OTHER VOICES

A Hard Look at College Costs

Posted Aug. 03, 2012, at 8:13 p.m.

It’s not exactly news that college loans could be the next bubble, passing the $1 trillion mark.

College loans are now greater than credit card debt.

Because they cannot be eliminated, even in bankruptcy, college loan debt can follow people to Social Security.

Now a Wall Street Journal article illustrates just what a bad debt college loans can be. …

Lenders are offering college loans without the same kind of checks that used to be expected. And students, too often immature when it comes to offers of easy money, too often are taking on much more in loan burdens than they can afford.

So a new program from the Obama administration ought to be applauded. It encourages colleges to have students fill out a “Shopping Sheet” that illustrates the real cost of the debt to be undertaken. …

Dawn Lockhart, CEO of Family Foundations, would like the proposed checklist of college costs to include a place for the student to pick a career that shows the sort of income the student can expect to make.

The income of the profession the student is pursuing will make a huge difference in the justification of the loan.

The student should have to take a moment and realize just how much of his beginning salary will go to college loans. As much as a car payment? As much as a mortgage payment? Families with the means owe it to their children to take a long hard look at the loans their children are taking. And colleges themselves owe it to their students to forcefully encourage a hard look.

The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla. (July 31)

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