Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Student Debt

Let me say up front that I am blessed. I have eight years of higher education without a single loan. I was blessed with scholarships and worked my way through law school.

Unfortunately, not many in my generation and Generation Y are so blessed. Today USA Today has an article dealing with the growing crisis in the student loan arena. Fortune also has a fascinating cover article on Generation Y in the workforce. Although I found many things in the article right on (though it includes years 1977-1995 as Generation Y), one of the big concerns for that generation coming out of college is the high cost of student loans.

A generation that is saddled with an average student loan debt for graduating seniors of almost $20,000 (according to www.finaid.com) will be saddled with a heavy burden.

As a parent, I'm more than a bit concerned about how to prevent a heavy loan burden from falling on our kids. We're only ten years away from college, and my husband and I routinely debate whether we are better off saving for college or retirement. So we do both, just not at the ratios either of us wants.

We've also had many conversations with friends about what the right balance is. How much should parents pay? How much should the kids pay? My parents split costs for undergrad with me...fortunately for all of us, I had full scholarships by my junior year. And I knew from the beginning any grad school was on me.

So what do you think? Ready or not, if you have kids, college debt is coming.


Deborah said...

i just graduated from undergrad and i have loans. luckily for me they are not too big as I had scholarships for some of my years. i'm planning on paying them off very soon with some help from my parents. however i plan on going to grad school and i know that i'll have to take out loans for that and THAT's going to be VERY pricey. i'm not looking forward to it, but with my degree (history), it's not worth anything unless i get higher education. so it's a catch 22. don't be in debt and have low paying job. or be in debt and have higher paying job to pay off loans.

hopefully when i have kids one day they will be superbly brillant and will be paid to go to school. i can dream...

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have talked about this so many times. We have four children..... hmmmm! My parents helped me through college by providing room and board.... we lived close enough to Purdue to commute. I also received scholarships and grants and graduated with a small amount of debt (paid off). It is our desire that our children graduate from college with no debt. How are we going to do this???? We can't afford at this point to save towards their education (single income family in a dual income world), but we can give them a well balanced life and encourage them to excell in school. There are so many scholarship opportunities.... just have to take the time to fill out application after application. They will have to work, and I don't think that there is anything wrong with doing the first year or two at a community college. My husband and I will do what we can to help, but their brains and work ethic will have to do the majority. Hard work never hurt anyone.... my sister and I both worked are way through school.... I appreciate my education very much. (Even though social work doesn't pay much, I have a degree.... I have the experience of college.... I have the skills it takes to make it in school.... I could go to grad school if I want....)
Heather C.

PS... Cara, It was great to see you today!


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