The Ball and Chain of Student Loan Debt

College debt meets real life


"My student debt has made me nervous to take chances," one woman wrote.

"I haven't been able to afford health insurance," said a 2010 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

"Student debt has deterred me from pursuing many job offers (and passions -- I would love to work with a nonprofit organization assisting veterans) that did not pay enough," said a woman who expects to pay back more than $40,000 in student loan debt over 30 years.

Many students surveyed went straight to graduate school. That decision defers loan payments but eventually adds to them.

"That may not be the best idea in the long term," said Jered Weber, director of communications for the student association. "At least it gives you a little more time. It's especially hard with this job market."

Alumni echoed that thought. One business management grad makes $14,000 a year as a direct care staffer.

Halfway through, the survey asks: "Looking back, how would you change your college experience, related to finances?"

"I wouldn't have gone," Ezra Kazee answered.

Kazee finished his political science degree at Winona State University in 2008. Thanks in part to $300 monthly loan payments, his family lives paycheck to paycheck, he said. "At the end of the day I have mortgaged my life and my children's future for an education that did absolutely nothing for me."

He works as a debt collector.

Comment: Sad ....


  1. OK, here's the question, then; does not student loan debt serve to coerce otherwise bright people into taking the "secure" job over the one that they'd really be fulfilled in.

    And why do I, having no student loan debt, keep taking "secure" jobs? Something is amiss in the state of Waseca....

  2. I quit school after two years because I didn't want to go into debt. It took me another 5 to finish my BA doing classes part-time, but I've never regretted that decision.

  3. I think that the vast majority of Americans are conditioned for debt. I was debt free when I got out of college but then went on a borrowing binge: car loan, mortgage, bought washer and drier on credit. My wife was much more fiscally conservative than I and reigned me in.

    Reagan's Presidential run helped me immensely.

    Pastoring three churches, whenever there was a financial need many had boneheaded ideas about borrowing our way to growth. The two churches at which I was the Sr Pastor (really the only Pastor) we stayed and payed and were debt free before we left. The first of those churches borrowed money for air conditioning as soon as I left.

    I'm not all "all debt is bad". But borrowing for a bachelor's degree in a weak major (Political Science for example) is just plain dumb (in my view))


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