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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


JayhawksandHerd 6 years, 1 month ago

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

Beth Bird 6 years, 1 month ago

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

Abdu Omar 6 years, 1 month ago

Or they worked parttime to pay the bills. I had a scholarship from the Military but didn't use it until I went to grad school, so I had to work. I taught school (6-8th grade) for two years while I completed my bachelor's degree. Then when I went to grad school, I used the scholarship and the GI bill and got a masters and most of my PhD.

Clara Westphal 6 years, 1 month 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.

Hooligan_016 6 years, 1 month ago

It really is impossible to compare 1951 with the current university system. I too was a full time student and worked part time, but that was only able to cover my living expenses and occasionally books at best. Undergrad and Grad school ran me up to $30k in loans by the time i was done last year.

Hooligan_016 6 years ago

Haha, right.

I've been continuously employed (at least part time) since I was 16. I still couldn't earn enough on those low wages to pay my living expenses and afford tuition. However, I think my total of 30k in loans for undergrad and graduate school is manageable. Just think the interest rate should be a bit lower though ...

asixbury 6 years ago

+1 I worked since I was 10 years old. Started out babysitting. I never expected handouts. My parents could not give the handouts even if I asked. So I grew up knowing that if I wanted something, I would have to earn it for myself.

George_Braziller 6 years, 1 month 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.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

That worked in your day, but when I went to college, I could have worked nonstop all year and still not put a dent in tuition.

George_Braziller 6 years, 1 month ago

"In my day?" I'm not 150 years old.

It took me five years to get through a four year program because I had to work every moment to pay for the next semester's expenses.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

When did you attend college? I'm sure it was a lot less expensive as it was when I attended. No amount of working jobs would pay for the tuition, room and board, and other expenses that occurs now.

George_Braziller 6 years, 1 month ago

So you went to a private school and were paying $23,000 a year in tuition?

"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."

Cry me a river about your debt. Did you ever think about transferring to a different school with lower tuition? I'm sorry but this is really simple math.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

If you read my other posts, I did say going to a private school was the worst decision I have made in my adult life. I would have transferred, if there were any public schools in my area. I did not have money to move to a state school (which the closest one was several hours away). By the time my mom had to stop working, I was already enrolled and had no time to switch schools.

gccs14r 6 years, 1 month 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.

Shane Garrett 6 years ago

Even though minimum wage was 1.25 an hour, students working part time during the year and full time during the summer could meet most of their expenses. I remember an older gentleman telling the great story of his college life.

Got a small track scholarship to KSU; so he left the rural farm in Georgia, were he worked the fields with his father. He lived in a room in the basement of a college professor. He ate potatoes Monday through Saturday, and allowed himself to dine on a couple of hot dogs on Sundays.

And during the late fifties my father drove a truck for three cents a mile and used to complain about a restaurant breakfast of two eggs, toast and coffee costing 1.25. So this younger generation needs to toughen up a little and stop the expectations.

asixbury 6 years ago

I don't have any expectations. I went in to college knowing I would have to pay my way through. I did not expect anyone, not even my parents, to pay my tuition, so I don't expect them to pay my loans now. My point is, you cannot work enough to pay tuition at a lot of colleges nowadays. You have to have help; be it through loans, parents, scholarships, what have you. It is almost impossible for a poor kid, with no savings, no parental help, to make it through without loans. I worked 3 jobs, had as many scholarships as I could get, and still had to take out loans. It is not as clear-cut as simply being lazy. I worked hard my entire life. I know what tough is.

blindrabbit 6 years, 1 month 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!

curmudgeon 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't think Obama actually said that, so you should remove the quotation marks...

FAUX NEWS--Where you can get the latest twisted news! Twisted the way Republicans want it!

naturenut 6 years, 1 month 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.

gphawk89 6 years, 1 month 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.

JackMcKee 6 years, 1 month ago

The only years I didn't have a full ride scholly/stipend was Freshman and Sophomore years. Of course, room and board were like $350 per month and tuition was flat in-state of about $1500. Books were maybe $300 per semester. I could have just about paid for an entire college career for the cost of one semester today. Which is why it's all the more important these days to put in the effort to apply for scholarships, grants and TA positions.

sigephandy 6 years, 1 month 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.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month 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).

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

I had huge scholarships too, but they still weren't enough to cover all the expenses. My husband's schooling was the most expensive. He's a chemist; you know how much their books and supplies cost?!

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month 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

bevy 6 years, 1 month 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.

acg 6 years, 1 month 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. :(

jedifunk 6 years, 1 month ago

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

jedifunk 6 years, 1 month ago

I guess it's a double thanks: they pushed me to get the good grades I needed to get lots of scholarships, and then the savings (that they'd been building for me since my birth) paid for the rest.

Anthony Mall 6 years, 1 month 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...

Charlie Bannister 6 years, 1 month 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.

asixbury 6 years, 1 month ago

Could your part time jobs pay $20,000+ per year, not including books and other expenses? You obviously attended college in a time when it was actually affordable. It is extremely hard for students nowadays to graduate without debt. I have a ton of debt, and probably will be paying off those school loans for the rest of my life. I had a lot of scholarships, grants, and worked 3 part-time jobs while I attended college; all while keeping up an "A" average (had to to keep my scholarships). I still wound up with about $40,000 in school loan debt. If I could have, I would not have taken out a loan either. That was not possible for my, and many other people's situations.

verity 6 years, 1 month 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.

Jimo 6 years, 1 month 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.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month 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.

asixbury 6 years ago

Glad someone can comprehend that college expenses now and then are just simply not comparable.

Shane Garrett 6 years 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.

rachelind 6 years 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.

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