We all know that college is the key to our professional future. Without that degree, our careers would be stuck in first gear and our earning potential is stunted. The problem is that the cost of obtaining that status of college graduate has grown exponentially over the past few years and is unlikely to stop anytime soon.
One of the issues that have come to the political forefront lately is student loans. Several Democrats have proposed that President Bidenforgive student loans for those earning under $125,000. While the devil is in the details, I think this is important for two reasons. The first is that it would remove the financial shackle for millions of Americans. The second is that it would give Biden and the Democrats an ace up their sleeve when it comes to the midterm elections in the fall and the presidential election in 2024.
My own loans were paid off a long time ago. I understand why some people disagree with this decision. That being said, I can see the potential in the financial freedom that comes from not having thousands of dollars (if not hundreds of thousands of dollars) to pay off hanging over someone’s figurative head.
When we get to a certain age, the expectation is that we will leave the nest. But for a variety of reasons, many adults still live with their parents long after childhood has ceased.
The new HGTV show, 40 Year Old Property Virgin, premiered last night. Each episode follows an individual or a couple who is looking for their first home after living for years with Mom and Dad. But as with every show on this channel, there are opinions given by family, friends, and even well meaning real estate brokers.
A riff on The 40 Year Old Virgin, this program is unique. It is not your standard home renovation or looking for a new home show that is the hallmark of this channel. What it speaks to is that the professional and financial security that previous generations took for granted no longer exists. Between rising home prices and extremely inflated student loan debt, the standard hallmarks of adulthood are not as guaranteed as they once were.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
40 Year Old Property Virgin airs on HGTV at 9PM on Wednesday.
When we are young, many of us are told getting a college degree after high school is a must. There is truth in that statement. Without that degree, our career potential and possible income is stuck in the mud. But there is another truth that is often ignored. College is expensive and getting more expensive with every passing year. Our young people are graduating with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans that seems impossible to get rid of.
Writer Michael Arceneaux is one of these people. In his 2020 book, I Don’t Want to Die Poor: Essays, he talks about his own student loan debt and how it has affected his life so far. He discusses being both black and gay, trying to earn a living while making ridiculous payments, and going after your dreams.
I really loved this book. He is funny, charming, and authentic. I found myself laughing, crying, and knowing exactly what he was going through. I remember being in my twenties and having the college debt hanging over my head. Thankfully, it was relatively low and I had help in paying it off. Not everyone can say that.
On the surface, the reason that we go to college is to receive a degree and hopefully use that degree to better our future and the future of our family. But the college experience is much more than the academics. It is about the friends we make, the experiences we have and the growth that occurs in between the day that we move into the dorm freshman year and the day that we receive our diplomas.
The problem is that the cost of college has risen exponentially over the past few years. Many college graduates not only walk away with a degree, but with stifling student loans that have the potential to cripple them financially for years to come.
This past weekend, billionaire investor Robert Smith addressed the class of 2019 at Morehouse College. During his commencement speech, he announced that he was paying off the student loans of every graduate.
In Judaism, we refer to a good person as a mensch. Mr. Smith is more than a mensch. He is not only helping out the young men who graduated yesterday, he is setting an example for all of us, especially other member of the 1%. We all have the capacity to do good in this world, we do not need to be a billionaire, we just need a heart, a conscious and a willingness to step forward.
I wish that there were more like Robert Smith in the world.
When I was growing up, my parents were flexible on many things. But what they were not flexible on was college. One way or another, I was going to attend college and earn my degree. My middle class parents understood the value of a college education and worked hard so that their children would be able to go to college. But not every family has the financial means to send their children to college.
I get it, the process of getting your kid into college is stressful. I certainly remember what it was like as a high school student trying to figure out where to attend college and then studying like a maniac for the SATs. However, the fact that these parents used their money and influence to cheat for their kids is wrong on two levels. The first level is that cheating is obviously plain wrong. The second level is that the kids were cheated out of the lesson that true success only comes from hard work. At the some point, every parent has to step back and let their kids do for themselves, even if it goes against every parental instinct.
The frustrating aspect of these accusations is that the parents accused of making the bribes likely had the income to pay for their kids college tuition in full. With the scary rise in the cost of college tuition and the even scarier amount of student loan debt that new graduates must pay off, many may question if attending college is the right thing to do. But the reality is that most professions require some form of a college degree, even if it is an associate’s degree. Unlike their peers, these children of the accused have grown up in such a way that the cost of college and student loan debt are foreign concepts.
I don’t blame the parents for wanting the best for their children. But I cannot and will not condone what they did in the name of parenting.