America is currently embroiled in a student loan bubble and when it pops, wooo buddy. *Makes whistling sound, gazes off into distance*... let's just say that I hope you can use some lacquer and a long stick to turn your college diploma into some sort of edged weapon to fight off the starving graduate student food mobs. Let's just leave it at that. Let's not get explicit, except to say that banks will literally take your mother's home if you try to not pay them back, so, you know, the weapon thing is maybe the way to go.
See, thanks to some nifty lobbying, you can't discharge your student loan debt through bankruptcy, even though that more or less ruins the entire point of bankruptcy for the younger generation of Americans. The WSJ explains the problem in a nutshell:
In the past decade student debt has surged as tuition and enrollment climbed. At the same time, college graduates' earnings have declined. The average debt load of all new graduates rose 24%, adjusted for inflation, from 2000 through 2010, to $16,932, says the Progressive Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank in Washington. Over the same period, the average earnings of full-time workers ages 25 to 34 with no more than a bachelor's degree fell by 15% to $53,539.
To review: huge loans, poor job market, low earnings potential, debt that is inescapable through legal means. What could go wrong? Now, some Congresspersons who must have forgotten upon which side their bread is buttered (the banking industry's side, naturally) are trying to put together some wee modifications to the bankruptcy law which might allow this hopeless generation to retire their debts in a manner that avoids total violent revolution in the streets. Of course, even if Congress somehow did deign to allow you to escape your student debt through bankruptcy, the banks would make sure to ruin your parents at the same time:
While the legislation is aimed at helping thousands of borrowers struggling with debt, some experts say banks seem to have prepared for this possibility. Since they now require cosigners on most of the loans, both the borrower - and in many cases his or her parents – would need court-approved bankruptcies in order to wiggle free of the debt.
Cool system of education.