The cover of August 16, 2016, edition of Consumer Reports magazine screams: “I Kind Of Ruined My Life By Going To College.”
Inside you’ll find a myriad of stories from current and former students who find their lives purportedly shattered and crushed by student loan debt.
Why are those burdened with student loan debt regularly portrayed as victims? What is the difference between them and the millions of Americans that hold even larger obligations such as credit card debt, car loans, personal loans, business loans or mortgages?
I found myself shaking my head in disbelief while unpacking the lamentations that Consumer Reports put forth. The student featured on the cover, Jackie Krowen of (surprise!) Portland, Oregon accumulated $152,000 in student loan debt. It took her eight years to graduate with a degree in Nursing. She attended one college and two universities. She complained that the loans were too easy to apply for: “You didn’t have to meet with anybody.” “You just clicked some buttons on the computer, and you had a huge check.”
Wait….what? I hate to break it to Ms. Krowen, but folks apply for million-dollar mortgages and fifty-thousand dollars of unsecured credit in this manner. It’s called the age of online banking. Welcome to the 21st Century.
Consumer Reports did not disclose if Ms. Krowen received an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Nursing. Whatever degree she ultimately obtained, $152,000 is way off the mark for the average price of a Nursing Degree. Why is her high level of student loan debt somehow the fault of others? How was she abhorrently wronged?
At least Consumer Reports disclosed Ms. Krowne’s major. They ignored mentioning the majors of the other four students that they profiled. This is a significant omission.
One student, Jessie Suren, is saddled with a $90,000 balance on her student loan obligations. She now sells time shares. There is no mention of what she majored in. She attended LeSalle University where tuition is $36,000 a year. Something tells me that she didn’t choose a STEM major. I am going to surmise that the major that she chose is most likely the reason she is relegated to selling time shares post-graduation.
These students were not strapped into a chair with klieg lights shining in their face and forced to sign student loan documents. The accruing and acceptance of these debts is no different than amassing high levels of credit card debt, car loans, personal loans, business loans or mortgages.
There is not one mention in the cover article as to the outrageous increases in college and university tuition. Not one tie-in to how tuition increases are the direct result of easy GUARANTEED federal student loan programs. Not one reference to the fat piles of endowments that universities are sitting on while they charge students outrageous tuition rates.
I like Consumer Reports. I’m a subscriber. But make no mistake, they lean left and never met a federal regulation they didn’t like.
Accounts like this remind me why conservatives embrace the notion of personal responsibility while liberals tend to favor the collective: when things go bad, it’s not your fault; it’s someone else’s.