Grad School Debt Is a Great Big Balloon
Grad school—which is just like college, except you have to do more work and less drugs—is very expensive, for some reason. Grad school debt has long been a worryingly large portion of all student debt. And the problem is not going away.
Grad school students tend to have more student debt than other students—which makes sense, because they’re going to more years of more expensive schooling and also they likely are not good at math. But many grad school students are wise enough to take advantage of federal programs that allow them to repay only a portion of their debt that is pegged to their eventual (low) salary. A pretty good deal! The Wall Street Journal notes that the past decade has seen an expansion these programs, and that has prompted a natural backlash from people who say that such a program just incentivizes grad school deadbeats. If you believe in expanding the right to higher education, this concern can be dismissed (at least in a broad sense) as typical right-wing concern-trolling against the underclass.
What can’t be dismissed so easily, though, is the concern that these programs also feed into the rising costs of grad school, allowing third-rate institutions to continuously raise their prices, confident in Uncle Sam to pay it back. And unless the contours of the program are sharpened, it will continue to appeal to the most expensive borrowers—who subsequently become the highest earners—more than anyone else. The evidence, from the WSJ:
The typical medical-school graduate owed $161,772 in student debt at graduation in 2012, according to the New America Foundation. That figure rose an inflation-adjusted 31% over eight years.
Debt growth was even sharper among law-school graduates. The typical student who borrowed left law school owing $140,616 in 2012, up 59% from eight years earlier.
We’re out here alleviating law school bills for expensive ass ripoff law schools and all we’re getting in the bargain is more lawyers! And meanwhile America’s aspiring anthropologists are “left out in the cold.”
Thanks, Obama. #ObamasAmerica #LotsOfLawyersEverywhere