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What’s your experience with student loan debt?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on April 25, 2012

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Photo of Ashleigh Finnley

“I’m fortunate — my parents have paid for three-quarters of my student loans. My portion is about $10- to $15,000.”

Photo of Baus Ade

“I have a little over $20,000 in student loans. I’m much in favor of interest rates staying low.”

Photo of Grace Smith

“It’s really important that students now know where there loans are and their balances, plus there’s no an income-based repayment option.”

Photo of Valerie Walthall

“I took out private loans and they’re now paid off. It’s nothing like what students do now — it makes it hard for those 20 to 40 to afford anything else. We don’t think students are getting properly educated on their options.”


Rara_Avis 6 years, 1 month ago

They make me wanna holla. They also give me the workingman's blues. Incidentally, this is the best cover of a Bob Dylan song I've ever heard. Dig.

Bill Lee 6 years, 1 month ago

I had to get a few extensions over the years, but I paid 'em off a long time ago.

JackMcKee 6 years, 1 month ago

Scholarships kiddies. There is an alternative.

DillonBarnes 6 years, 1 month ago

Right, because there are enough scholarships out there to cover all the students at tens of thousands of dollars.

JackMcKee 6 years, 1 month ago

I never had any trouble finding schollies. There are lots of them out there. You might have to try to get 8,9, 10 or more to cover most of your costs. A lot of kids are just too lazy to look. The student loan is just too easy. I also knew lots of people that used their loans to pay for trips and partying.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

I did get as many scholarships as I could and it still came nowhere close to the amount of tuition, living expenses, books, etc. I also went to a private school. Big mistake. I would not owe nearly as much as I do now if I had gone to a public university.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

That is not an option any more. Unless you get a full-ride scholarship, or your parents help you pay, there is not enough hours in a work week to pay for college expenses. I know this from experience. I worked 3 jobs while in college and still had to take out about $40,000 in loans by the time I was done. I also went to a private college, which is much more expensive than public. That was my first big mistake in life...

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Had it, paid it off without whining and threatening public defecation.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

In other debt news, the Mope is being mighty darned deceptive again.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 1 month ago

I paid mine off. Low interest is good, loan forgivness is bad.

labmonkey 6 years, 1 month ago

That is why you go to a smaller state school like Pittstate or Emporia State if you cannot afford KU.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

KU is cheap! The college I went to was $23,000/year.

DillonBarnes 6 years, 1 month ago

This summer I will take my final two classes of my college career. A mere 6 hours of classes, here's my cost:

6 Hours basic tuition: $1,460 Technology Fee: $60 Campus Fee: $224 Business Classes Fee: $650 Estimated Books: $200

A total just shy of $2600, this of course does not include rent, utilities, food, fuel.

A quick search (granted, it's through KUs website, so not exclusive) shows 44 outside scholarship opportunities. Examining those scholarships shows I'm inelligable for at least half of them due to my age, sex, or ethnic background. The rest are national scholarships, in which tens of thousands of students will apply for a single $1000 scholarship.

Don't take this as a whine. I took on my debt and I'll pay it off, but to imply that some of us are just too lazy and that's the only reason we take on student loans is absurd. College cost is different today than it was 40, 30, even 10 years ago.

Hooligan_016 6 years, 1 month ago

This seems like a completely rational summation, and I would agree with it (sounds pretty similar to my experiences over the past 7 years). I'm sure someone will be here momentarily to say you (we) somehow didn't do it right.

tbaker 6 years, 1 month ago

I have no experience with student loan debt becuase I held a full-time job all four years of college. Thats how I paid for my undergraduate degree. One of the main reasons college is so expensive today is becuase of all the different government hand-out programs. Economics 101: If someone other than the end-user is paying for it, the price will dramatically increase. Those unlucky folks who can't get a hand-out get stuck paying the inflated full price, and pile up huge student loan debt as a result. 2 out of 3 college grads end up unemployed and back in Mom and Dad's basement nowadays, and the 1 who does get a job is most likely working in a field unrelated to their degree.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

Costs are not even close to the same as when you were in school. If I had worked every hour of every day in the year, I still would not have had enough money to cover tuition and other expenses. I worked 3 jobs, plus had to keep my grades up to an A average or I would have lost the scholarships. Public Universities are the way to go. Forget private colleges; they're at least 3 to 4 times more expensive! Wish someone would have warned me when I started college.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

Nice that you should ask. ,For people my age it was a different problem . Borrowing depended on a commercial loan with no government support. Many students depended on scholarships. The rest worked. My senior year National Defense Student Loans appeared. To get one you had to be in an academic program where the country had a shortage.

Bottom line. The government has already made getting a college education mush easier than it was for earlier generations. Perhaps we should make a college education a right and have it all taxpayer supported?! No loans just free classes. The same 50% of the people who pay for all the other goodies we provide can dig a little deeper and pay for it.

tbaker 6 years, 1 month ago

"Lots of things about my 20s that I would do differently."

You made my day!

labmonkey 6 years, 1 month ago

The government should only give student loans to those who are entering majors that will help them get careers... science and math majors especially. No loans for art, art history, and such. It's hard to pay back a $40K student loan when you work at Starbucks. I am sick of those with art history degrees begging for loan forgiveness when they chose a major they knew would not get them a job.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 1 month ago

+1 -- It ought to be a crime for the Universities to churn out degrees when they know there are not enough jobs for all those they graduate. The Universities are in it for themselves, not for their product.

labmonkey 6 years, 1 month ago

Also, people need to quit trying to get into private schools or out of state schools if they cannot afford it. In most cases, an in-state school degree will get you the same job as an out of state or big name school degree. When the graduate issue of our little work flier came out last year, I noticed one guy's daughter was going to Vanderbilt University to become an elementary teacher. I really question the wisdom in that when she could have went to an instate school for about 1/10th the cost.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

Wish someone would have warned me, or educated me more on my options back when I chose a college. My mom worked at the private school I chose, so I would have gotten a free-ride. No brainer on which college I enrolled in. Unfortunately, when it came time for school to start, my mom had to quit working due to health reasons. Even though she worked there for 3+ years, I did not get a dime for tuition. The $23,000/year school would not have been my choice if I knew my mom would not be able to work by the time I attended.

RoeDapple 6 years, 1 month ago

I've been so busy being a "bitter baby boomer aged poster" that I never added it up. Let's see . . . got married my wife's senior year so paid for that, put her through her Master's program plus an additional 36 hours, paid for Bachelor's program for two children, so . . . maybe $120 - $150 thousand all together. $12 grand in student loans when they both were in school the same year, otherwise paid as we went. All worth it, paid for mostly on a lowly truck driver's pay.

Probably would have been more but we insisted they maintain PT jobs while going to school. Amazing how they went from demanding $120 jeans and $150 shoes to finding great deals at K-Mart/Walmart/Target . . . . .

RoeDapple 6 years, 1 month ago

I worked in a rock quarry once . . . as a rock crusher operator. Very satisfying line of work.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 1 month ago

Those that have student loans should strive to repay their obligations. But I'm still interested to know: What is the total dollar amount of tuition paid annually for all undergraduates across the country? What is the annual dollar amount of oil industry tax incentives? What is the annual cost of fighting one or two wars? What is the annual revenue amount left on the table from the Bush era tax cuts? USA has plenty of money. We just usually spend it on the wrong things. The greatness of America should, by now, have our educational opportunities & institutions decades ahead of everyone else.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

I do not like paying for oil exploration either - unless I get to benefit from the result - which I do if it is domestic.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

BABBOY will probably be getting his own reality show now that he's hit the big time!

average 6 years, 1 month ago

I have a metric butt-ton of student loans. An absurdly high amount considering all the good my degrees (engineering school, no less) have done for me.

That said, they're fixed at 4% (effectively lower than that with the tax deduction) with a 30-year payoff window. I have the money on hand to pay them off today. At sub-4% interest, though, the question is "why would I?". Long-term, I hope investments equal or best 4%. I have flexibility now. And, it's even a little bit of an insurance policy. If I died, my wife wouldn't be stuck with the loans, but could keep our cash.

labmonkey 6 years, 1 month ago

You are making the basic Bruce Williams argument. While I see that side of the argument, I would rather have the piece of mind of being debt free. You never know what the government might do in the future as it goes further into debt, and I would hate having 30 years of debt before me.

Jimo 6 years, 1 month ago

Romney's advice on student debt: make your first million dollars at birth! (It's surprising how easy the rest of life is, including giving advice to poor people.)

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

And taxing others to finance what you want

Jimo 6 years, 1 month ago

There are people out there who want an uneducated populace? Again, moving to Somalia if you want to live like a Somalian!

Do you seriously think that education is only a benefit to the student? Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

Primarily, I do. I think the notion that education in and of itself pays for itself is overstated and politically motivated.

Certainly having an educated workforce benefits us all. Having an educated eloctorate is also beneficial to the country.

But their is no reputable argument that everyone having a college degree plus is the correct level of public education.

INHO I can achieve both of my goals by changing curriculm in high school and selectively accommodating curriculm that really does support our economic competition at the college level

A four or five year "vacation" for a significant portion of the rising generation is a waste of needed public resources and -dare I say it - an entitlement we just can not afford. Those demanding it are - to put it simply - greedy

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