spectating participant

May 1, 2006

Student loan: a dowry in reverse? - May. 1, 2006

Filed under: school, family, life — suzanne henderson @ 6:02 pm

Student loan: a dowry in reverse? - May. 1, 2006

It’ll soon be time to start coughing up some serious bucks for the student loans that have bought me a $35K degree in a field that can’t even use BAs. Thankfully I have no real interest in actually working in the field. But, I do have an interest in paying off my student loans and it’ll be quite the payment, I’m sure. All but the last year of my student loans have been consolidated and I’m not sure on what the payment is going to be just yet — I’m sure it is more than I’m currently prepared for, but it’ll get paid regardless.

However, this article made the following point which felt out of place:

“We now burden many young adults with student debt, sometimes massive in nature; the price being paid includes marriages delayed or foregone and fewer children. This is foolish public policy.”

Now, considering the title of this article, I can understand the addressing of delayed marriages and I understand how that leads to fewer children, but to argue that this a foolish public policy because of the implied lack of procreation seems a bit absurd. We don’t need to be reproducing like rabbits, in fact, my desire to have 7 children is totally irresponsible and inconsiderate of the environmental, social, and economic impact adding 6 more people (one has already been added) to the world.

Amassing major debt before one is out of college, especially undergraduate level, is a bad plan for starting off on the right foot - but it is the only plan for many students. Severely low-income families and most working class and middle class families simply can’t afford to pay for their child’s education and it shouldn’t be expected that they will, though it is a major issue they should at least consider and choose an appropriate plan of action suitable for their family situation. Education is a good way for people to get better paying jobs and improve their social situation. Of course, there are other ways too that parents might want to consider instead but it is a good starting point for many people. Starting off in the hole means that students need even more preparation for how to make sound financial decisions during and after college in order to make the best of their situation.

Another site recently stated an expectation and frustration that they were forced into debt through student loans because their parent’s didn’t make better financial choices and set up a college fund for them. Yes, we can hope that parents will look out for their children, but, no, we cannot expect that parents will always do so or do so to the extent of paying the tuition bill that comes due.

I worry that I will have nothing saved for Alex for college. However, I know that I will plan well enough to give her a strong supporting base for college in order to make it possible. I also point out that working hard in school for the right grades to get admission and scholarship packages needs to be part of her college savings plan. Yes, I am willing to help her out but I am not willing to write a blank check for the experience.