In response to my post about student debt, I hear a lot of people muttering, “But, LawDog, what is your solution to the student debt crisis?”
I’m glad you asked.
First the “student debt crisis” is the creation and bastard child of the Federal Government. It is, point of fact, squarely and fully the fault of Washington DC that this “crisis” exists in the first place.
Given that the Federal Laws and programs that created this whole mess are still in effect, any “solution” to said mess has got to start with eliminating those laws and programs. Period. It makes absolutely zero sense to attempt to fix a problem without directly addressing what created the problem to begin with.
So, any solution needs to start with the Fed.gov publicly admitting their responsibility for mare’s nest; and fixing the laws and programs that created it to begin with.
Second, it is manifestly unfair for the taxpayer to be on the hook for debt that taxpayer never signed onto in the first place. I didn’t sign a contract to pay for a useless degree in Gender Studies, why the hell should my hard-earned tax money go to pay for it?
However, while it is the fault of the Federal Government, some fault should be heaped upon the shoulders of greedy universities and colleges. They saw an opportunity in the feckless and unwise laws and programs of the Federal Government for those institutions to — quite frankly — make some extra money. These institutions took that extra money, and in return produced useless degrees, and students incapable of earning enough to pay their loans back.
So, it’s time for the penalty for producing graduates unable to earn a living to start hurting. The job of colleges and universities is to produce graduates capable of integrating into, and becoming productive members of society; if you simply can’t do that, there should be repercussions.
Colleges and universities have endowments — to the total of $854.11 billion (with a ‘B’) as of 2021.
If you graduate from Oberlin College and the degree you got from them can’t earn you enough to pay your student loans back, then I think Oberlin College (endowments: 1.201 Billion dollars) was grossly negligent in your education; and should pay the default on your student loans.
Your BA in Gender Studies from Columbia University (endowments: 13.28 Billion dollars) useless for getting you a job for anything more than barista? Why did they take your student loans in exchange for a degree any reasonable man would understand to be useless? Time for them to pay for that negligence.
This will have multiple effects. The first of which is that people with no skin in the game — the American taxpayer — don’t get their tax dollars ravaged.
The second is that colleges and universities faced with the prospect of having to be financially responsible will start throttling back tuition amounts which are quite frankly at exorbitant, extortionate, and outrageous levels.
Third, but by no means last, this will induce the universities and colleges to stop accepting loans for stupid degrees. Heart set on a BSc in Sub-Saharan Underwater Basket-Weaving? Sure, but you have to pay your own money for it. STEM degree? Bring your student loan money!
Now let’s have the national debate on the student loan crisis.