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How much debt did you have when you left college?

Response Percent Votes
36% 347
$10,000 to $25,000
14% 137
$25,000 to $50,000
13% 126
Up to $10,000
11% 111
I didn’t attend college
8% 81
$50,000 to $75,000
6% 59
More than $100,000
3% 37
I’m still in college
2% 26
$75,000 to $100,000
2% 24
Total 948


rachelind 1 year, 11 months ago

50K in debt. No help from mom & dad, (or anyone else). My son was born my sophomore year, and the cheapest rent available was $400/ month + utilities. I've worked 30 hours a week since he was 3 months old, and at one point commuted to Topeka for a job while going to school full time because guess what? You literally CANNOT get a decent job (aka with those silly entitlements like health insurance or a 401k) without some kind of degree.

My reward for working so hard? 6% (and rising) interest rates on top of $500/ month loan payments. Awesome.


autie 1 year, 11 months ago

uh..debt after a college..after thinking on this for some time I may still owe RM about $45 for a bag of pot. But RM took that on a front so the only one out anything was that other guy....I think he wrote off the debt. It was only 34 years ago.


Shane Garrett 1 year, 11 months ago

Asixbury: you are correct. Do the math. If "back in the day" the wage was 1.25 and hour how many hours does one have to work in order to the rent of 100.00 a month, had to live with a roommate of course, and a 500.00 semester tuition cost? Compared to this century's cost.


Cait McKnelly 1 year, 11 months ago

I only took out one, very small, short term loan, in 1986, that was directly provided by the university and paid back by the end of the semester. Other than that, I worked my way through. It was actually still possible to do that, even then. "Working your way through college" is simply not feasible, now.


Jimo 1 year, 11 months ago

Why not none? Just sell off some of the stock your father gave you. Doesn't everyone?

As Ann Romney recently explained: They were not easy years. You have to understand, I was raised in a lovely neighborhood, as was Mitt, and at BYU, we moved into a $62-a-month basement apartment with a cement floor and lived there two years as students with no income. It was tiny. And I didn’t have money to carpet the floor. But you can get remnants, samples, so I glued them together, all different colors. It looked awful, but it was carpeting. We were happy, studying hard. Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time. The stock came from Mitt’s father.


Mike Gerhardt 1 year, 11 months ago

none. The Army paid for most of it iver a 20 year span and I paid the rest out of pocket without a loan.


verity 1 year, 11 months ago

People who criticize "kids today" for having a bad work ethic apparently don't know too many kids today and just like to criticize, pulling anything out of the air that they can. I've met many people of all ages who have a great work ethic.

I graduated from college in 1970 with $250 debt. I held part-time jobs and worked full-time one semester---also thanks Mom and Dad---it was very important to them that I have a college degree. This was a combination of private and state schools. My first semester at a state college cost me a little over $400 for everything---tuition, room and board, books---if I remember correctly, certainly less than $500. Altogether, I probably spent less than $8,000 for 4.5 years of college. Even considering inflation, I don't think that would go very far today.

Perhaps college isn't for everybody, but I haven't found any part of my education not useful. Some people scoff at a liberal arts education, but it's surprising how knowing what some would consider esoteric facts can help you out in what might be considered an unrelated job or activity. Knowledge never goes to waste.

My parents lived through the depression of the thirties and remember what happened in Germany after WWI. They told me that everything I owned might disappear, but that my education could never be taken away from me.


Charlie Bannister 1 year, 11 months ago

Saved all through high school with part time jobs, that included such things as back breaking labor for farmers. Worked numerous part time jobs through college, studied my rear end off, never took a loan out, and graduated debt free. So I have ZERO sympathy for you if you have college debt. You took out the loans, so you pay them off. Period.


reality_check79 1 year, 11 months ago

my son was born while I was in school so my debt was out of control... now its not so bad, but I am lucky...


jedifunk 1 year, 11 months ago

I graduated debt-free last year from a private university. Thanks Mom and Dad!


sierraclub 1 year, 11 months ago

$26 per credit hour. About 14-16 hours per semster. Rent was only $160 per month. This was in the 80's. Maybe $3k in debt. Paid it off in one year after I got out. My siblings did the same!


acg 1 year, 11 months ago

I love reading a post from someone who's all "I don't understand why these kids have this huge student loan problem. Boy, back when I went to college in 1947...." Well there's your answer. In 1947, the world gave a crap if you got an education. Not so much anymore. Now they only give a crap if they make a ton of $$ and if you, your kid or your grandkid's education gets lost in the shuffle, then oh, well. Tuition costs are ridiculous and I'm glad someone's trying to do something about them. It won't work, though, because no matter how hard this administration tries to help the little man and the middle man, the racists and the richies slam it down. It's sad. :(


bevy 1 year, 11 months ago

The problem, as I see it, is two-fold. First, the cost of tuition has skyrocketed far beyond the increases in earninigs that a college education supposedly provides. Second, it is too easy to get too far into debt, especially for young kids who may not have much in the way of financial savvy. (Their parents may not, either.)

A third issue is that for many years now, educational systems have pushed the idea that ALL students should attend college. That is simply not realistic. Some students are not cut out for college, but parents are made to feel like failures if their kids don't go. My daughter (a very smart kid with high SAT and ACT scores) burned a whole year at a university before finally deciding to follow her passion and complete massage therapy school. Massage school cost 14K, but she got scholarships and grants and worked to pay for most of it. (I helped out with the rest.) She was one in 14 months and has a marketable skillset. Her reasons for trying college first - she felt that she had to, because she was smart.

I have a friend who is 70K in debt and has a home ec degree. I don't know how she will ever pay that back.


irvan moore 1 year, 11 months ago

i owed the guy who sold those bags of you know what $30. for a couple of lids but i paid him a week or 2 later


asixbury 1 year, 11 months ago

Between my husband and I, both going to undergrad & grad school, we owe about $75,000 together. I am glad the government loans are dropped after 25 years of repayment, because I do not think it will be paid off by then. It's ridiculous how much college costs nowadays. We should not have gone to a private school, either. Wish someone would have gave me better advice when I was choosing a college. No one in our families had gone to college before us, so there was no one to give advice. And no money from either side to help with tuition (not that we expected there to be).


sigephandy 1 year, 11 months ago

Student loans were my only option to pay for college and grad school in addition to working full time. Between my wife and I we pay $500 month in student loan payments. We will have them paid off only two years before my 4 month son will be college age. All of that to make less that $40,000 a year and I work for a university (not thein Lawrence.) It is my hope that when my son is ready for college that he decides to go where ever I am working at the time so tuition will only be half price or less.


gphawk89 1 year, 11 months ago

None. I too was fortunate enough to receive several scholarships and grants that ended up paying for everything. I actually came out a few hundred bucks ahead my junior year. Living and "working" in a scholarship hall helped, too. And 80's costs (versus today's) helped a lot. Tuition was around $650 per semester and I think the all sports pass was $45 at the time. Room and board was something like $210 per month.


naturenut 1 year, 11 months ago

I was extremely fortunate to have went to college on a full scholarship in the late 80's so I know very little about the loan process. I would hope that when a 17 or 18 year old is taking out an educational loan, someone would ask what they plan to study and look at the average salaries in that field. I know many who studied liberal arts who even fully employed are not able to live independently and pay back their full loan. You can call the student stupid, but loaning 80,000 to a 17 year old who says she wants to study dance is stupid. Did you really think Ms. Ballerina was going to be able to pay you back? Ask a car dealer to give you a car when you are 18, have no job, and have no cosigner, but tell them you are going to be a ballerina when you grow up, and see if they will let you drive away with the car for 4 or more years without making a payment.


blindrabbit 1 year, 11 months ago

None: Worked at least 20 hours per week while in undergrad and grad schools. Also, eligible for 4 1/2 years of G.I. Bill payments! Solution, make student loans more affordable and more forgivable (in certain circumstances such as teachers, medical professionals and placement in remote locations). Romney's solution to the problem "Choose a less expensive school" , sounds like a silver spooner arrogant who has little understanding how most people exist!


its_just_math 1 year, 11 months ago

Many on this forum apparently threw alot of money down the drain for nothing....not mentioning any names, just saying....


My_Life 1 year, 11 months ago

Four separate college degrees and no debt. Lots of hard work.


gccs14r 1 year, 11 months ago

Poll answers are going to be age-dependent. Back when tuition was $9 an hour and it was possible to live on $100 a month, any accumulated debt was much lower than it is now.


bobberboy 1 year, 11 months ago

M.S. = more of the same PhD = piled higher and deeper.


George_Braziller 1 year, 11 months ago

I never took out any student loans. I worked full time during the summers and 1/2-3/4 time during the school year and as many additional hours as possible during spring and winter breaks. I also lived with my parents during the summer so I wouldn't have to pay rent and could save every penny possible for school.


Clara Westphal 1 year, 11 months ago

If you go further back in years, there was no federal student aid. I was fortunate to be able to live in Watkins Hall which helped with expenses. I also worked part -time. With a little help from my mom, I managed to graduate with no debt.

I graduated in 1951.


Beth Bird 1 year, 11 months ago

None? Really? I find that hard to believe that 42% left college with no student loan debt....


JayhawksandHerd 1 year, 11 months ago

College wasn't so bad. Grad school? Ouch...


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