A lot has been written about student loan debt, but apparently not a lot of research has been done into the subject. The Department of Education releases default rates once a year, but that is just about it. Are you surprised at this? So was the New York State Federal Reserve Bank. Two analysts working their essentially had to do a bulk of the research that is now often cited by the media and protest groups.
They found that the percentage of 25-year-old college graduates with student loan debts essentially doubled while the average loan balance increased 91% from 2003 to 2012.
Economists are looking at education borrowing as the next bubble that could burst and drag down the US economy along with it. Much like the housing bubble, there are a lot of government backed loans being given away with a rubber stamp to large amounts of people who are unable to immediately if ever repay. Government officials are openly comparing student borrowing to the mortgage-backed security crisis of 2008. And remember, this article opened with the fact that there has been little study and even less data available on the subject.
Mortgage backed securities, credit default swaps, and derivatives trading are all complicated things. Let’s keep the education bubble concept simple.
Much like the series of articles written about quantitative easing (QE), there will be multiple articles written about student loan debt as well as the debate over raising the minimum wage. These are the three economic issues I feel most passionately about and wish to shine light upon. Let those numbers listed above wash over you for a bit. Do you know anyone dealing with student loan debt? How are they doing? What is their quality of life?
It’s not just the loan or the interest, it is the unemployment, underemployment, or complete non-existence of careers in the fields thousands if not millions of students are graduating with each year. It’s not just the monthly payment on the loan(s). It’s the monthly payment on the loan plus rent, utilities, food, transportation, etc.
The Education Bubble and the student loan debt crisis are one and the same. They are intertwined, they are two terms describing essentially the same thing.
How is higher education a bubble akin to the dot-com, real estate bubbles, and other asset bubbles? We’ll cover that in part 2…