science (Physics, Biology, Chemistry). And so forth.

There we go - less idiots in University dropping out and clogging the system in the months before they drop out, and less loans being handed out to people that have a small probability of finding a job that will let them pay it back.

The consequence of the “everybody can do a degree” attitude is that most employers expect degree level qualifications for jobs that once only required a Diploma or even Trade Certificate. The amount of employers who seem to think you need a PhD for flipping burgers just because of how easy University is would surprise even the most cynical of you.

In Britain something like 20% of engineering graduates go and work in engineering. The same is similar for physics/chemistry graduates. Almost all the rest go into banking - it’s our biggest industry. My girlfriend just got a job working for a company in green chemistry for when she leaves university - there were 60 other applicants, all university educated.

5 had PHDs apparently. The companies still hiring not only want grads they want experience which is almost impossible to get in. Ther are subsidies from the government for STEM subjects but they need to be tied to employment

I have secured a decent job and I do an english degree but I’m aware I’m the exception not the rule

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
Not sure how I feel about this bill. From a purely personal standpoint this would help me immensely, but from a principled standpoint I tend to agree with Dr. Matt and you, Rich. There are always some bad situations that I feel debt forgiveness can qualify for, but I think on the other hand that if you major in, say sculpture, you should be thinking in advance about paying for college yourself with a part-time job and/or scholarships/ work-study whatever you can find, or you should be prepared to NOT be taking out all your student loan money every semester for “necessities” like flat screen TVs, spring break drinking money, or something of the like.

I personally knew far, far too many students who take out the maximum allowable every semester to spend on things like that. I think as a young newly-sort-of-independent person figuring things out some bad financial decisions are almost inevitable (I know I fell victim to that on more than on occasion with loan money, despite my very responsible upbringing from my parents), but on the whole as a pattern of behavior you should be DEFINITELY thinking ahead and putting in the hard time with a job for your spending/vacation money instead of using FAFSA money to take off to Vegas or buy yourself a damn motorcycle.

Regarding the bill itself, I don’t know enough about it yet to offer any opinion. [/quote]

Very good post. Most people see the student loan as ‘to spend’ - if you budget well and work part time jobs you can have a substantial amount left over by the end. And it’s usually the people who’ve sorted themselves out with work/internships, contacts who normally do this

Education costs go up way more than inflation because the govt will guarantee student loans to infinity to people who can barely sign a legal document.

Comparing paying for college in the past is not relevant to today because college is much more expensive relatively.

The debt is fraud as much as NINJA loans were.

The problem is the pensions, etc that own these loans have them as “assets” when they are worthless debt being serviced by force of the govt. Risk on these assets is completely disconnected from reward.

How I feel about this plan is meh. How I feel about bankrupcy law being circumvented to enable credit expansion is disgusted.

[quote]Makavali wrote:
Offer no-strings financial help on useful degrees (Engineering, Sciences, Medicine, Architecture, actual Music, etc). If some snot nosed little hipster wants to piss away his life doing an Arts degree, then he can do it on his own dime.

And while we’re at it, entry requirements should require kids to actually pay attention in school. University level study isn’t for everyone, so we should stop pretending it is. For example - Architecture should require electives from High School that are relevant (Physics, some form of Art). Engineering should require the relevant science (Physics, Biology, Chemistry). And so forth.

There we go - less idiots in University dropping out and clogging the system in the months before they drop out, and less loans being handed out to people that have a small probability of finding a job that will let them pay it back.

The consequence of the “everybody can do a degree” attitude is that most employers expect degree level qualifications for jobs that once only required a Diploma or even Trade Certificate. The amount of employers who seem to think you need a PhD for flipping burgers just because of how easy University is would surprise even the most cynical of you.[/quote]

This is getting to be a huge problem at my university. There is a growing sense of entitlement among my new students that has become more and more noticeable in recent years. They seem to think that just because they got accepted to the school and show up, they deserve a degree. That may work for some degrees, but not in my field, or most fields that offer decent wages. Getting a physics degree requires a lot of work, whether you have an IQ of 190 or 100. Anybody who claims to have gotten a physics or engineering or similar degree without spending a ridiculous amount of time studying is full of shit. The problem is that each year I get way too many freshman students that fail/drop my introductory classes simply because they do not put in the time required to pass.

Here is the funny/sad part: More than a few of these students try to blame ME, or whomever their professor is, for THEM failing. I have heard the remark “I am paying you to teach me. You should be putting in more effort to make sure I pass.” I always laugh when I hear something like this. Students pay for the opportunity to come to class and learn and show their proficiency through tests and such. If you do this, THEN you are granted a degree. I don’t care if a student pays 20 grand a year, if they do not study they fail. It is that simple.

I really wish I knew where this sense of entitlement came from so it can be stopped.

[quote]Dr.Matt581 wrote:

[quote]Makavali wrote:
Offer no-strings financial help on useful degrees (Engineering, Sciences, Medicine, Architecture, actual Music, etc). If some snot nosed little hipster wants to piss away his life doing an Arts degree, then he can do it on his own dime.

And while we’re at it, entry requirements should require kids to actually pay attention in school. University level study isn’t for everyone, so we should stop pretending it is. For example - Architecture should require electives from High School that are relevant (Physics, some form of Art). Engineering should require the relevant science (Physics, Biology, Chemistry). And so forth.

There we go - less idiots in University dropping out and clogging the system in the months before they drop out, and less loans being handed out to people that have a small probability of finding a job that will let them pay it back.

The consequence of the “everybody can do a degree” attitude is that most employers expect degree level qualifications for jobs that once only required a Diploma or even Trade Certificate. The amount of employers who seem to think you need a PhD for flipping burgers just because of how easy University is would surprise even the most cynical of you.

This is getting to be a huge problem at my university. There is a growing sense of entitlement among my new students that has become more and more noticeable in recent years. They seem to think that just because they got accepted to the school and show up, they deserve a degree. That may work for some degrees, but not in my field, or most fields that offer decent wages. Getting a physics degree requires a lot of work, whether you have an IQ of 190 or 100. Anybody who claims to have gotten a physics or engineering or similar degree without spending a ridiculous amount of time studying is full of shit. The problem is that each year I get way too many freshman students that fail/drop my introductory classes simply because they do not put in the time required to pass.

Here is the funny/sad part: More than a few of these students try to blame ME, or whomever their professor is, for THEM failing. I have heard the remark “I am paying you to teach me. You should be putting in more effort to make sure I pass.” I always laugh when I hear something like this. Students pay for the opportunity to come to class and learn and show their proficiency through tests and such. If you do this, THEN you are granted a degree. I don’t care if a student pays 20 grand a year, if they do not study they fail. It is that simple.

I really wish I knew where this sense of entitlement came from so it can be stopped. [/quote]

Oh I know where it comes from, I substitute taught grades K-12 for a year after my undergrad and kids today basically can’t fail out. Every parent thinks their kid is a genius and if they fail a test or assignment, the teacher gets an earful for not doing their job. So you know what the teacher does, follows the path of least resistance and instead of failing students and having to deal with them for another year, they just pass them along. I had high schools that couldn’t write a cohesive essay or even do basic multiplications. It was ridiculous. But sure enough they graduated.

To further the problems, it seems like no one recommends vocational schools anymore, everyone thinks college is the only option. So you get these kids that come out of high school, not having basic skills they should have learned. Furthermore they’ve never been challenged to actually do good work, so they have no idea when they get to college and have this sense of entitlement because they got through the “rigors” of high school relatively easily. When an instructor tells them their work is crap, they don’t know how to take it and the only option in their eyes is that the instructor failed them…

Hell, even when I did high school which wasn’t long ago (2004), guidance counselors were shocked that I wanted to take physics instead of earth science as a senior. They practically pleaded with me to take earth science because it was a guaranteed “A” for a senior. It just goes back to that path of least resistance.

Okay tried fixing the above post like 6 times, but it keeps reverting back to a mess…

What needs to be done with respect to student loans is to abolish government guarantees and make them dischargeable in bankruptcy. I sympathize with the people who got into trouble with student loan debt because it is a truly predatory and unfair system right now.

[quote]belligerent wrote:
What needs to be done with respect to student loans is to abolish government guarantees and make them dischargeable in bankruptcy. I sympathize with the people who got into trouble with student loan debt because it is a truly predatory and unfair system right now.[/quote]

Yes! Lending would reflect the rewards inherent in the investment. Bad lending would be punished with defaults. College would not cost so much as to make one an indentured servant upon graduation. HOUSING, that will choke the economy for years to come, would be an investment option for college grads that wouldnt have a mortgage worth of debt by senior year. There are so many ways this makes sense but the well-intentioned idea “to help people go to college” was a too slippery a slope.

[quote]UAphenix wrote:

[quote]Dr.Matt581 wrote:

[quote]Makavali wrote:
Offer no-strings financial help on useful degrees (Engineering, Sciences, Medicine, Architecture, actual Music, etc). If some snot nosed little hipster wants to piss away his life doing an Arts degree, then he can do it on his own dime.

And while we’re at it, entry requirements should require kids to actually pay attention in school. University level study isn’t for everyone, so we should stop pretending it is. For example - Architecture should require electives from High School that are relevant (Physics, some form of Art). Engineering should require the relevant science (Physics, Biology, Chemistry). And so forth.

There we go - less idiots in University dropping out and clogging the system in the months before they drop out, and less loans being handed out to people that have a small probability of finding a job that will let them pay it back.

The consequence of the “everybody can do a degree” attitude is that most employers expect degree level qualifications for jobs that once only required a Diploma or even Trade Certificate. The amount of employers who seem to think you need a PhD for flipping burgers just because of how easy University is would surprise even the most cynical of you. [/quote]

This is getting to be a huge problem at my university. There is a growing sense of entitlement among my new students that has become more and more noticeable in recent years. They seem to think that just because they got accepted to the school and show up, they deserve a degree. That may work for some degrees, but not in my field, or most fields that offer decent wages. Getting a physics degree requires a lot of work, whether you have an IQ of 190 or 100. Anybody who claims to have gotten a physics or engineering or similar degree without spending a ridiculous amount of time studying is full of shit. The problem is that each year I get way too many freshman students that fail/drop my introductory classes simply because they do not put in the time required to pass.

Here is the funny/sad part: More than a few of these students try to blame ME, or whomever their professor is, for THEM failing. I have heard the remark “I am paying you to teach me. You should be putting in more effort to make sure I pass.” I always laugh when I hear something like this. Students pay for the opportunity to come to class and learn and show their proficiency through tests and such. If you do this, THEN you are granted a degree. I don’t care if a student pays 20 grand a year, if they do not study they fail. It is that simple.

I really wish I knew where this sense of entitlement came from so it can be stopped. [/quote]

Oh I know where it comes from, I substitute taught grades K-12 for a year after my undergrad and kids today basically can’t fail out. Every parent thinks their kid is a genius and if they fail a test or assignment, the teacher gets an earful for not doing their job. So you know what the teacher does, follows the path of least resistance and instead of failing students and having to deal with them for another year, they just pass them along. I had high schools that couldn’t write a cohesive essay or even do basic multiplications. It was ridiculous. But sure enough they graduated.

To further the problems, it seems like no one recommends vocational schools anymore, everyone thinks college is the only option. So you get these kids that come out of high school, not having basic skills they should have learned. Furthermore they’ve never been challenged to actually do good work, so they have no idea when they get to college and have this sense of entitlement because they got through the “rigors” of high school relatively easily. When an instructor tells them their work is crap, they don’t know how to take it and the only option in their eyes is that the instructor failed them…

Hell, even when I did high school which wasn’t long ago (2004), guidance counselors were shocked that I wanted to take physics instead of earth science as a senior. They practically pleaded with me to take earth science because it was a guaranteed “A” for a senior. It just goes back to that path of least resistance. [/quote]

[quote]UAphenix wrote:
Okay tried fixing the above post like 6 times, but it keeps reverting back to a mess…[/quote]

That is because you do not follow the orion thingy theory, OTT for short.