Student Loan Debt and Inequality



If you dare, take a look at the link below. 

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That’s right. At this moment, the total U.S. Student Loan debt is over 1.2 TRILLION dollars.

This equals uh…..

Image result for a bunch of pennies

A lot of pennies.

Now, if you’re still with me and not currently checking your bank account ~ look at this link:

National Student Loan Debt Clock

This, according to Market Watch, is an actual student loan debt clock. Watch as the numbers fall up and down and up and down.

You’ll notice, both sources do provide different statistics and we may never know the exact number of student loan debt — but one thing is clear, this terrifying number is in the trillions.

In 2012 Cathy Rubin interviewed Research Professor of Education at New York University, Diane Ravitch. When it came to education and the growing number of students going into debt, she had this to say.

“Education is a basic human right and it should not be denied because of inability to pay. Young people should not be buried in debt when they finish college. We can’t expect to increase college enrollment rates if young people cannot afford to go.  I also think the government should be extremely vigilant in policing for-profit colleges, where the attrition rates are extremely high and young people drop out with heavy debt and no education.”

Student debt is not a new problem and it won’t be an old problem anytime soon but something needs to change.

According to Student Loan Hero most studies report the following information:

  • 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt
  • Student loan delinquency rate of 11.1%
  • Average monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $351
  • Median monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $203

Now, what about those loans most students are awarded in their financial aid packages? Sure, they help you afford schooling but just how helpful are they.

  • Stafford Subsidized – $266.7 billion; 28.9 million borrowers
  • Stafford Unsubsidized – $423.5 billion; 27.1 million borrowers
  • Stafford combined – $690.3 billion; 31.9 million unique recipients
  • Grad PLUS – $50.2 billion; 1.0 million borrowers
  • Parent PLUS – $74.5 billion; 3.3 million borrowers
  • Perkins – $8.0 billion; 2.7 million borrowers
  • Consolidation – $439.2 billion; 12.0 million borrowers

Diane, you are right. Young people should not be buried in debt when they finish college but the reality is, we all are and this is desperately hurting the country’s economic growth and entrenching wealth inequality.

Big Think takes a look at the work of French economist Thomas Piketty and his academic treatise, Capital in the Twenty-First Century

“The central observation of Piketty’s work is that money works differently now than ever before. Invested income has grown at a rate outpacing the rise in wages, meaning the rich get richer and the poor stay about the same (or get poorer relative to inflation). And as college tuition has grown, the loans required to sustain it become more burdensome.”

Big Think goes on to explain the chain reaction this kind of debt causes.

“Having to pay back hefty loans while looking for your first professional experience is a mentally taxing experience. It can cause undue stress and depression, which makes functioning well in a professional environment all the more difficult.

It also makes you more likely to accept positions that do not take full advantage of your qualifications, because you need a paycheck now, and complicates starting your own business, which requires difficult periods of cash-poorness.”

What do you think?






Voting in the 2016 Election

Check any form of social media and one thing is very clear, the 2016 Presidential Elections caused much confusion and stress for Americans, regardless of political party. But one thing that isn’t clear, why did so many Americans choose not to vote for their next President?

According to The Washington Post:

“But when it came time for Americans to vote in their own, similarly historic, election, it appears that around one in two eligible voters simply didn’t turn up. While the final tally is still being counted, one estimate from the United States Election Project (USEP) suggested that turnout on Tuesday was around 56.9 percent, slightly down from 58.6 percent in 2012.”

For this month, instead of giving my own opinion, I want to recommend my fellow Millennial Blogger, Jacob Deleon Navarrete. 

Being Creative in the World of Standardized Testing

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a great test taker. I never have been and I likely never will be. When I was in elementary school much of my learning was based on the standardized test each student had to take. In return, these tests were used to evaluate my elementary school and the level of learning we all were receiving.

I had always been an “A” student but when my test scores came back, you would never believe it.  Based on these scores, the school system wanted to place me in a remedial math class when I entered middle school. My mom would not allow that. My grades always proved I was a good student, you could not base me off of one test, she would say.  Thanks to my mother, I was placed in a regular math class where I continued to receive A’s each marking period.

This story leads me to this month’s objective – Jobs and Employment. We were asked to take a look at the necessary skills not included in today’s educational curriculum that may be essential for young people to have for their future in the job market today.

So that immediately had me asking – Is the focus on standardized testing useful for students in their future careers?

I spoke with Charles Fadel, the Founder and Chairman of the Center for Curriculum Redesign to get a better grip on the educational system. Fadel’s background and experience is nothing short but inspiring.

He is a global education thought leader, futurist, and expert, author and inventor. He is a visiting practitioner at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education where he explores curriculum, residing concepts and teaches seminars titled “Interdisciplinarity – The World in 10 Curves.” He also serves as a member of the President’s Council of Olin College, Chair of the Education Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee, Founder and President of the Foundation Helvetica Education and Co-author of just published “Four-Dimensional Education – The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed.”

He has spent his career focusing on the education curriculum and ways to improve it so students leave with the ability to be creative and have the skills and necessary character quality to succeed in this complicated world.

Two major issues Fadel pointed out is the challenge to keep up with the ever-changing technology and SAT tests.  “What we’re teaching is no longer relevant for the time. We have advances to technology that are challenging the word of work.” Fadel’s main purpose is simple, he wants to make education relevant again. SAT scores show a narrow view of the world and doesn’t express overall what is important for a student to learn. “What makes you an individual person should matter – focus on what you know but what you can do to behave and how you can reflect to adapt your learning.”

So what does that mean? Fadel’s main work takes into consideration the way curriculums are being taught in schools. He finds that teaching theory doesn’t allow children to explore their minds and be creative. And if this continues, many jobs will become obsolete. “There are App’s that are your personal assistants, what are you supposed to do when machines and artificial intelligence and apps do all the work? Drones will eliminate delivery so you [could] go from being a driver that requires little skill set to needed a higher level of skill set to operate a drone.” The ability to not be a narrow thinker and to explore your skills set is important to succeed in the business world and this is what is lacking in our education system.

“Every job will be affected one way or another,” Fadel reiterated. The question is, will you have the ability to learn new skills and adapt to make yourself of value to any employer?