A look at student debt

Alternative Column: I can hear the neighbor kids playing in the yard. It's sum-mer. Only the biggest nerds don't look forward to a break from the books. As we grow older those nerds go from an object of ridicule to admiration.
They are the ones most likely to benefit from college. The rest of us straddle a line where we could work low-wage jobs as we find our life's ambition, or risk college debt during that search.
Nearly 40 percent of enrol-lees acquire debt but no de-gree. And forty percent of college graduates now work jobs that don't require a col-lege degree. That means forty percent were paying to find out what they wanted to do while the ones who decided to work for awhile instead, now have an average of $34,000 less debt. And with a more mature view of the future, they will be more likely to take a path that they are happy with in the long run.
We think we'll go to col-lege, acquire a skill, get a job, or start a business. Then we get infatuated with some aspect of the world that we never thought of before. We could be earning a living and even saving up a nest-egg, or we could be accumulating debt while we do these things.
I'm sure there are plenty of high school students who are sure of their future. I'm also sure that most of them will change their minds. The choice is in what they do during that process.
I enjoyed college and learned a lot there. Like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, I dropped out. But in every job I've had since then, I learned. I learned as situations presented themselves. I learned from peo-ple who did, not from people who taught.
In a way, I envy those kids who can take a summer off and then just continue on with their education as a way of delaying adulthood. But in another way my varied experi-ences have each enriched each other, making all those experi-ences greater than the sum of their parts.
If we take a year off from school after high school, that would enhance the subsequent education in the same way. A view of education from the real work-a-day-world presents it as a tool. It did for me as I took a winter quarter farm op-erations program at Iowa State when I was 29. I was sur-rounded by kids who just wanted to be away from home and have fun.
If you are one of those rare people who are rich enough and sure enough, go on to college straight out of high school. If there is any doubt, take a year off. Pay your own way in the world. It will in-crease the value of your educa-tion immensely.
We do need to address the $1.5 trillion student debt crisis in a way that doesn't rob from more prudent citizens, as has been proposed by several pres-idential candidates. Why should those who paid their way be penalized for the sake of those who don't?
Will responsible citizens later be awarded reparations for their slavery to the predatory universities and student loan cartel?
The usual punditry on the left and right agree that the federal student loan program was simply not administered well. According to The Ten Commandments and U.S. Con-stitution it never should have been administered at all.
Any responses to The Alternative may be sent as a letter to the editor or to Fritz’s email address 4selfgovernment@gmail.com. His blog, www.alternativebyfritz.com, is now being updated regularly. It's diverse, like the universities claim to be.

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