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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

CURMUDGUCATION: College Debt Sucks

CURMUDGUCATION: College Debt Sucks
College Debt Sucks

I passed a milestone a couple of months back--I paid off the last of my children's college loans.

I went to college back in the 70s. My entire undergrad education cost about $16K. I could have paid for some of it with the proceeds of my summer job, but my parents covered the costs and that allowed me to save for grad school and to start out on my feet. Lots of my friends from high school worked their way through college and started out life largely debt free; it wasn't that hard a trick to pull off in those long-ago days.

But by the time my older children had graduated from high school in the 00s, the world had changed. Paying for college with summer job proceeds was not remotely feasible. Meanwhile, college costs had gone berserk. My children worked summers and, some years, during the school year. Our deal was that I would pay college costs, and they would cover their own living expenses (their mother kicked in as well). 

Simply procuring and managing the loans was trouble enough. Sometimes it was like when you apply for your first home loan, and the bank treats you like you're a twelve-year old delinquent borrowing money to buy cases of beer. Bad beer. Other times it was simply confusing, as when the loans were sold from one handler to another resulting in a complete change of account numbers and payment amounts. And the phone calls from loan consolidators! Like many college-adjacent industries, these folks try so hard to suggest they are official government entities trying to do you a favor or help you comply with rules you didn't know existed. I can't begin to imagine how many young college students are hoodwinked by this stuff. 

I had advantages as an adult. For instance, I knew better than to pay just the minimum if I could manage more. I had a real job and real income. For over a decade, most of my income went to CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: College Debt Sucks