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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-10-2016, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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What to do about professional students

When should the creditors start collecting from professional students?

A couple of friends of mine, 6 grad degrees and 3 grad degrees, keep on going to school and owe $250K and $200K, respectively. I mean, come on! They have admitted privately that continuing school lessens monthly payments of loans by a lot so they keep on going. It worked OK when getting that first master's degree, but then what?

Only first one is being forced to pay some each month, but now making $100K a year still doesn't pay rent, food, gas, etc and enormous student loan and interest. And even then the military paid 80% percent but these are degrees in this modern era where each semester costs more than the most and colleges are riding high on government subsidized education to the point or ridiculousness.

Should president forgive loans over certain amount (let's say over $50K as suggested)? Argument says that a whole generation of people will put monies towards buying things, investing in stocks, and help economy. And we are talking about potentially millions of people here with some student loan.

Arguments sound pretty good both ways and I still don't have opinion. There are many free rides in society and some of them prove to be good. But I am not sure about creditors holding off collecting if said student is still in the process of another degree.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 01-10-2016 at 03:43 PM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-10-2016, 05:57 PM
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Re: What to do about professional students

student loan debt can/will be taken from social security later on so these people who don't want to work just study will pay later if not sooner... glen
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-10-2016, 06:07 PM
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Re: What to do about professional students

As someone who works as a professor at a college I have to disagree with the idea that colleges are riding high on government subsidized education.

College enrollment is down and government spending on education is at an all time low. That is why you see tuition going up.

The idea of taking more and more classes to lessen the cost does not make sense if you keep taking out more loans. It will all catch up to them soon.

I can see going for more degrees if you can't find a job but many times gradschool is not a good financial decision.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-10-2016, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: What to do about professional students

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Originally Posted by moebius View Post
As someone who works as a professor at a college I have to disagree with the idea that colleges are riding high on government subsidized education.

College enrollment is down and government spending on education is at an all time low. That is why you see tuition going up.

The idea of taking more and more classes to lessen the cost does not make sense if you keep taking out more loans. It will all catch up to them soon.

I can see going for more degrees if you can't find a job but many times gradschool is not a good financial decision.
Good point on enrollment and government spending. That's something CNN failed to mention and it didn't play into the narrative of their story that was trying to point the fingers at the "greedy" schools.

Anyway, first friend is late-40s, starting to pay off some of the huge chunk, but due to bad health choices was given less than years left to live. But that was 7 years ago so crossing fingers. That person also has a doctorate (but paid in full for themselves so no debt there), but is also working on yet another doctorate and yet another master's degree. The total, counting bachelor's, will be ten degrees. One is a military academy degree, so that and the first doctorate has no debt but the other eight degrees do/will.

The second friend with merely the bachelor's degree and three master's degrees is in their late-50s, or at least 56, and couch surfs and gets by as they embark on yet another undergrad degree or degrees in other fields. This person is not in bad health and can conceivably finish up schooling, get job for first time in their life, and in six months start to pay off the two hundred grand. And this would be assuming they got and kept a good job(s) and were on time with student loan payments.

But safe to say, the first person, even with great, current 100K job a year, (and in an extremely economically depressed area) will never pay off loans, especially with personal lifestyle and horses, and end up dying with massive debt. Being 100 pounds overweight or more, with the existing health problems, would have to win Super Lotto to pay it off quickly when very little time is what you have left on this planet.

I believe in education and in some circumstances can see using loans or credit of some sort to help out. I can even see starting from scratch, living at home, getting that associate's degree with own funds and later bachelor's degree, but maybe with some student loan as is the case with a lot of people. They may have to work, get that master's and even a PhD and maybe some more loans. I have seen some honest paths where they would get a master's, not like the field in the working world, and go back years later for second master's. And while some of those paths could be seen as excessive, they are understandable and related to a person wanting to do some education related to either personal interest and/or job training. But the two cases of my friends looks like they are just taking out loans to live a certain "lifestyle" and then not planning to pay for any of it.

If social security is withdrawn from the one I think will reach that age, it will take a ton of time to reach that two hundred grand. From what I know, his family has longevity and maybe some will get recovered.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 01-10-2016 at 08:24 PM.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2016, 12:56 PM
 
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Re: What to do about professional students

Huge, huge, huge subject, and not one I think we can address in anything approaching depth unless we start talking about some of the other problems with student loans - the fact that easy access to loans is undeniably helping support a college degree's inflation rate of more than double that of the broad economy, the fact that student loans are bankrupcy-remote yet still priced to reflect a risk premium, the fact that there's no proper "market" for student loans, and the borrower's expected long term earnings have zero impact on the rate, etc. In short, it's kind of a messy situation to begin with.

But, let's ignore all that. Your question makes two suppositions that I'd like to question - one, that education is a means to a job and not a worthwhile path on its own, and two, that one of the purposes of human life is to ensure that we die with positive net assets.

If your two friends spend the rest of their lives in school, and die without paying theirt student loans, are either of those necessarily the end of the world? Or, more simply, what's wrong with staying in school your whole life?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2016, 01:20 PM
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Re: What to do about professional students

Good points Drew.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2016, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: What to do about professional students

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Huge, huge, huge subject, and not one I think we can address in anything approaching depth unless we start talking about some of the other problems with student loans - the fact that easy access to loans is undeniably helping support a college degree's inflation rate of more than double that of the broad economy, the fact that student loans are bankrupcy-remote yet still priced to reflect a risk premium, the fact that there's no proper "market" for student loans, and the borrower's expected long term earnings have zero impact on the rate, etc. In short, it's kind of a messy situation to begin with.

But, let's ignore all that. Your question makes two suppositions that I'd like to question - one, that education is a means to a job and not a worthwhile path on its own, and two, that one of the purposes of human life is to ensure that we die with positive net assets.

If your two friends spend the rest of their lives in school, and die without paying theirt student loans, are either of those necessarily the end of the world? Or, more simply, what's wrong with staying in school your whole life?
Excellent questions, and I have no answers or well thought out opinions as of yet.

The one with three master's degrees is in good health and can possibly recover that debt and come out of it paid off and with positive net assets at death. It's too hard to say on that one. Without too much mystery, the term that people use for him is "smart" and of that I have no doubt. Also while they were out busting their butt getting all that advanced education, it was never really a case of a "lazy" person avoiding the hard work of the real world. They could have just as easily couch surfed but drank beer and got stoned. Instead, they couch surfed (read: never paid rent), and got three master's degrees, and from pretty good schools like Golden Gate University and Middlebury Graduate School who have reputations for being pretty hard. That person put the massive hours in to get all that education and by itself, even without work, is an amazing and major life accomplishment. That being said, every year I go to the air/car show and there's this booth where they have a prize for the biggest transformation of the most rusted out piece of junk being transformed into a one of a kind showpiece. People put in up to 20,000 man hours (but minimally 1,000-2,000 hours each) on one vehicle and I have seen hot tubs put into pickup trucks with fancy tile, gold plated parts, and lots of velvet. I think in that case, I would rather spend 20,000 hours on lots of advanced education.

I can't really judge on that one and say for sure they are planning on ditching the debt.

.............

But on the other person,
with the six master's degrees and doctorate and counting, and their obvious serious health problems, there's no doubt that they are "planning" on dying leaving a quarter of a million dollars in debt from bank loans, student loans, and credit cards. While the first person mentioned is considered smart and the smartest person in the room, this other person is a true renaissance person/lady. But I can only imagine what the cost of her education been had the military not have paid 80% percent, but things add up when it's within the annual rising cost of graduate school tuition with a few baby Ivies thrown in the resume for good measure. But if we look at the more than million dollars to educate this person on Uncle Sam's dime, it's also not a small bill that this former, decorated military officer also had fixed wing and helicopter training which had to, under the way the military spends money, be another million dollar bill. Gosh, I have the most respect for this person, and even considered asking her out way back when, but it does bother me that anyone would want to purposefully add to debt they have no intention to pay off.

..........


To answer your question, end of the world?

No, and probably forgettable on the big scheme of things. Uncle Sam spends money in a much, much worse way to where the issues I brought up are insignificant:

http://slothed.com/2013/08/02/u-s-mi...a-single-bolt/

Also the bolt was not cheap, but the nut was a mere $2,800 dollars. Go figure.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 01-11-2016 at 01:53 PM.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2016, 04:53 PM
 
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Re: What to do about professional students

Yeah, plenty of people die with large amounts of outstanding debt. Plenty of them also spend their life doing less worthwhile things than getting degrees. If their aspiration is to do something else down the road than being a professional student is probably a problem and is a way of not dealing with the stresses of the "real world," but if they have zero interest in getting a job and going to work 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, from now until the day they die - let's be honest, it's not exactly fun - then, well, I can't really fault them.

It's all about defining goals, I guess.

Middlebury undergrad alum, by the way - I assume you were at their CA language campus and not in Vt, but I loved my time at that place, and 12 years in the adult workforce has made me DEFINITELY appreciate why someone wouldn't want to leave.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2016, 05:02 PM
 
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Re: What to do about professional students

It's pretty ridiculous people like you mentioned even are allowed access to student loans. Personally I don't even think people getting useless degrees in subjects they will never make their money back on should be given loans either.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2016, 05:28 PM
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Re: What to do about professional students

read this book. it covers when info that was not applicable was not valuable and less valued. endless degrees (delaying being a productive, useful adult) is like everyone getting a participation trophy imho.

The Society for Useful Knowledge : how Benjamin Franklin and friends brought the Enlightenment to America
by Jonathan Lyons.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2016, 05:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jemsite View Post
read this book. it covers when info that was not applicable was not valuable and less valued. endless degrees (delaying being a productive, useful adult) is like everyone getting a participation trophy imho.

The Society for Useful Knowledge : how Benjamin Franklin and friends brought the Enlightenment to America
by Jonathan Lyons.
That's a good way of phrasing it
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-11-2016, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Yeah, plenty of people die with large amounts of outstanding debt. Plenty of them also spend their life doing less worthwhile things than getting degrees. If their aspiration is to do something else down the road than being a professional student is probably a problem and is a way of not dealing with the stresses of the "real world," but if they have zero interest in getting a job and going to work 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, from now until the day they die - let's be honest, it's not exactly fun - then, well, I can't really fault them.

It's all about defining goals, I guess.

Middlebury undergrad alum, by the way - I assume you were at their CA language campus and not in Vt, but I loved my time at that place, and 12 years in the adult workforce has made me DEFINITELY appreciate why someone wouldn't want to leave.
I was at Golden Gate university satellite campus not far from Middlebury.


It used to be Monterey Institute of International Studies until the school could no longer afford the rent of many buildings they rented from what had become local millionaires with great land for the most picturesque campus in the state.

Others not affiliated with school also liked the same land and could afford it so down the drain went the longtime school and Middlebury came along and took them over and had enough left over from main school to absorb Monterey's debt.

All I can say is that I hope Middlebury take the free land in the neighboring city where we closed down Army base and restart Middlebury graduate school there and stop the financial bleeding that is happening in prime downtown Monterey. The regional law school, the University of California, Cal State, and the junior college have all taken up free land there at the former Army base Ft. Ord. Many educational institutions have transferred departments and staff away from land they were paying rent for and resettled at old Army base. Slowly but surely schools and others are beautifying the eyesore that was the base.

Whether under Monterey or under Middlebury, the grad education is very pricey.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 01-11-2016 at 06:29 PM.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 12:46 PM
 
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Re: What to do about professional students

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It's pretty ridiculous people like you mentioned even are allowed access to student loans. Personally I don't even think people getting useless degrees in subjects they will never make their money back on should be given loans either.
Eh, that's all subjective, what a "useless degree" is. And it's tough to really predict a career path - I went to a great school, but there's no doubt I'm currently outperforming my earnings expectations as an American Literature major working as a financial analyst.

That said, while the mechanics of doing this would be dicey, I would like to see more of a market rate-setting mechanism in place that didn't treat all degrees, all students, and all universities as equally risky. Some sort of P2P/direct investment lending market where people could make small loans to individual students pursuing specific degrees or at specific institutions would be a potential way to handle this, though a good secondary market would be necessary.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 01:45 PM
 
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Re: What to do about professional students

I'm not ashamed to say I went the community college route. I went to school at 28 after the rock star thing didn't pan out. ( )
Actually it was after I wrote my first novel that the math/science bug really bit. I considered going in as a lit / journalism major and I was HORRIBLE at math in high school. All the same I wanted to fight my weak points and turn it into a strength and went in as a Computer Science major. It was NOT easy in the slightest, especially once I got into all the advanced math. I did get my AA with a great GPA and did my junior year at FAU before deciding I was done. I know - horrible that I didn't finish but it was mostly because I was working full time, I was burnt out, and the four-year universities don't really cater to working people schedule wise. But to some who scoff at the two-year college I took the hard courses at both the two year school and four year school and, especially math, they two year schools don't seem to "go light on you". In fact it seemed the opposite as they seem to want to avoid the tag of being the "easy route" to passing things like calculus and higher end physics. Is it MIT? Certainly not! But IMO math and science are pretty universal things. People can even learn the hard stuff on the internet these days for FREE. (I truly believe the internet will change the face of education the way Guttenberg's press brought information to the masses... but that's another story.)
And not to burn on my non-STEM major friends but I think I stand just as good of odds landing a good job with my knowledge, education, and work history than a full non-STEM undergraduate with a Bachelors. But IMO the real gift I gave myself is that I have the knowledge in my head and that if I were dropped in a desert with little resources that knowledge might help me science my way out. Okay, maybe an extreme example but my point is that it's knowledge that is useful at a fundamental level beyond the concept of money. Knowing science can literally do anything from help you fix the plumbing to saving your own life.
That said, my gig now pays well. I could make lots more I think but I'm not working myself to death, I work at home, and I have flexible time to help with my family. Maybe when the kids get older I'll go more for the payday.
And I paid for the lion share of my own education out of pocket and I have zero student loan debt.
AND, most importantly, I think my field conditioned me (even though I didn't finish) to understand that learning isn't just a four to six year and out experience. It's something you do throughout your life.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: What to do about professional students

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Eh, that's all subjective, what a "useless degree" is. And it's tough to really predict a career path - I went to a great school, but there's no doubt I'm currently outperforming my earnings expectations as an American Literature major working as a financial analyst.

That said, while the mechanics of doing this would be dicey, I would like to see more of a market rate-setting mechanism in place that didn't treat all degrees, all students, and all universities as equally risky. Some sort of P2P/direct investment lending market where people could make small loans to individual students pursuing specific degrees or at specific institutions would be a potential way to handle this, though a good secondary market would be necessary.

Excellent point on bachelor of arts degree.


I was listening to ABC radio news network (KGO AM 810) and they had an interesting story on top medical schools actively trying to pursue undergrads with degrees in the arts.

They found that while BS degree holders make great everyday MDs, it was often the BA holders in the arts who were trained to think holistically and outside the box and were great at coming up with cures and new, effective treatments furthering modern medicine. Their BA training was not so much about the rules of math and science and usually only being one right answer and one way to do something. Being able to use their training comparing cultures, disciplines, and time periods, medical schools found they can broaden the field of MDs by pulling from the many BA graduates out there.

If all kids go to college with a so-called "useful" degree in mind and are all studying engineering, computer science, and accounting who often have their graduates end up with more offers than they could imagine, I am still glad people study literature, philosophy, music, fine art, and sociology.

In the big picture, we need a well rounded society in order to compete with the outside world. Looking many years later after I graduated from business school, I found both small business and corporations populated with tons of people who didn't study business, management, or accounting. You are just as likely to find a business manager be a graduate with a BFA in Creative Writing or microbiology as you are a garden variety business bachelor's degree holder.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 01-12-2016 at 08:19 PM.
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