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Johanssen writes: "Suicide is the dark side of the student lending crisis and, despite all the media attention to the issue of student loans, it's been severely under-reported."

36 million Americans have outstanding student loans. (illustration: EagleCartoons.com)
36 million Americans have outstanding student loans. (illustration: EagleCartoons.com)



Student Loan Debt Suicides

By C. Cryn Johanssen, Economic Hardship Reporting Project

04 July 12

 

ne evening in 2007, Jan Yoder of Normal, Illinois noticed that her son Jason seemed more despondent than usual. Yoder had been a graduate student in organic chemistry at Illinois State University but after incurring $100,000 in student loan debt, he struggled to find a job in his field. Later that night, Jason, 35, left the family’s mobile home. Concerned about her son’s mood, Jan Yoder decided in the early morning hours to go look for him on campus, where a professor she ran into joined her in the search. The two of them discovered his body in one of the labs on campus and called campus police at 8:30AM. 32 minutes later, Jason was declared dead due to nitrogen asphyxiation.

When the story was posted on several different sites in 2007 and 2008, the Internet chatter was not always kind to the dead man. While many expressed great sympathy for Yoder and ranted against the student lending system, others were quick to invoke the “personal responsibility” argument — “it was his fault;” “why did he take out that amount of loans?;” “Mr. Yoder took out those loans . . . he had an obligation to pay them back.” — and denigrate him.

His mother, of course, saw it differently. While she was preparing for Jason’s funeral, student debt collectors were still phoning her about the money her son owed. As reporter David Newbart wrote in a 2007 article for Chicago Sun Times, she was gruff when confronted by these calls. “You are part of the reason he took his own life,” she told them and then hung up the phone.

Suicide is the dark side of the student lending crisis and, despite all the media attention to the issue of student loans, it’s been severely under-reported. I can’t ignore it though, because I’m an advocate for people who are struggling to pay their student loans, and I’ve been receiving suicidal comments for over two years and occasionally hearing reports of actual suicides. More people are being forced into untenable financial circumstances as outstanding student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. And people simply aren’t able to pay all the money they owe. In the past few years, the rate of defaults for federal loans has increased at an alarming rate. According to the Department of Education, those recent graduates who began repayments in 2009, 8.8 percent had already defaulted on their federal loans. That compares to 7 percent in 2008. Currently, 36 million Americans have outstanding federal loans. I can’t help but wonder how many of those millions are feeling distressed or suicidal, or how many have attempted suicide because of all that debt hanging over their heads.

I first started appreciating the depth of the problem of suicidal debtors a few years ago, with a post on my blog, All Education Matters, entitled, “Suicide Among Student Debtors: Who’s Thought About It?” I was stunned by the responses. In comment after comment, people confessed to feeling suicidal. One person wrote, “I was very actively looking into suicide until I got on anti-depressants. Now I have to take happy pills every day to keep the suicidal urges at a minimum level. You are correct to ask the question. Many of the folks who are incredibly deep in law school debt will end up killing themselves. I think, in the next 1-3 years, we are going to see absolutely massive numbers of law school graduate suicides.” Said another: “Yes, I thought about suicide a lot over the past few years. I take anti-depressants and I had been smoking cigarettes for months but I did end up quitting. The big issue with that is I want to be an opera singer so [smoking] was my way of giving up. I’m trying to do what I can to get through this… and praying for an answer.”

Some of the people who write to me are quite specific about how they plan to kill themselves. One person said, “I think about jumping from the 27th floor window of my office every day.” For suicide prevention experts, this is a dangerous sign, as it means that the person has actually devised a plan to carry out the act. In recent months, the notes have increased, and if anything they are even more desperate. One individual admitted that he thought about killing himself all the time. Another even claimed — which was beyond disturbing — that prior to writing his comment, he had been sitting in his car, with the garage door shut.

There have been no epidemiological studies attempting to find a correlation between student loan indebtedness and suicide or suicide attempts, but experts would not be surprised if one exists. A statement published on the website by the American Association of Suicidology (APS) notes, “There is a clear and direct relationship between rates of unemployment and suicide. The peak rate of suicide in 1933 occurred one year after the total US unemployment rate reached 25% of the labor force. Similar findings have been documented internationally. At the individual level, unemployed individuals have between two and four times the suicide rate of those employed.” The document adds, “Economic strain and personal financial crises have been well documented as precipitating events in individual deaths by suicide.”

I spoke to Dr. Peter Kinderman, a clinical psychologist at the University of Liverpool, who has written about the disastrous mental health effects of recent austerity measures in Greece. When I told him about the suicidal notes that I’d been receiving from desperate debtors, he said this is to be expected. Kinderman had served on the Department of Health’s Ministerial Advisory Group in Great Britain, from 2010 to 2011, which issued a report predicting that the European economic crisis would have a significant impact on mental health. Suicides and suicide attempts have increased dramatically in several European countries. Not surprisingly, the problem seems particularly acute in Greece and Italy, two countries that have been hit hardest by austerity measures, and have seen a jump in suicides. In 2011, Andreas Loverdos, the Minister of Health in Greece, announced that suicides had likely increased by 40% in the first five months of that year when compared to 2010. The numbers are equally as grim in Italy. A taxpayer rights group in Rome called Federcontribuenti insists that suicides have become an increasing problem in the country. In April of 2012, the group asked prosecutors in Rome to investigate 18 suicides in Northern Italy. The president of the organization, Carmelo Finocchiaro, called for an investigation to see whether those who should be preventing this “social massacre” are doing their part.

Suicide, Kinderman insists, is not the result of “a brain malfunction.” He added, “There are psychological consequences when economies fall into decay.” Under circumstances of severe economic stress, he told me, “Feeling suicidal is understandable. It is not a disease, it’s a problem.”

It turns out I’m not the only one who receives suicidal notes from student loan debtors. There is a loosely connected group of bloggers who call themselves the scambloggers to underscore their perception that U.S. legal education system is a scam, churning out many more graduates than the economy can possibly employ. The “scamblogs” receive heavy traffic and each post elicits hundreds of responses from morose, depressed, and increasingly hopeless law grads.

The majority of law grads now wind up deeply in debt and jobless. As Brian Tamanaha, a law professor at Washington University Law in St. Louis, says, “My book vindicates the basic view of the scambloggers that attending law school is a highly risky proposition that turns out badly for many students, who end up with a huge debt and no law job” — or any job, for that matter, that generates enough income to manage the debt.” A surprising number of law grads post suicidal remarks publicly on scambloggers’ sites each month. One example: in August of 2011, a man who identified himself as Jordan posted his plan to light himself on fire outside of the Capitol:

I plan to douse myself and light myself aflame on the
Capitol steps, to draw attention to the dire situation of the millions

of indentured educated citizens who, like me, have no options, plus a

predatory banking system coming after us.

There is no political solution to this problem . . . I will be

setting myself on fire, and the student debt debacle will hopefully

come to the forefront of public consciousness.

Fortunately, there have been no reports of self-immolation outside the Capitol building.

Like me, individual scambloggers must deal with private emails from suicidal people. Nando, a scamblogger popular for his sharp tongue and scatological contempt for law schools, tells me he has also received numerous suicidal notes. He talked about how hard it is to receive these notes, especially if you’re not a trained therapist or counselor. “I’ve talked to a couple of guys on the phone, and you try to deal with the positive, and I say, ‘You don’t want to do anything rash.” He recalls one particular conversation with a suicidal man, and sighed, “I mean, I am not a drinker, but one guy made me want to go out and drink a beer.” In some cases, Nando has suggested leaving the country in search of work.

It isn’t hard to find student debtors who feel like they’ve been crushed by the system. At 47, John Koch is still living with his elderly parents in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Although he has a law degree, Koch has earned a living as a house painter for many years. When I ask about his living arrangement, Koch explains that he has in own space, “I’m downstairs. They are upstairs.” He pauses, however, adding wearily, “But I mean, I am 47-years-old. I suppose in one sense, in your parents’ eyes, you’re always going to be a child.” John laughs, and continues after clearing his throat, “Of course, I can come and go and do whatever I please. But you’re still there, it’s um… it’s little things, you know… you have something, like, I have my hobbies and I leave some things in my apartment, and my mother comes down and says,” he imitates her in a high-pitched tone, “‘Oh, you can’t do that. You’re makin’ a mess.’”

John breathes heavily, “I mean, I am there for my parents. My father will be 80, and my mother is 73, and they are having health problems, and I am there if there is a trip to the ER. So that’s good for them.” There’s silence on the phone. John breathes in deeply and laughs again when I ask, “So, it’s good for them, but what about you?”

With a strong Long Island accent he exclaims, “It’s… you know… it’s your independence you’re talkin’ about! And from where I came from — ” His voice trails off and after a pause, he adds, “I was married, living in a home, with my wife, and living… I guess that’s the American dream — to have your own home, a family, children possibly.”

Koch originally borrowed $69,000 in 1997. The majority of that money was loans for law school, seemingly, he says, to “better myself.” After he graduated from Touro Law School, Koch struggled to find steady employment and eventually he defaulted on his loans. He was immediately slapped with $50,000 in penalties. For years, he had been filling out deferment forms every six months to buy himself more time but in 2009, Sallie Mae declared him in default. At the time of this writing, Koch owes over $320,000. That sounds staggering but it’s hardly unusual. Once a person defaults on a student loan, the balance grows exponentially, with interest compounding on interest, penalties and fees. By the time he “retires,” in 23 years, Koch figures he will owe close to $1.9 million. He can’t get even subprime credit, he tells me, and it’s not like there’s any way out of his trap: student loan debt cannot be absolved through bankruptcy.

Koch struggles with suicidal thoughts and admits to self-destructive behavior, such as heavy drinking and cigarettes. Eventually he channeled those feelings into a blog that draws more readers each month. In January of 2012, though, the Suffolk County police paid his parents an unpleasant visit to inquire about their son’s suicidal comments and posts

I spoke to Koch a day or two after the police showed up at his home. He was still rattled. “My parents discovered my blog, and so did my sister,” he said after the police visited his home. Koch surmises that the police were former Touro law students who were tipped off about the suicidal posts. The log that upset his sister the most, Koch told me, included a “series of 5 poems about 5 fanciful kids that go to law school and all end up killing themselves 5 years later.”

Koch launched a new site (Esqpainting) after the police visit but disbanded his online writing projects in early June. He decided that blogging is no longer a good outlet for him. Yet for Koch the agony continues. Parroting the voices of the people who have created this situation for millions of student loan debtors, Koch snarled, “‘You know, you have this debt, and we’re gonna make it bigger, and we’re never gonna let you out, and… and… the rest of society is going to cover it for you. And we’re never going to let them out either.’”

I spoke to Koch a few months ago while he walked his dog and smoked a cigarette. He described his life as pretty much over, and he echoed that sentiment a few weeks ago. “So much for achieving the American Dream.” These days, Koch watches as the interest piles up. He sighs when we hang up, and says, “I mean, why punish the debtor with greater debt?”

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

 

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+67 # Adoregon 2012-07-04 12:26
DEBT = SLAVERY

SLAVERY = LOSS OF FREEDOM

LOSS OF FREEDOM = LACK OF OPTIONS

LACK OF OPTIONS = DEPRESSION/LOSS OF HOPE

DEPRESSION/LOSS OF HOPE = SUICIDE

Bankers love debt. Don't put your head in the noose.
 
 
+40 # readerz 2012-07-04 13:34
Take out as little in loans as possible. If you are over your head in debt and have already defaulted, realize that it isn't your fault that the education system is so rigged, and you should both work to change the banking laws and also investigate the education system that under-pays the "assistant" professors but way-over pays the administrations . Keep doing positive activities. Think like a POW, and don't let them destroy you.
 
 
+3 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 10:16
Think like a POW, and don't let them destroy you.

What a great idea! You could say that bankers are the terrorists and there is a economic war on everyone except the 1% who are benefiting royally from all of this craziness.
 
 
+15 # Bigfella 2012-07-04 22:10
Declare your self bankrupt and front it, it is way better then the dark hole of death...
In my country which court this virus the Government past laws to prevent collection of debts till the person gained employment and reached a earning income above $60,000aus.
So far the none repayment was around $1 billion many never pay it back.
 
 
+20 # OligarchyNot 2012-07-05 12:53
Student loan debt cannot be written off in bankruptcy in the U.S. Once a student loan goes into default, the penalties and unpaid interest get capitalized (added to the principal of the loan), and then all future interest is calculated based on the new principal balance. If you go into default, the balance of the loan skyrockets way beyond what you borrowed, your credit rating is ruined (making it even more difficult to find a job since employers now check potential employees' credit reports); you can never get a license or work for the federal government; any tax refunds will be withheld; and last, but not least, your social security retirement benefits will be docked. You are saddled with a constantly escalating debt with no hope of ever being able to pay it back, which will literally follow you to the grave. Since student loans are considered subprime debt due to the high default rate, these loans are now being traded on the commodities market the same way subprime mortgages were (meaning that the bankers make money whether you pay back the loan or default on it).

Is it any wonder many consider suicide? It’s time to rise up!!!
 
 
+5 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 10:13
Quoting Adoregon:
DEBT = SLAVERY

SLAVERY = LOSS OF FREEDOM

LOSS OF FREEDOM = LACK OF OPTIONS

LACK OF OPTIONS = DEPRESSION/LOSS OF HOPE

DEPRESSION/LOSS OF HOPE = SUICIDE

Bankers love debt. Don't put your head in the noose.

Hence, we now see the American Dream become the American Nightmare.
 
 
+53 # baldyc76 2012-07-04 12:30
This is heart breaking. There's no solution. If you can't make your payments, you get a penalty plus more interest. The hole just gets deeper and deeper. Why are these loans not able to be bankrupted? No wonder suicides are increasing. Very sad and depressing.
 
 
+39 # silenus 2012-07-04 18:23
There is a solution -- change the law.
 
 
+39 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-07-04 20:01
The solution is free public education. We had it in California into the 60's but no more. Billions for the damn banksters and our students are on their own. No help for them, no help for people being thrown out of their homes and you get fine health care as long as you pay big time. Affordable Health care is not a health care solution. It is a means to increase the profits of the insurance companies and big pharma. There in no one in Congress who cares about this. They go to fancy parties and fund more and more wars---and of course give their dear friends (that give them bribes) tax cuts and corporate welfare. While our children are abandoned. What a rotten country we have become. Hope you don't get indefinitely detained or a dash of enhanced interrogation. I hope you don't make the President's Tuesday hit list. I hope the same for me, but I am scared that by complaining it is more likely to happen. Shut up and keep your head down. Or, the hell with it. Fight back!
 
 
+2 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 10:53
Quoting silenus:
There is a solution -- change the law.

Nationalize the banks! Then set the interest on loans to 4 points over prime.
 
 
+9 # Bigfella 2012-07-04 22:13
Thats the answer declare "Bank-rupt" and if these folk did it on mass you would quickly see a solution. Self harm is never the answer unless you have a terminal illness.=)
 
 
+4 # Mrcead 2012-07-06 06:17
There is a clear pattern and I hope people are starting to notice it. Republicans say and do very bizarre things. This is because we do not understand their reasoning behind them so we just write off their behaviour as "just them being Republicans." Whenever a republican is quiet, beware! Someone is about to lose their home or their rights, or worse. They only scream and make declarations when they believe themselves to have the legal upper hand.

This question should have been brought up and scrutinised since the plan to keep student loans from being discharged was first proposed - regardless of who proposed it. Who would such a measure ultimately benefit? Who would such a measure ultimately ruin?

If the banking industry had sufficient cause to be concerned with students cutting and running from their debt strategically, then the bank is therefore incapable of administering and enforcing student loan contracts and should lose the privilege - because servicing student loans isn't a right but a privilege. There is nothing wrong with the government handling student loans. It has already been set up to provide this service.
[continued]
 
 
+3 # Mrcead 2012-07-06 06:19
[continued]
It can offer students the loan at or slightly higher than the rate they offer the banks and in nearly every scenario, the student becomes a productive member of society which is why the government sponsors education in the first place. The returns are far higher than any banker could possibly generate - true compound interest at work.
Taking the banks losing to strategic defaulters into consideration, ultimately the government shouldnt care. In the end, the now more productive member of society HAS TO PAY TAXES FOREVER REGARDLESS and the GDP gets a small bump (from the millions who'll graduate every 3 months) which will grown into a stream. The banks are surplus to requirements at this stage and create unnecessary paperwork and headaches for the government, the colleges and the student.
So why did it go the other way? Why did the banks win such a victory? America is worse off for the decision having been made. Such a measure would only benefit a very select few - and now we have our answer. But here is part II (since conservatives are only capable of at best 3 layers of deceit). Look at the airlines. Bailout after bailout in the 80's. Those were rash decisions and greedy people hate to see "wasted money" being wasted (try it with a greedy person, they can't focus on anything else, it is like watching an addict trying to resist an urge and it is that sad).

[continued]
 
 
+5 # Mrcead 2012-07-06 06:20
[continued - last bit, I promise]

Much like ambulance chasers, greedy politicians seek to find such catastrophes to skim the money off of the top since "it's too much money to possibly account for." There are forces in the government that seek to capitalise from disasters and it is such a "human" failing that it needs deeper investigation. Embezzlement starts as young as childhood and is as old as money itself. A financial emergency is THE ONLY WAY to open up the treasury without the usual formalities of checks and balances. It is the "back door Trojan" of financial politics. With that said, we are all aware of the mounting debt and the improbability that employers will embrace this bad lot of new students and that a bubble is about to burst as a result. The question is, who is in the best position to capitalise from such a disaster? The banks will be made whole with taxpayer monies, a new scapegoat is created to defocus the masses yet again and the paradigm will shift to support "the strong" and Neo-Thatcherist ic attitudes.
There's your answer. Now, what are we going to do about it? The Left needs to cast the gloves off and beat the Right at their own games.
 
 
+90 # The Voice of Reason 2012-07-04 12:37
The exemption of student loans from discharge in bankruptcy court is unconstitutiona l. What legitimate interest does the government have in letting everyone else in the world discharge bad debts, but not students? It violates the Equal Protection clause.

If the government is concerned about their 'guaranteed' loans, then do away with the guarantee. Private lenders don't guarantee anything, and not only do they get the non-discharge in bankruptcy cheating scheme, but they can add a 25% penalty whenever a student borrower defaults.

It is a horrible government supported racket that should be stopped.
 
 
+56 # NanFan 2012-07-04 13:43
We can thank the Bush administration for ANOTHER unconstitutiona l law: no bankruptcy for students who cannot find work and can't pay back their debt.

What's the solution? I don't know, but something besides the recent RAISING of interest rates on student loans, that's for sure!

We need to get rid of the far-right wing congresspeople who do not care about the people. We need to ... I just don't know ... and there's no country these people can go to where they will get a job, not easily anyway.

This is way sad, as I'm sure that most graduates of the age of Mr. Koch have additional debt besides their student loans.

You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

We need help solving this problem in the US, and we need it NOW.

N.
 
 
+28 # Erdajean 2012-07-04 16:15
Oh so true, Nan! All the hand-wringing, all the hind-sight advice, all the truths being told in these comments are of absolutely NO use unless we come together and DO SOMETHING for our kids! Such as, DEMAND from the Congress we pay to serve us that they quit the drama about abortion, gay marriage and destroying our new-found health care -- and pass EMERGENCY legislation to bail out our debt-tormented student debtors. Rescue them, as the taxpayers did (far less wisely and willingly) the SOB bankers who have continued to grow fatter off the agony of our young people. These greedy hogs are exactly like the servant in the Bible, who -- after his employer forgave HIS debt, went forth and pounced upon a weaker soul who owed him, and demanded FULL repayment with a beating as the alternative. That did not work out well for the hog -- and it should not work out well for the bankers either!
Above all let me say to those trapped, YOUR LIFE is of far more value than what you have borrowed. To end it over debt is to break the hearts of people who love you without injuring your tormentors one particle. This I know by experience, my dears. Chin up, serve others in need, every way you can, and campaign like crazy for a remedy.
 
 
+20 # mdhome 2012-07-04 18:25
I can understand how suicide is seen as the only option. I am 66 and do not owe that much, but see no way to live on 665/ month and have much sympathy for someone caught in this new slave trade. That is what it is when you are indentured for life. thankfully I will be checking out someday, getting close to the end of the ride, lots of kids have nothing to look forward to education or not, with no job = no income = no chance for a decent life, I just think this is such a problem, colleges are encouraging kids to take courses that lead to nowhere.
 
 
+11 # Aunt Tom 2012-07-04 21:26
Can you get together with others and share needs and services to help each other get along?
 
 
+45 # juliajayne 2012-07-04 12:41
Wow! This is depressing! My sister, who has a PhD from freakin' Harvard after many long years and living in poverty, got a job as an assistant prefessor at a university in Arkansas. But after 6 years she didn't make tenure, despite having the same credentials as a co-worker (male) who did make tenure.

After having her career basically upended, she enrolled in PA school and is incurring debt to the tune of $120,000! I sure hope she finds employment in that field or she may be screwed.

I'd heard of this deep morass of student debt, but never dreamed it was such a predatory system.

I guess this is what's to become of the educational system if education is left to the vagaries of the "elites", like the Kochs, Devoes and Rhees of this world who would privitize everything while still taking government largess or using coupons (vouchers with my snark added).

Wow. Again...sigh.
 
 
+37 # tadn54 2012-07-04 13:07
The higher education system in the US is absolutely anathema to its' securing fuuture prosperity for students. University education should be public, with an affordable percentage of tuition and fees from the student. Also,the obscene glut of cash from spectator sports should be funneled mostly to help lower tuiition costs, not for higher professor salaries and gaudy structure improvements.

Other developedindust rial countries can do it, why can't we?

Vocational and Juco are the alternatives young adults may wish to choose.I attended juco eons ago while working full time, then transferred to Northeastern Ill. U. and attended part-time until I did graduate in Lib. Arts. I regret nothing about that enlightening journey. I now work as an independent contractor in the small package delivery business, making ends meet, while enjoying some vacation time 4 weeks a year. My education in Lib arts has enriched my interactions with others significantly. I was never interested in education as the road to wealth.

Don't let your dreams fool you into debt The hard fact is very few are realized, no matter how hard you work for it; but, at the same time, you've got to give it a go-----wisely.
 
 
+21 # brucbaker 2012-07-04 13:28
Maybe it is time to come to grips with the truth ... THE EDUCATION INDUSTRY IS A LIE!

Education was created to give us BETTER WORKERS, BETTER CITIZENS, but the paper mills of education target ALL THEIR STUDENTS to the NARROWEST of professions that generally ... DON'T CREATE ANYTHING BUT PAPERWORK!

Seriously ... the whole attitude of society is that our smartest and brightest will be leaders and never get their hands dirty because their talents will employ an army of minions who will somehow create a mountain of wealth for them because they are the smartest people in the room! What a CROCK OF..

And you wonder why there are student suicides with NO JOBS and crushing debt from over-educated workers who can only find barely above minimum wage jobs?

Time to rethink. TIME TO RELEARN what the parameters of prosperity are compared to the economic generators are so we can RETASK the thinking of modern society so people can work, can meet their debts, can use their talents in a modern world of technology that still requires people to do manual labor and create things with their hands!
 
 
+4 # Mrcead 2012-07-06 06:55
This is where I say that the government had it right in the first place. The state run colleges only add classes when there is sufficient data to warrant the expense and expanse. There is a budget and with a budget comes inherent austerity to maintain the limits. Our society simply cannot afford more educated people without having a place for them to work (even though a brilliant solution exists with the peace corps, perhaps we can expand on that to solve our problem?)

The problem with private schools with shareholders is that such sobering data only drives away shareholders because there is no real use for such a school beyond personal enrichment, else there would be a program at a state institution. The fix was to create a market for the desire to become educated, make it affordable and watch the people roll in. A 4% increase in a person's contribution to society after such a program is successful enough for these institutions and apparently for any governing body. That's ridiculous.

At any rate, check data tables for private schools and their student default rates - alarmingly higher (10-35%) than state colleges (2-7%).

Course bloat is often added (Classes taught by adjunct instructors)so that the schools can legally offer degrees and qualify for title IV loans and charge the higher price tags. So, if no live on campus option exists nor a stellar reputaion, suspect the school for fraud.
 
 
+34 # readerz 2012-07-04 13:30
Have law degree, go into politics. If barred from politics (because of debt), at least speak loudly and clearly about these issues. Law degree equals a very high verbal aptitude, which means the ability (that not many have) to speak truth to power, and represent the powerless. What have you got to lose? Free speech is a good use of a law degree; if you are ignored, you can ignore those who send you the debt notices.

Early American settlers used a barter system. It worked. Law students know precisely when the American banking system got a stranglehold on this country. Try to grow/make things to exchange for goods. Money is fake, and you know it.

Rewrite the Constitution. Yes, there is some tweaking that is needed, such as the landed aristocracy of the low-population western states having a disproportionat ely large vote in the Senate and Electoral College, but there are other areas that need serious tweaking too: women's rights, victims' rights, health care rights, and especially banking. Who cares if people don't listen? You at least can act like those POWs that keep themselves occupied.

Back in the 1970s, some people joined communes. Any focus on community that you invent yourself with others can be helpful.

The main point is to ignore the false debt. You do not owe America anything, and you probably already paid more than you owed before fines and extras were slapped on. Please, please, do not give up hope.
 
 
+26 # bobby t. 2012-07-04 13:30
i believe this was oked by scotus as an exemption of the bankruptcy laws. in social democractic countries students go to college or university free, well, through the taxes everyone pays. same as universal healthcare. both can bankrupt people and therefor those two reasons are not the cause of bankruptcies in those forms of governments. would love to see it here. time of the people to wake up here. the banks want us to stay asleep.
 
 
+11 # Aunt Tom 2012-07-04 21:22
YES! Free education. at least for those who do the course work adequately.
 
 
+13 # bubbajake 2012-07-04 13:37
Okay, i think that student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy because the only collateral offered is future earnings. there is no house, no boat or car that can be repossessed. people offer themselves as collateral. it is a bad deal, but the banks won't let go if they think you will declare bankruptcy, discharge your debts and then get a good paying job. i imagine they got fed up with students taking loans, declaring bankruptcy at age 30, and then making 6 figures a few years later. banks should work with local communities and get these lawyers and other graduates into the public service arena, where they can practice their craft and serve poor people and strapped nonprofit organizations locally. the banks could get a write off, the local advocacy groups could get legal services, the poor would get representation, and the debt could be discharged on an hourly basis.
 
 
+19 # stonecutter 2012-07-04 13:40
There's undeniable responsibility on the part of the indebted student, but it has to be/used to be tempered by rational, even compassionate flexibility on the part of the banks and the government. Tragically, it's not any more. The whole student loan machine is disgustingly predatory, a legal variation on the old Mob loansharking operation, with strikingly similar consequences for late or non-payment, short of bad beatings, broken limbs or death, unless self-inflicted as this article describes.

Young people who took these loans, in some cases excessively large at exorbitant rates, had the same unrealistic, irresponsible attitude prior to 2008 as the millions who financed homes they actually couldn't afford, with the venal assistance of the rigged mortgage banking industry and Wall Street. They just assumed there would be well-paying jobs after graduation, and repayment would not be an overwhelming hardship. They were wrong. The government, their members of Congress, the banks, colluded and failed them, by not explaining the terms fully, by not assuring they understood the long-term burden they were assuming. Add Romney's perverse "outsourcing, off-shoring" brand of capitalism, the erosion of millions of jobs, and you've got this crisis, punctuated by grossly unfair, politically driven exclusion of such loans from current bankruptcy law; not even "workout" provisions to mitigate pressure to repay. Rigged and broken like everything else.
 
 
+15 # seefeellove 2012-07-04 15:06
Right on, stonecutter! The student loan scam/ponzi scheme is no different from the predatory loan sharks (distrustful banks) who take advantage of people wanting to own a home.

As the 1%ers continue to rape the Earth and not pay their fair share of the use of our infrastructure, then they can at least afford to mop up the student loan debt.

Education is preventative health care, making us healthier citizens as we learn to live and thrive together. There is no health or care in a winner/loser economic system; there are only predators and their prey.

The profiting from education and its umbrella system of health care is a crime. We all have a responsibility to prevent suicide and learn how to share the wealth.
 
 
+32 # djnova50 2012-07-04 13:41
I'm sure there are countless graduates that have been able to find jobs after graduation that allow them to keep up with their student loan payments. I am disabled; but, my student loan debt was created before I became disabled and before I got a degree. I have tried to get my student loan forgiven/discha rged due to disability. Even with a doctor's support, my request was denied. So, I keep getting letters and calls for me to pay what I can't afford to pay. My disability income can be offset; but, only a certain percentage above $750 could be taken.

Student loan debt is outrageously high. But, these banks and other lenders who financed student education, should be held responsible. The slate should just be wiped clean and all students should have their loans forgiven, even if they have been making payments.

This in itself, could help to boost the economy. Didn't the auto industry get bailed out? Didn't the banking industry get a bail out as well? Those who are dealing with student loan debt should get bailed out.
 
 
+10 # readerz 2012-07-04 15:02
Yes, I agree that there is a point to bailing out people who at least tried to get an education. Rick Santorum thought that education is always left-wing; I wonder if he tells that to his doctor. Liberal Arts education passes along culture, and delves deeper into our roots, which is necessary if we are ever going to be able to think our way through modern social challenges. Even if nobody who is educated ever "contributed" in a monetary way, just keeping our cultures is worth it. Otherwise we only have factories (or no factories, even worse) and sports stadiums. And of course, solving our problems through violence, which always destroys a country.
 
 
+9 # Ilyan 2012-07-04 17:08
The Banks are built on debts. Their assets are what people owe them. Developing massive student loans makes Banks look good on their balance sheet, but what happens when those debtors die with no assets?

The Banks are probably already insolvent. Debauching the Currency is more likely to destroy Civilisationtha n preserve the Economy.
 
 
+5 # Aunt Tom 2012-07-04 21:18
#Ilyan. I believe the surviving family is held responsible for the debt. (I hope I'm wrong, but that's what I've heard. Someone correct me if you know better, please.)
 
 
+21 # Ellioth 2012-07-04 13:43
This is America the Beautiful, home of the "Free"? Are you kidding me. This is America the corrupt, home of the greedy, the wasteful and the clueless. Time to wake up, everyone. This is THE defining moment for humanity. What will yo do? What will you sacrifice (no - "sacrifice" is not a dirty word).
 
 
+23 # Glen 2012-07-04 13:50
Individuals in debt and desperate for a job, take their lives due to a sense of responsibility as much as disappointment and despair. If there were not the sense of responsibility, they would simply blow it off and proceed from there.

Kids have been lied to for a long damn time now, so a sense of despair is understandable. They feel despair when they cannot go to college and they feel despair when they do and cannot translate that into a career or the life they were led to believe would be theirs. A sad loss due to how determined and disciplined these people are. They worked their butts off for nothing.

We aren't far from debtors prisons.
 
 
+9 # readerz 2012-07-04 15:15
Um, there are people in prisons for non-payment of child support, although I usually do not feel much sympathy for those who owe that very small amount, small in comparison to loan debts; but, if they cannot get work, that is also an unfair situation.

I would beg graduates not to feed the monster, but it is probably too much to ask. People in my generation had to make bad choices sometimes; we went where the work was even if it was working for a business that we hated. But at least quietly vote and work for laws to change things and limit the power of the big banks and oil companies. If you possibly can, work directly to improve politics, and the laws.
 
 
+8 # Glen 2012-07-04 17:35
I agree, readerz. There are unfair laws and policies that punish those who have few alternatives. Folks must work for fair laws that do not work in favor of either gender, but according to a particular situation.

Folks continue to seek out jobs regardless of where those jobs are located. There are fewer and fewer choices. What is the alternative? Working two jobs? Workers have little choice now. Conditions are becoming fairly intolerable for many citizens.
 
 
+16 # Vardoz 2012-07-04 13:56
While NAFTA is outsoucing millions of jobs and keeping their profits offshore, our young people and college grads are experiencing the worst job market on record! Those in charge are cutting our future off at the knees as we are the only developed nation on Earth that does not have affordable college. All other developed nations understand how important educating their young people are. But as with everything else that is going on we can just die in the gutter, no problem. Our horribly destructive corporate dictatorship thinks it's OK to screw everyone. No one is spared. They are murdering thugs who are deatroying our future, our lives and our children's lves not to mention the Earth!!!!!!!!!!!

This assault on us has gone too far. It has reached critical mass in every way and we must be sure to vote out all those who are paid by corporations to scarifice us and our children. Remember they depend on our apathy! When is something worth fighting for? Ask yourself what you can do.
 
 
+11 # asbpab1966 2012-07-04 13:59
Do away with fixed repayment student loans. Instead have the loans given by Government, not the banks. And instead of monthly payments, the recipient would pay an extra 3% tax on his income until he reaches age 65. If he does well, he may pay more than his loan. But if he hits hard times, he pays little or nothing.
 
 
+28 # reiverpacific 2012-07-04 14:02
I bless the day I was educated in the UK and did one degree (Architecture) whilst working in an office and in the field, serving an apprenticeship (which apparently is no longer acceptable) gaining much valuable hands on experience and a subsequent degree full time on a grant which I had to earn by pre-college graded entry exams and selection.
I can't imagine what my second advanced degree would have strapped me with and I certainly wouldn't have been able to travel, work, live and experience the world as I have if the burden of repayment was on my back.
And wasn't it Dimwits Bush who was responsible for the inability to discharge student loans by bankruptcy in his manipulation of the insolvency laws to make them more to the liking of his banker pals and more difficult for the oppressed to be released from penury then into the clutches of the inept and corrupt credit bureaus for ten years.
I might be ready to croak too, if I was staring at a life without incentive, meaning, self-respect, no health care (such as it is) or a future beyond Mickey-D's, the Mall or boot camp.
No wonder the Intels and Microsofts are importing cheaper, better qualified cyber-engineers from India, when domestic degrees are so hard to come by and pay for.
But the military get more than they need (and recruit desperate youths as future cannon-fodder), as do the big Wall Street criminals.
It's all part of the circle of interwoven design leading to domestic slavery.
 
 
+6 # DorothyK 2012-07-04 14:07
Guess we can't go to school in a timely manner. It's pay as you go, forgetting that it may take 20+ years to get a meaningful degree, if then.
 
 
+6 # cordleycoit 2012-07-04 14:51
Fight back what do you have to lose? Work for non profits and fight like hell for the living. Expose the collectors to public ridicule like the Tea Party does to you. Change citizenship make the process servers have to dangerous third world slums like Detroit. Send postcards from East St.Louis, Belize City, Mexico City avoid China they take your organs.
 
 
+15 # politicaleconomist 2012-07-04 14:52
St. Thomas Aquinas was correct to place a moral judgement on interest. People have no idea of the power of compound interest.

Even at 2% interest compounding works its incredible majic. An economist at the recent AEA convention asked economists to estimate what $10 at 2% compounded for 2011 years would be worth. No one came close. They were consistently off by several orders of magnitude. Even for economists in the field of finance, the intuition just is not there.

Imagine how difficult living with the temptation of debt is for the less educated!

People think they can live with much more debt than they can handle. Often even if their financial situation does not worsen over time people fall into the debt trap. That's the fundamental reaosn we have bankruptcy laws. Invariably most people end up in disaster if they do lose their job or encouter unexpected medical problems (and costs). That's why all civilized countries have universal governent supported health care. WHAT Obama SHOULD HAVE SUPPORTED,

IMPROVED MEDICARE FOR ALL

REFORM THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM
 
 
+13 # futhark 2012-07-04 15:00
I was fortunate enough to go through college when tuition rates were still affordable and, by working summers and living in cooperative housing, got through with no debt whatsoever, except the eternal one I owe my wife for supporting me that last year of 6. By allowing tuition rates at public colleges to skyrocket in recent years we are cutting a whole generation off at the knees and depriving them of the opportunity to attain productive careers upon, which us older folks will ultimately depend.
 
 
+16 # charsjcca 2012-07-04 19:36
When I was a senior in college I had a professor who refused to have us purchase a textbook because it cost $12. That was 1969. In 2007 I lived near a university and frequented a local bookstore that sold text books and saw student paying $350 for books for one class. The system has become a fraud and professors are part of the corruption.
 
 
+11 # Aunt Tom 2012-07-04 21:16
Quoting charsjcca:
When I was a senior in college I had a professor who refused to have us purchase a textbook because it cost $12. That was 1969. In 2007 I lived near a university and frequented a local bookstore that sold text books and saw student paying $350 for books for one class. The system has become a fraud and professors are part of the corruption.


Yes, it is a racket, with unnecessary new textbooks written each year to outdate the prior ones and force new sales. The professors who author them are fully aware and I suppose they get a nice cut for their miserable little revisions. :(
 
 
+4 # lark3650 2012-07-05 21:28
I agree. I went to a community college in 1968-1970. My non-resident tuition was $12 a credit hour and residents of the city paid only $6 a credit hour. I worked part-time and was able to pay for my tuition and books without my parents' help. Even when I transferred to a local University, my tuition was only $18 a credit hour...and used books were available for most of my classes. Today, it is more of a money-making enterprise rather than an institute of learning.
 
 
+13 # Texas Aggie 2012-07-04 15:54
For those "personal responsibility" creatures out there, I'm sure you don't realize that what Mr. Yoder borrowed was only a small fraction of the $100,000 that he owed. Interest and penalties jack up the repayments so that there is no way that you will ever pay back everything in this life.

I was pleasantly surprised that there were none of the above mentioned "personal responsibility" creeps in the comments at the moment. Good on you all.
 
 
+4 # kelly 2012-07-04 17:19
You spoke too soon, Tex. Read the next comment.
 
 
-11 # fredboy 2012-07-04 16:00
This is most tragic, both for the loss of young lives and the failure to teach young people financial foresight. Instead, loans and resulting debt are shoved at them as "normal." They are not.
I worked my way through law school, owing less than $100 (to Sears, for a mattress) when I graduated. Many classmates lived high on the loan hog, dining out almost every meal and amassing massive loan debt that haunted them for more than a decade after graduation.
Somewhere along the line I learned debt fear, and kept spending lean. The result: I retired early and have a super life. And zero debt worries.
My daughter did the same. Graduated with a super education and owed zero.
Is anybody listening?
 
 
+10 # reiverpacific 2012-07-04 18:19
Quoting fredboy:
This is most tragic, both for the loss of young lives and the failure to teach young people financial foresight. Instead, loans and resulting debt are shoved at them as "normal." They are not.
I worked my way through law school, owing less than $100 (to Sears, for a mattress) when I graduated. Many classmates lived high on the loan hog, dining out almost every meal and amassing massive loan debt that haunted them for more than a decade after graduation.
Somewhere along the line I learned debt fear, and kept spending lean. The result: I retired early and have a super life. And zero debt worries.
My daughter did the same. Graduated with a super education and owed zero.
Is anybody listening?

Sounds just a bit too smug for me.
Try and "work your way through college" in these times when graduates and post-graduates are competing with people who never even finished high school for the sort of jobs you "work your way" through anything with, including the next rent payment and basic survival which in itself is a treadmill hard to get off.
I was bankrupted by the medical system (with insurance) but one thing bankruptcy did teach me (apart from the easy credit trap): just 'cause you are makin' a good living, sharing your munificence with others less fortunate or skilled and "doin' good", is that penury is just around the corner at ONE misstep in this "Winner-take-al l" society and it is merciless!
 
 
-7 # fredboy 2012-07-04 16:08
Baldyc76, there IS a solution: DON'T BORROW!
Wean yourself from debt.
Work a second job (I worked three jobs in law school, and one super spinoff is I became a master time manager and later taught time management workshops to help others).
A suicidal response to student (or any) loan debt makes sense, as one of the most depressing of all forces is regret and remorse: loans are not done to you, you make the decision to amass debt. Regret and remorse are far more devastating--an d, like student debt suicide--vastly under reported and rarely discussed.
 
 
+2 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 11:40
Quoting fredboy:
Baldyc76, there IS a solution: DON'T BORROW!
Wean yourself from debt.
Work a second job (I worked three jobs in law school, and one super spinoff is I became a master time manager and later taught time management workshops to help others).
A suicidal response to student (or any) loan debt makes sense, as one of the most depressing of all forces is regret and remorse: loans are not done to you, you make the decision to amass debt. Regret and remorse are far more devastating--and, like student debt suicide--vastly under reported and rarely discussed.

I worked in a bank in Boston many years ago when credit cards were first appearing. Most applications were refused because credit requirements were stringent and included 24 different standards that had to be met. How times have changed.
 
 
+5 # okie_mule 2012-07-04 16:37
Those under 30 have been brainwashed into thinking that heavy debt is how you live the American Dream. Ads that say "I deserve it and I want it NOW." I want, I want, I want is the mantra of youth. Credit is nothing more than indentured servitude to the creditors. If all of those with massive college debt decided to say "I am not paying another cent" at the same time and followed through, the creditor's house of cards would fall flat. Or maybe they could have a "debtor's convention" and decide on strategies to implement....bu t wait, they would need 50 L.A. Coliseums to hold all of those who might attend. We all talk about how bad we feel about how bad things have gotten and that's about all we do. And don't make me laugh until I cry talking about taking the country back at the ballot box. The system is rigged and it is rigged to keep on rigging things.
 
 
+10 # spercepolnes 2012-07-04 19:19
Slavery takes many forms.
This is but one of them - enforced by government!
 
 
-2 # charsjcca 2012-07-04 19:31
It is not the debt, but their attitude about the debt that is causing the incidents. Attitude is everything. They need to rethink the nature of human life. That is what their parents can help them with.
 
 
0 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 11:41
Quoting charsjcca:
It is not the debt, but their attitude about the debt that is causing the incidents. Attitude is everything. They need to rethink the nature of human life. That is what their parents can help them with.

What, may I enquire, is the correct attitude toward debt?
 
 
+10 # Aunt Tom 2012-07-04 21:13
I believe, from something I read elsewhere, that not only is it impossible to go bankrupt to discharge this debt, but Social Security can be docked to collect AND if the student dies the family is still responsible for the debt. :(((

If the trillion $ spent on these ongoing illegal wars in the Middle East had been instead spent on college tuition for these students, wouldn't that be a tremendous improvement on the present situation?
 
 
0 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 11:44
Quoting Aunt Tom:
I believe, from something I read elsewhere, that not only is it impossible to go bankrupt to discharge this debt, but Social Security can be docked to collect AND if the student dies the family is still responsible for the debt. :(((

If the trillion $ spent on these ongoing illegal wars in the Middle East had been instead spent on college tuition for these students, wouldn't that be a tremendous improvement on the present situation?

Yes, of course, but then presumably you are referring to a potential situation in which the U.S. behaved in a moral/ethical manner, not only towards its own citizens, but also the people in the rest of the world, correct!?
 
 
+14 # Aunt Tom 2012-07-04 21:34
Well, boys and girls, consider that the suicide rate is far lower for students than for the poor suckers returning from military service. That's a helluva thing to say, but that's just plain fact. Maybe the government should pay for university education and stop waging its illegal wars all over the place!
 
 
0 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 11:46
Quoting Aunt Tom:
Well, boys and girls, consider that the suicide rate is far lower for students than for the poor suckers returning from military service. That's a helluva thing to say, but that's just plain fact. Maybe the government should pay for university education and stop waging its illegal wars all over the place!

Of course, but then the American people would have to make a choice between education and violence; and with at least 10,000 U.S. homicides a year, I think the jury is still out on that one.
 
 
+3 # stanhode 2012-07-05 00:22
The most important thing to learn in college is how to work together. Look to the Quebec students for ideas. Look at people loosing jobs, homes, and worse. They can't take our education. We have to fight together to the end.

If you have to go, maybe you can treat yourself to a beautiful day and try to go out happy, like Maude did (Harold and Maude). Or, see if you can take a banker or corporate crook with you.
 
 
-1 # fredboy 2012-07-05 07:10
I am not surprised that those of us calling for foresight, wisdom, and the avoidance of debt are getting the negative votes on this one. And the debt lemmings stagger toward the cliffs...
 
 
+1 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 11:55
Quoting fredboy:
I am not surprised that those of us calling for foresight, wisdom, and the avoidance of debt are getting the negative votes on this one. And the debt lemmings stagger toward the cliffs...

Okay, unfortunately for some, it is the cliche "too soon old, and too late smart"
 
 
0 # Rainphase 2012-07-08 15:06
So a kid from a family who can't afford to save or doesn't prioritize education shouldn't go to college? For an 18 year old in this situation, debt is basically the only option for a college education. There are community colleges, but I know from experience how unpredictable the quality of the classes and instructors are. The days of working your way through college are over, unless we begin funding state colleges at the level of the 1950s-1980s, before the burden of paying shifted directly onto the student - at exactly the time wage stagnation also made the burden harder to bear. It would be great if every family was able to save enough for their kid's education, but a kid shouldn't be punished for their parents' misfortune or their neglect.
 
 
0 # fredboy 2012-07-05 07:20
Oh, I forgot to mention: When our child was born we did the unthinkable: we began to save for her college tuition, room and board. We also drove basic cars while our friends who didn't save bought the best, and took inexpensive vacations while the same friends bought boats and vacationed in exotic locations. We were so silly. Our daughter graduated with honors and zero debt, and we now vacation in Hawaii and the Caribbean. Yes, we sinned--we planned and saved. Silly, silly us.
 
 
+4 # Adoregon 2012-07-05 21:24
Your child is most fortunate.

It is always wise to live below one's means. (Unless, of course, one's means don't cover the basics. This is the crux impediment.)

Anticipatory thinking is priceless... and fun.
 
 
+2 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 11:59
Quoting fredboy:
Oh, I forgot to mention: When our child was born we did the unthinkable: we began to save for her college tuition, room and board. We also drove basic cars while our friends who didn't save bought the best, and took inexpensive vacations while the same friends bought boats and vacationed in exotic locations. We were so silly. Our daughter graduated with honors and zero debt, and we now vacation in Hawaii and the Caribbean. Yes, we sinned--we planned and saved. Silly, silly us.

Dude, we get it, you were smart and the rest of us evidently are not. So, please enjoy, you deserve it. By the way, sometimes, and I do stress this, debt is not always a result of excess. Sometimes people invest and the investment does not pan out. Also, if you have seen the documentary SICKO, the people in that film had medical insurance which did not pay, and they subsequently were bankrupted due to massive medical bills. Glad you apparently have been lucky in that department. Others have not been, through no fault of their own. Debt comes in many colours.
 
 
+4 # asbpab1966 2012-07-05 08:16
Another option is to bring the costs down by shopping around.

1. Take your first two years at County Community College. Low tuition. No dorm, you can live at home and commute (by bus if you don't have a car).

2. Look for scholarships. There are plenty available.

3. Take your Junior and Senior years at State College. There probably is a branch within commuting distance.

4. Buy used textbooks. No professor has time to write a radically different one every year, so last year's should be good. And if they are in good condition, and not too old, you can sell your textbooks at the end of the year.
 
 
0 # fredboy 2012-07-05 09:58
And, regarding asbpab1966, raise hell about textbook prices. They are a ripoff. When I was a professor I shifted from textbooks to readings and online materials when the textbook prices soared to ridiculous levels. And, forgive me, we even called some of the textbooks "royalty junk"--crap pumped out by professors who in turn "required" students to buy them at absurd prices.

I kid, as I expect no such protest. Students today don't have the guts to protest anything.
 
 
+4 # DLT999 2012-07-05 10:12
fredboy -- you never learn. You don't understand how others live because you refuse to try. Try NO CARS -- you bought cars -- my sister and her husband owed nothing but their mortgage, never vacationed, drove very broken cars if any at all, fed their two boys well, and lived in a very simple house. But they were unable to save for college. There was not one dollar left over for that even with both of them working full-time.

Someone mentioned buying used textbooks. My cousin is a professor. The textbooks get changed on them EVERY YEAR. Used textbook purchases are not an option for her students. But the community college idea is a very good one.

I am not in the situation of these young people, but I CAN UNDERSTAND IT. The system IS rigged. People with their nose up in the air feeling superior because they were able to save for college are part of the problem. A big part of the problem.
 
 
0 # fredboy 2012-07-05 15:20
DLY999. many thanks. I do understand how others live. I came from the poor side of the tracks. And decided to not let the highly contagious "poor me" attitude weigh me down and defeat me. I am so sorry your sister and husband could not save one dollar for their children's college. Believe me, had I known them I would have helped them.
How did we save? We budgeted. Ate sandwiches for lunch. Didn't pay for $6 daily espressos. And, above all, we followed the math and figured things out.
I lived. Worked my way through an MA and JD with no help from anyone and no debt at graduation. Saved and put my daughter through college with no borrowing and no resulting debt.
I think it may be time you and many of the whinier comment sharers look in the mirror--and learn to live, budget, and save.
And last, as I mentioned, I was a professor. And know the textbook pricing is a ripoff. But, as noted, today's students don't dare question anything or speak up. The next generation, however, will kick ass and take names.
 
 
-4 # fredboy 2012-07-05 15:21
And DLT999, believe me, my nose was on the grindstone, never in the air.
You should get your assumptive head out of your ass to see more clearly.
 
 
+6 # lark3650 2012-07-05 21:13
"When society fails to give future generations every care and opportunity to develop to its highest standard, it not only robs posterity of its greatest possible attainments, but upholds a most cruel and degraded system."
"The human race has stood for many slick schemes during the past that made slaves of everybody, but the scheme that allows those with money to tax those without it, is the worst that people have ever had to put up with." - Alfred Lawson, 1931.
 
 
+1 # tgemberl 2012-07-06 14:33
What I don't understand about Koch's story is why he didn't sign up for the income contingent repayment plan, which bases your required payment on how much you make. If your income falls below a certain amount, no payment is due from you. It's crazy to just not make a payment on your debts.

I agree that our education financing system is screwed up. But keep in mind that if we do fund higher education publicly, access to college will be restricted. It will only be for "qualified" people. As it is, anybody can get loans as long as he can get admitted to a school, whether he's likely to succeed or not. We probably need to move away from the idea that almost everyone should go to college. It just doesn't work for everyone. More people need to go into vocational schools, as in Germany.
 
 
+1 # Firefox11 2012-07-07 12:05
Quoting tgemberl:
What I don't understand about Koch's story is why he didn't sign up for the income contingent repayment plan, which bases your required payment on how much you make. If your income falls below a certain amount, no payment is due from you. It's crazy to just not make a payment on your debts.

I agree that our education financing system is screwed up. But keep in mind that if we do fund higher education publicly, access to college will be restricted. It will only be for "qualified" people. As it is, anybody can get loans as long as he can get admitted to a school, whether he's likely to succeed or not. We probably need to move away from the idea that almost everyone should go to college. It just doesn't work for everyone. More people need to go into vocational schools, as in Germany.

Totally agree; the idea that college is the panacea is part of the problem. The American people have been sold that idea for several generations. If it was ever true, it is now not true. College is an option, but not a necessity; vocational training is a better idea as it is more tied in with an actual job.
 

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