Figures Don’t Lie, But…
…you know the rest.

There’s an article about the upcoming “Student Debt Tsunami” that will destroy the American economy in the near future.

Of course, the numbers are used to argue the case for “Free” College for All. I don’t need to point out to readers of this blog the stupidity of that idea.

One ‘heart-rending’ factoid used in the article is that Black students will be ‘unfairly’ the biggest recipients of the crash. The figures are below.

Student Loan Default Rates Are Highest For African Americans
The default rate among African American graduates is more than five times the rate of white graduates.
Black $55,667 20.6%
Hispanic or Latino $28,599 8.6%
White $26,005 4%
Asian $30,612 1.4%
Debt and default among bachelor’s degree graduates 12 years after college entry, 2004 entry cohort.
Source: Judith Scott-Clayton, Brookings Institution

Several considerations come to mind:
Black students are borrowing more than twice as much as White students, which might lead one to ask:
Are Black students majoring in subjects that pay off at higher levels than White students?
The short and dirty answer – No. A study of college majors, and the proportions of students by ethnicity and sex, is here. Very scholarly, very much supportive of the idea that minorities do not major in fields that will pay adequately with just a bachelor’s degree.

That’s a hard thing to get minorities/women to understand. A college degree is not just a college degree – major field of study counts.

I once had a discussion with an English teacher, who was indignant that her brother, with ‘only’ a bachelor’s degree, made considerably more than she, with a Master’s in English from a prestigious university.

I asked what her brother had majored in.

Electrical Engineering, I was told.

I diplomatically suggested that the field of engineering was short of people to fill those jobs, and might, therefore, pay more.

After being lectured about how pay should have NO relation to the number of applicants, but should be the same for the same ‘level’ of education required, I shrugged, and left.

She wasn’t unique. MANY women, and minorities, have those egalitarian principles. Of course, that does inhibit upward mobility for individuals, but, hey – they keep their ‘pure’ ideals.

So, how should the student debt crisis be handled?

Put a ceiling on the amount that can be borrowed. Limit that amount to a MAX equal to the amount that the average person in that field earns after 5 years. No loan guarantees after that amount.

Also, put a maximum on the amount that can be borrowed each year equal to a year’s tuition, minus other financial aid. If a college really wants a kid to attend, let them pony up a GRANT for room and board.

What does this mean? Fewer kids going to ‘away’ colleges, more attending local ones, including community/tech colleges.

NO money for coursework that is below college level. Let them take those classes at a junior college, before attending a four-year one. Admittance to four-year colleges for the low SAT/ill-prepared dependent on successful completion of an associate’s degree.

Yes, I realize that this will likely KILL Big 10 football/basketball, but some sacrifices have to be made.