Mar 302015
 
Every young person should see the Fed’s startling numbers on student debt by Simon Black March 30, 2015Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile What I’m about to tell you is not my own opinion or even analysis. It’s original data that comes from the United States Federal Reserve and national credit bureaus. 40 million Americans are now in debt because of their university education, and on average borrowers have four loans with a total balance of $29,000. According to the Fed, “Student loans have the highest delinquency rate of any form of household credit, having surpassed credit cards in 2012.” Since 2010, student debt has been the second largest category of personal debt, just after a home mortgage. The delinquency rate for student loans is now hovering near an all-time high since they started collecting data 12 years ago. Only 37% of total students loan balances are currently in repayment and not delinquent. The rest—nearly 2 out of 3—are either behind on payments, in all-out default, or have entered some sort of deferral program to delay making payments, with a small percentage still in school. It’s pretty obvious that this is a giant, unsustainable bubble (more on this below). But even more important are the personal implications. University graduates now matriculate with tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt. Debt is another form of servitude. Like medieval serfs, debt keeps people tied to jobs they dislike in places they don’t want to be working for bosses they hate doing things that make them feel unfulfilled. Debt makes it very difficult to walk away and start fresh. In fact, ‘starting fresh’ is almost legally impossible when it comes to student debt. Even in US bankruptcy court, student debt cannot be discharged in almost all cases. It is an albatross that hangs over you for a decade or more if you do make the payments, and it follows you around for the rest of your life if you do not. (I’m not suggesting anyone default on what they owed—simply pointing out that nearly every other form of debt can be discharged EXCEPT for student debt.) This kind of debt has a huge impact on people’s lives. Again, according to the Federal Reserve, “[G]rowing student debt has contributed to the recent decline in the homeownership rate and to the sharp increase in parental co-residence among millennials.” So the Fed’s own analysis shows that student debt (more…)