Congressional leaders were unable to come to a conclusion on how to deal with federal student loan interest rates. July 1st was the deadline, but that interest rate will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Student loan debt rises every minute and it has reached a total of $1 trillion. Higher interest rates can accelerate the issue.
The infographic below, provided by OnlineColleges.com, outlines the pressing issue of student loan debt in the United States.
Some key points made in the infographic:
- From 2000 to 2012, annual tuition costs for a four-year college rose from $14,020 to $19,339.
- About 41 percent of Americans, ages 25 to 34 have attained some form of higher education.
- Average student loan debt per person went from $13,340 in 2005 to $21,402 in 2012.
- Student loans are the second largest debt burden (nearly $1 trillion), higher than credit card and auto loans, but only behind mortgages.
The increase in student debt burden is also said to adversely affect economic activity by $6 billion.
Despite the grim outlook on the debt burden to attend college, it is still a worthy investment. Average annual earnings for new graduates with bachelor’s degrees was $55,000. The Brooking Institutes finds that college has a 15.2 percent rate of return on investment. Unemployment drops significantly with higher degrees, as well.
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The Saudi government is pouring its temporary oil wealth into scholarship packages for its college students, both to study in country and abroad. Multiple Saudi students come to study on UCSD campus, and I've asked them about their ability to survive in the car-dependent San Diego environment...their answer shocked me. "We just ask for more money and lease whatever we want," one replied before showing me the glossy Camaro convertible they'd acquired. Another told me he was originally planning on spending just 3 months in California, but after liking it too much and contacting the necessary people he planned a last-minute extension to a full year's stay, no questions asked. "Improve your brain" appears to be the Saudi government's best bet yet at improving the overall development of the nation, and is already a catalyst for social change now that women can speak more readily for themselves: "http://www.ted.com/talks/manal_al_sharif_a_saudi_woman_who_dared_to_drive.html"
The American policy of allowing future producers to shoulder the burden of current inefficiency is nothing but a short-sighted mitigation effort that will keep us sustainably non-competitive in the global market...
I don't understand Obama's rhetoric of "competing on an international scale" when we aren't even giving much value to the educational system. It's the "backburner issue," one that consistently gets swept under the rug and worsens while idle hands let the problem fester. The issue isn't money, it's the mixed signals about education we are giving our citizens. Do we care or don't we?
I'm actually quite impressed with the Saudis and the Kuwaitis; they've known for some time now that their oil has reached peak and is in the depletion stages, so they've done some very fascinating things to ensure their financial future including building islands off their coast and selling the condos built on them and a massive indoor snow ski arena, all to attract tourists (although, I'm not too sure how the tourists are going to get there without oil).
Much as single-payer health insurance, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, closing Gitmo, A TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT; all just as you say - rhetoric.