My family has taken the step of opening an Oregon College Savings account for our kids, and we are putting away some money each month. But looking at the projections for the account, our kids will join the millions with student loan debt.
More state/federal officials are calling for high education to get more stable funding so the cost can be kept down. But as a person who racked up my own university-based debt (thank you mom and dad for paying it off for me!) and as a person who is still spending money to pay for my husband’s college years, I recognize one positive to our current system. Every dollar received for a student loan has to be contemplated. Would I rather pay for a fluffy, fun course or have a couple hundred bucks in my pocket post-graduation?
I was extremely lucky: the realities of debt were frequently discussed my family growing up. I hope I can do the same justice when talking with my kids (how do you plan to make money after getting a degree in Flute? How much money does a professional flute player make after college? How much will your loan bills be? Let’s do the math and see how much you will have left to live on if you pursue that option).
But at the same time, I worry about how much of the annual tuition is paying for things that are not directly linked to the success of my child’s time at a university. John Crisp in the Deseret News brings up the question of whether state legislators “think of education as a “private good,” rather than a “public good” – that is, if you’re benefiting from it, you should pay for it” and the impact on our entire society of having more people who are college educated, relatively debt-free.
What are your thoughts on the state of increasing college education? What is your experience with college debt? How did you prepare your kids for the realities of higher education?