Student debt crisis looms

Rob Burkett / Washburn Review

A recent study by the Institute for College Access & Success put the accrued tuition debt of a college graduate in 2009 at $25,000.

With the cost of tuition rising nearly 10 percent each year for the last three years, the trend seems to be pointing in the direction of another perfect storm on the horizon.

When the housing market collapsed and with it took the economy, hundreds of thousands of Americans reported promptly to the unemployment line.

Now with skyrocketing costs of school combining with a relatively flat job recovery pace, the next economic tipping point could be on its way.

With an overall unemployment rate of more than 10 percent–the current unemployment rate plus the people unemployed but no longer looking for a job–the outlook for students isn’t looking as promising as some had hoped.

The tough job market compounded with students emerging into a professional world that is being even more picky about who the do hire is spelling bad news for soon-to-be-professionals.

In the years since the graduating class of 2009 left school, 8.8 percent  of the 3.6 million graduates are currently in default on their student loans.

With what the department of labor charitably calls a flat growth rate in jobs, the U.S. economy is looking at a lot of unforgiving debt on the horizon.

While this might not seem to trouble those in Washington D.C. much at the moment, the damage that defaulting on college loans will do to the future of the youth of America will be unimaginable.

With negative credit ratings, the ripple effect will be assured. Many sectors of the economy, already fragile from the economic depression just recently felt, will have to take the on the strain of college graduates not able to qualify for home loans, auto loans and investment loans to start their own businesses.

While President Obama does recognize the issue of student debt–asking for a program that would forgive college debt after 20 years, congress seems unworried by the effect that not moving on the issue will have.

For Washburn students who are on the verge of graduating, the fact that tuition at this school is well below its regional competitors is good news.

While the national average of student loan defaults is nearly 10 percent, the average of public university students like Washburn is just 7.2 percent.

On the spectrum of those institutions, Washburn is a bargain basement price point.

So students should take heart in that, while Washington continues to twiddle its thumbs, students of this university will be placed financially in a more stable position than their counterparts from the University of Kansas and Kansas State University.

So to those of us who are about to graduate, the best of luck out there and remember: those ramen noodles you had last night and the night before and the night before weren’t that bad.

They’ll still taste okay for the next few years until you can get Uncle Sam to stop chewing on your wallet.