Examining the Student Loan Debt Crisis

Said Jayson Weingarten of Ivy Coach, “The fact is that college is expensive and especially now in a time of economic uncertainty, it is seen as that kind of luxury good. And as good as our intentions as a country have been to make colleges more affordable and more accessible, unfortunately too many people still see college — getting more educated, pursuing that degree — as that luxury good that they just maybe cannot afford right now.”

When asked about the various types of student loan debts, Jayson said, “What’s important to keep in mind is there are many types of loans that are out there. They can be subsidized. They can be unsubsidized (the Stafford programs). They can be from the government. You can have private loans. I think it’s very important for students to really understand what they’re getting themselves into, what they’re signing themselves up for. We would like to think that if you’re mature enough to go to college, then you should probably also be mature enough to read the contract and understand what you’re getting yourself into. But unfortunately that’s just not the case with many students who maybe haven’t had the kind of personal finance education in high school. At Ivy Coach, beyond helping students get into college and think about how to tell their story and put that application forward, we really do see ourselves as demystifying the process. And, unfortunately, just like taxes and just like so many other things that have to do with finances, student loans, paying for college, tuition — it is a very mystical process for too many families. We really do see ourselves as demystifying all sorts of processes.”

When asked what young people debating taking out student loans should do, Jayson replied, “The number one resource should be the Net Price Calculator on every college’s website. Every college that receives any sort of federal funding — either for the research or to subsidize their loans — which pretty much means every college out there whether it’s the public flagship or a private school in your neighborhood is going to have a Net Price Calculator. Sitting down with parents, with guardians, with those tax forms to really plug into those calculators, which are federally regulated, to get that number of what the bottom line annual tuition base is going to be. You do have to consider though that we’re not just talking about price. We are really talking about value at the end of the day…at a majority of colleges, unfortunately, it just might not make that much sense to borrow the same amount as if you’re going to one of the top 50 or 100 schools. And so, I think that beyond just looking at that bottom line price tag, you do have to really consider the job prospects, the starting salaries, the time it will take to repay that loan. Taking out the loan is only half the equation. Figuring out what’s going to happen when you have to pay that loan is the other half. Unfortunately, at a lot of schools, the value of the diploma may just not be worth the paper it’s written on.”

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