#CollegeGrads #employment #jobs #StudentDebt
It may be the best time to graduate college since the Great Recession. But they are still not great.
So writes Ruth Serven of The Kansas City Star. Her story was published July 3, 2016, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The unemployment rate for college grads is less than 5 percent, and job prospects are getting brighter, Serven writes. But 45 percent of those recent grads have jobs that don’t require their degrees, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Serven writes.
Though there is more work available, grads still face stagnant wages and the highest debt load ever, the article says.
In fact, 42 million people owe $1.3 trillion in student debt, according to the cover story in the August 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, which condensed and reprinted an article by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
“I feel I kind of ruined my life by going to college,” the CR article quotes Jackie Krowen, 32, of Portland, Ore., who owes $162,000 in student debt.
We’ve recently discussed this topic in this space, but it bears hearing another perspective.
Many graduates are coming out of college with debt the size of a home mortgage. How can they be expected to 1) buy a house? 2) begin saving for retirement? or 3) buy some of the essential things they need to live a decent life?
On top of the debt, the students’ expensive education is not giving them work that would be worth the investment, in many cases.
Also, some students are getting calls at all hours with prods, if not threats, to make payments on that debt.
Though most consider a home mortgage not just productive debt, but an actual financial vehicle, college debt, without having a commensurate job to make its burden light, is not productive debt.
Certainly, all education has value. But some education has more value than others. If a student goes on to be a doctor, for example, and goes into debt to make that happen, that’s, more or less, expected.
A medical practice can be lucrative and usually, before the doctor gets too old, it is usually paid off. Some even practice medicine in less lucrative places, in exchange for some eventual debt relief, among other inducements.
But if one studies, say, the liberal arts, and goes into debt to pay for that education, it’s very possible, even likely, that, if he gets a job at all, it will not be terribly lucrative. The student debt, therefore, becomes perhaps a lifelong burden. As that student ages, the burden may be so great that he will retire with little or nothing to help him get through old age.
Fortunately, there are solutions that don’t involve stiffing one’s debtor. There are ways to earn an extra income for a few part-time hours a week that might not only pay better than the job you are doing, but has the potential to make you financially free eventually. For one of the best, visit
By all means, before a student decides to go to college, sit down with parents and other advisers and do the math. If you have to borrow money to cover most of the costs, think about how you would pay it back. If you don’t have a good answer, reconsider your future.
Colleges and universities, too, should contemplate their futures. How good would it look to produce thousands, even millions, of graduates that are so crushed with debt, they’ll be paying on it forever? Someone needs to retool education to prevent this.
We have a love-hate relationship with education. We may love it while we’re in school, but, when we graduate, often we don’t love it nearly as much.


There’s good debt and bad debt.
Of course, having no debt at all is ideal, but often, to have what you want in life, you sometimes have to borrow money.
Mortgage debt is among the good kind. As you pay it down, you are paying a part of it to yourself in the form of equity in your home. The more you pay down, the greater the equity. As a bonus, you are living in your house, too, so there’s an absence of rent payments. When your house is completely paid off, you essentially are living there for free.
In this economic milieu, when you sell a house, it’s not an automatic profit. But if you HAVE to sell your house, one of the considerations is that for however long you’d lived in your house, you didn’t pay rent – all of which goes into someone else’s pocket.
College loan debt used to be considered good debt. You were getting money for an education that ultimately was going to lead you to a better job than if you hadn’t gone to college. It made college available to non-wealthy families.
But Carolyn Thompson, reporting for the Associated Press, asserts that student loan debt is widening the gap between rich and poor. Her article ran in the March 30, 2014, edition of The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
Thompson’s point: those who came out of college with lots of debt – roughly 37 million people saddled with $1 trillion in debt – will have a hard time catching up with the wealth of their peers who graduated with no debt at all. In short, those from wealthier families, long term, will have a leg up financially on their cohorts that were forced to borrow to go to school.
Looking at the big picture, a college education isn’t what it used to be. Decades ago, a college education gave you a shot at jobs that those who didn’t graduate or finish college wouldn’t get. Companies hired raw brains, and trained them for the jobs they wanted them to do.
Today, some of those degrees we cherished years ago are almost worthless in terms of job opportunities. You may have studied what you loved, or found your passion in, say, the arts, but converting that to economic advancement can be difficult.
Therefore, if you borrowed money to study what you love, or to find your passion, you need to do something to pay back all that debt. Unemployment, or constant job hunting, isn’t going to make that debt go away. Even if you get a good job out of college, as Thompson asserts, you’ll still have a potential six-figure debt out of the gate. Those years it takes to catch up to your debt-free peers may find you not getting a mortgage for the house you want, and having to settle for a lesser lifestyle for a long time. It could keep you from starting young to save for retirement.
In short: if you have to borrow money to go to college, you had better find it all worth it, regardless of what you study. You may come out an expert on Shakespeare’s works, but you could be making a living pouring coffee. Though there’s nothing wrong with having smart coffee pourers, you won’t be paying down your debt quickly, and may have little in savings at age 60.
There are numerous solutions to this problem, besides skipping college altogether. If you are not college material, don’t fret. There are other ways to make money. For one of the best, visit . You may find a way to earn a substantial income without interfering with your academic loves or passion. If it fits you, and you start before college, you could have a financial leg up on all your peers.
As radio talk show host and financial expert Dave Ramsey might advise: don’t let debt be your financial death.