Can the Education Debt ‘Mountain’ Be Avoided?

E.D. Kain,

Writes about technology, games, and culture.

There have been some interesting pieces about the value of a college degree lately. The first is from Peter Thiel, the hedge fund investor behind the financing of Facebook. The second is from Dana Goldstein.

Thiel argues that we are in the midst of a ‘higher-education bubble’ and that kids today aren’t getting their money’s worth. Goldstein shows how the debt can be a real problem especially for kids who don’t finish school:

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Half of all college drop-outs have borrowed some money for tuition. And consider this depressing statistic: One in five students who drop out of college leave only after accumulating $20,000 or more in debt. These are the folks most unable to pay back their loans; the rhetoric of “college for all” simply does not match the reality of their lives.

I disagree with Thiel’s conclusion about a ‘bubble’ in higher-ed, but that doesn’t mean he’s all wrong. Obviously a lot of Americans aren’t getting their money’s worth from college, especially if they don’t finish their degrees but do take on a lot of debt. So what’s the solution to this growing problem? After all, schools are more expensive than ever. Between 2007 and 1982 college tuition went up 439 percent while median family income rose by only 147 percent. No wonder students are taking on more and more debt. Many of them can’t afford to go any other way.

Read rest of the article here

No doubt this is sobering for parents and students alike…but do you think that Thiel is painting an accurate picture?

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