Wednesday, August 21, 2013

College Loans and "The System"

The demographics of the readers of this blog probably varies, but I'm sure most of us have a few things in common. We will all have to pay taxes, we will all die in a blaze of glory, and most of us have student loans. This has become a point of contention between my parents and myself, but I won't go into detail. Jonny Casanova and myself even had a lengthy discussion about the validity of J. Cole as a lyricist as he always seems to mention Sallie Mae. This bitch, and her cousins at other financial institutions, are raking a generation over the coals.
Student loans are a means of control, and the way in which student aide is given is a farce. The control comes in the form of socioeconomic status. The best way to describe this is an American version of the caste system in India. This is how the rich stay rich and the middle class continues to struggle with their "American Dream". The FAFSA bases my level of financial need on my parents income, but at the age of 18 I am considered an adult right? So why is my level of future debt based on people who are soon to have no legal ties or responsibilities to me anymore? Our fate is decided before we even get to college. Debt-free and at liberty to chase our dreams or destined to a life of debt.

I see the system as this. To get a decent paying job, you need a college degree. To get a college degree either your parents pay for it, you get need/merit based scholarships and/or you get loans. Look at these damn facts about loans. If you have to get loans (which over two-thirds of graduates do) you will have to work a job sooner rather than later meaning you might not end up doing what you wanted. Hell, that's if you can even find a job. And, blessed are those whose parents can float them for a while so they can search for a job they want. But once you're educated you have to get a job to pay the loans back, thus your are stuck in the cycle and unless you are able to make moves up the chain, your kids are destined for the same fate.

I am in no way marginalizing the value of an education. I am an education advocate, but I do have qualms with the funding of higher education. I also think that student loans have a negative impact on the economy. The last line in the link to student loan facts supports this statement. If you didn't click it before, you probably won't now, so here's what it says: "In 2011, first-time home buyers, with a median age of 31, fell to the smallest percentage of total home purchasers since 2006. (Source: National Association of Realtors)". As a generation, we can't afford to buy homes. How can we not commit to a great investment for our futures when we have these great jobs and great education? Because student loans and debt equate to at least half a mortgage payment and in some cases it exceeds.

The value of homes is supposed to appreciate while vehicles depreciate as soon as they're taken off the lot. I honestly see education as a depreciating asset. As we progress as a society, my bachelor's degree means less and less. A bachelor's degree is no longer enough to pay for a bachelor's degree. I have to get a master's to live the life I want and get a better job. But damn, I'm still going to be in this cycle. I've often heard that a bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma and a master's is the new bachelor's. I think this is very much the case.
Our home is a piece of paper. I'm a believer that if the government could help to erase national student debt, our economy would flourish. We would purchase homes and take the risk of starting businesses. Our level of misery as a generation would drastically reduce if we had to work a less than ideal job. How depressing is it to work at a job you over qualify for and bust your ass for money that doesn't even belong to you? I've had extensive conversations with friends who do just that. I'm also a victim, even though I've been blessed with a decent position. Lord knows I'm grateful and I count my blessings daily, but I'm miserable nonetheless.'ve probably written about student loans before, but I really do hate them. No other reason to write it now, except for surge of recent anguish and disapproval of this system. Mr. Obama, if you're reading this, help a brother out (we know you love 5ivebruhs). Mr. Obama, if you could help me understand how $200/month in interest alone on student loans is the American Dream, I would be most grateful. If you could make my loans disappear, I won't tell a soul. Scouts honor. If I had the money I invested in college to invest in my own business, I think my chance to succeed would be work taking the risk. But since I don't, I'll continue to watch my money auto-withdraw from my bank account with much disdain. I'll continue to watch the time frame for becoming a home owner and make lifelong investments get pushed to the right.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, you are falling more into 'the system' by believing you 'have to' get a master's degree to get a job.

I believe this is how many most recent graduates are thinking and going right back to school and enrolling in a masters program before even applying to (one) job. The system has implemented fear led our generation to believe that finding a job in this economy is impossible. This is not true. And helps them to continue to make *billions* of our insecurities.

Do 22 year olds even consider the debt they incur while being in grad school full time and as a result, leave school with no income since they did not have the chance to work? Pay your loans back with what money?

Also, how are you more competitve (in some scenarios) than a 24 year old that was in school for 4 years but had credible working experience for two years than a 24 year old that has been sitting in a class room for 6 years straight?

Brudda J said...

I totally agree with your first statement, hence the statement, "But damn, I'm still going to be in this cycle". It sucks, and its hard to fight and change. I do feel like the fear the system puts in us, is why our generation is going to college more and more.

From personal experience, my place of employment used to hire people right out of high school and these people are living decent lives and learned the job on the job. Now, they only hire college grads. I've heard the same for an array of different organizations. I'm a federal employee and this is clearly the trend for the public sector.

The fear you talk about is real, and it aides in perpetuating the system. Its very hard to overcome, but try we shall.

I appreciate the comment.

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