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Local students and grads drowning in debt

Original post made on Sep 22, 2013

With student debt exceeding national credit-card debt — crossing the $1 trillion point last year — and college becoming costlier each year, local students and their families are borrowing more and more to finance their futures.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, September 22, 2013, 12:19 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Mr Advice, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 22, 2013 at 7:50 am

Burn the books!!


Posted by Nick, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Let's see: rack up $28k in debt so you can study "cultural anthropology"? And wonder why you can only get a job at Starbucks?

Any push to get a government bailout for the student loan problem only makes it worse: colleges can keep raising prices without teaching any real skills, and students will keep paying the exorbitant prices.

The real answer is to think of college as an investment, and think carefully about whether or not it will give you good return on your investment. It's not about paying $50k/year to party and get a worthless degree.


Posted by Amelia, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I feel so sorry for students these days. When I went to uni, prices were reasonable, and my minimum wage job was enough to put a roof over my head and help me keep my student loans down. I also knew that if anything went wrong, I could claim bankruptcy. When I graduated, my loans were small enough that I was able to double up my payments and pay them off within five years.

For anyone going to college these days, make sure to ask yourself these things before you commit to a school and loans:
(a) Does your degree cost more than it should? (art students, I'm talking to you!)
(b) Will your degree give you a decent-paying job? (art history and philosophy students, I'm talking to you!)
(c) How crowded is the job market for your degree? (teachers, phsychology students, I'm taking to you!)


Posted by Mr Advice, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

A billionaire gave this advice " A young person is better off becoming a plumber or similar trade than going to college on a maybe and incurring a huge debt"


Posted by Challenge to students, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I challenge our students to hash out the waste they see in their schools, whether it's paying millions for a painting or scuplture or anything that is a waste of money.

Many problems in our schools, one is lots of waste financially and a lot of stupid classes one needs to take in order to graduate that has nothing to do with your career choice.

Get rid of any classes or sports that do not have to do with the basic Rs.


Posted by psr, a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 24, 2013 at 8:56 am

I agree with Nick. The cost of a degree at a four-year institution is effectively the same if you are majoring in Art History or Computer Science Engineering. The difference is what happens AFTER you graduate. It is important think of your degree as an investment in your future and it should give you the tools to provide you with the ability to earn enough to take care of yourself.

Students need to take advantage of their advisors and find ways to make their passions pay. If you love theatre, maybe you should get a degree in video communications. You really have nobody to fault but yourself if you can't pay off your loans because you got a degree nobody can put to work at their company.

I agree that we need to provide lots of options so people can have a well-rounded education. However, I don't see a lot of value in spending millions on a stadium from which only a tiny percentage of students derive benefit. Spending on educating, rather than the physical building seems like the better option. Companies often will partner with a school if they get employees from the program.

I guess I find it really childish to complain about not getting a job if you don't bother to make yourself into an asset to someplace that will pay you what you'd like to earn.


Posted by Greg, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2013 at 9:33 am

Problem would go away if loans were limited based on the median income of former students, by school and by major.

You don't hear these horror stories about STEM field graduates from good schools.


Posted by Steve, a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Doesn't sound like critical thinking courses are prerequisite anymore.
Find the logic here: I went into debt to get a college degree. My degree doesn't provide a salary sufficient to repay my debt. Therefore, I should borrow more money and get a fancier degree.


Posted by Local resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm

There's another huge factor in this situation and I didn't see much about it in this story, although one of the major Bay Area dailies ran a feature a week or so ago that I believe addressed it.

A lot of guaranteed student loan money today is going to students not at conventional 4-year or junior colleges, but at specialized trade schools, some of which are impressively expensive, yet have poor placement rates for graduates -- and appear not to care. Once students are persuaded to attend, the school gets its money, even if the student is never able to use the training. One of my neighbors was an instructor at one such school, and told me she resigned in disgust over what she saw as cynical exploitation of the loan programs by the school in this way.

The fraction of US high-school graduate students who go on to attend expensive higher education has risen enormously since World War 2, and much of this expansion has been money-driven. When the GI Bill provided college funding for millions of returning servicemen after WW2, the number of colleges accommodating them rapidly increased. That was the same period when so many former teacher's colleges or marginal 4-year schools began newly styling themselves as "universities." Guaranteed student loans are an extension of what the GI Bill started, and the education industry has proven adept at lining up to be the truly guaranteed beneficiary of all this tax money.


Posted by STEM STEM STEM, a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 25, 2013 at 6:10 am

Obviously if one studies the humanities then they deserve a lifetime of debt bondage. Google View, indeed.


Posted by A college graduate, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I graduated from college with a major if Chemistry. I also studied every physics course and math course offered.
In high school, I "aced" auto-shop, metal-shop and wood-shop.
I taught myself how to program computers as well as build my own computers. I also taught myself to repair computers, analog electronics and digital electronics.
I also did well in language arts. I got certified in MS-Word, MS-Excel and AutoCad.
I studied Spanish in school and learned to speak German by myself.
In my spare time, I go backpacking and mountain climbing.
I occasionally get a job traveling to remote locations to repair industrial equipment, especially if nobody else can fix it
My day job is flipping burgers and am currently homeless.

The problem? I am an American citizen, not a worker with an H1-B visa.

Good luck to those who try to get an excellent education and try to make an honest living. A local self-described "gang banger" who I see around the streets dropped out of high school, drives a Lamborghini and always has thick wads of $100 bills in his pocket. He occasionally asks me to help him out when he has problems with his computer.

You occasionally see me hanging out around Shoreline West area.



Posted by Sean, a resident of Gemello
on Sep 26, 2013 at 8:38 am

I have a coworker whose girlfriend hangs out at our work, (she goes to the art institute in San Francisco.......she COLORS all day on designs! COLORS!!!!!! Her parents live in Los Altos and support her. LMAO


Posted by gotdegree?, a resident of Slater
on Sep 27, 2013 at 11:11 am

@ Sean - So, what's your point? If her parents are able to afford to send her to an art institute (which by the way IS NOT CHEAP), who in turn will give girl a degree, which will allow her to get a paying job (whether it's "coloring" all day long or creating advertising art design); who are you to judge? I got my degree in graphic art and commercial design, and [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] we colored, and we cut out shapes and we drew lines. It's part of the degree process.

What did you degree in genious? Accounting? Did you have to add one plus one?


Posted by Steve, a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm

There is a major disconnect between having a college degree and being suitable for employment. The university industry has done a great job of persuading people that they are second class citizens if they have no college diploma, yet many a worthless diploma is handed out in many a useless subject for the right amount of "coursework" (translation: tuition).
Sad that the common misconception is "...a degree, which will allow her to get a job". As if we're somehow not permitted behind that velvet rope without purchasing the proper passport.


Posted by Jeff, a resident of Slater
on Sep 28, 2013 at 8:16 am

@Steve:
Worthless diplomas and useless subjects now include- Science, Engineering, Computer Programming and most business majors. Well, unless it is accompanied by a more important document, the H-1B visa.

Even public school teachers are being replaced by foreign labor. According to the CIS, 350 public school teachers in California are not American citizens. In a state with 18 million people we have a teacher shortage?


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