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Patch's Poll: Are Student Loans Worth It?

College graduates now owe more than $1 trillion for their education - debt that some experts say is crippling the economy. What do you think? Take our poll and add your thoughts in the comments.

College loans have topped $1 trillion, and defaults are on the rise.

"Outstanding student loans topped $1 trillion last year, exceeding the total amount of credit card debt. Thousands of borrowers are postponing getting married, buying a home or having children until their debts are paid off. Defaults are rising, which typically leads to larger loan balances. And the problem isn't limited to young adults. Some borrowers are older adults who went back to school. Others are parents who co-signed loans for their children," USA Today reports.

What do you think? Does the way we pay for higher education in this country need to be rethought? Are you buried under a mountain of student debt? Take our poll and add your thoughts in the comments.

REVMAN May 23, 2012 at 01:07 PM
My father used to say if you have a trade you will always have a job.If you go to a trade school(FREE) get a trade ie:Electrician,Plumer,Heating & air condition ect,you can make in excess of $100 an hour.
Howard Smith May 23, 2012 at 01:43 PM
In reply to Citizen Clinton it sounds like his graduate got one of those government jobs I've been reading about. You know Conferences in Maui and Los Vegas and hookers in Cartagena. Additionally I would like point out to that a degree in Woman's Studies greatest value in these economic times is probably as TP but they tend to clog the toilet and then you have to call that trade school plumber at $135/hr
David Irons May 23, 2012 at 01:49 PM
A lot of points of view on the subject but, sadly, one that has been overlooked. Our military, both Active and Reserve/National Guard, offer great educational assistance benefits. I know from my many years in the Guard that there is tuition waiver for state schools, student loan repayment plans that can pay off most of the loan, tuition assistance programs and other benefits available. Yes, it requires membership in the military to obtain these benefits. That may not be for everyone. But it is good for many and should be considered. I knew many soldiers who initially joined for these benefits. But after having earned their degrees they reenlisted and made a career of the Guard because they decided they enjoyed it and it offered many other benefits and good training not available in the civilian world.
Mark D. Wiggins May 23, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Great point David. I have been telling my kids and my kids friends for years. Give your country 48 months and the doors swing open. So many other benefits besides the GI Bill too, the biggest one is hitting your pillow every night knowing you were part of something bigger then yourself and served your country. I gave the USCG 20 years and never regretted it one second, if anything, I miss it deeply. Also, I never paid one cent for college, all the way to an MBA. Another novel idea is get good grades. Straight As will get you a ton of money. Finally, two things: 1. When you are in the work force, NO ONE cares where you went to college!!!! (with a few exceptions such as the Ivy League for law and medicine). Go to the school that offers yo the most $$$ and meets your needs. 2. Get a degree worth something!! Engineering, nursing, etc. If you go $140k in the hole for a degree in Woman's studies w/ a minor in French Poetry, DO NOT cry to us that you can't find a job. Should have thought of that a long time ago.
David Irons May 23, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Mark, actually I neglected to mention the GI Bill in my remarks. Thank you for adding that valuable program to the discussion. Chalk up one more plus for military membership and the pride of knowing you have done your part serving your fellow citizens.
Rick McDonald May 23, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Just keep in mind that the GI bill does not cover all vets. I went in under VEAP which was a government 2 - 1 match with a cap.
ZIGGY May 23, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Great!----get a degree to kill people.......wonder if they all got degrees in New Haven & Hartford?
William Desmond May 23, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Or an illegal immigrant!!
Howard Smith May 23, 2012 at 07:42 PM
The median rise in higher education cost is 10% per year. What is driving these increases and what can be done to moderate them. These questions need to be asked as higher education costs have escaped scrutiny for far too long.
C.J.Boa May 23, 2012 at 08:37 PM
The world needs more ditch diggers
C.J.Boa May 23, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Worked for me
C.J.Boa May 23, 2012 at 08:39 PM
You do not need an education to get a job at minimum wage.
Skeptic May 23, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Actually, what Judge Smails said was: "Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too."
Skeptic May 23, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Howard, you are on the right track. What can be done to moderate the cost of higher education is to cut off the cash flow that is driven by government-enabled borrowing. Colleges raise costs because they are confident that the feds will guarantee loans to pay for it. No more loans, no more cash flow, no more thirty-weeks-a-year minimal work jobs for shiftless, overpaid, pointy-headed academics.
Howard Smith May 24, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Well Ziggy your wages are going down not because of corporate greed (whatever that is ) but because your countries leadership has devalued the dollar. Corporations exist because there is a demand for the products they produce. I can't help but notice that you are using a computer to spew forth. If you are so concerned about corporate greed be warned that the computer you are using is filled with chips made by the evil Intel corp and you are probably using an evil Windows or Apple OS. Those corporations that you think are so greedy are the same companies that allow you to enjoy your life, avoid backbreaking labor and provide income in your retirement years. So if you hate corporations may I suggest Cuba, they don't have any, you'll love it there
Howard Smith May 24, 2012 at 01:54 AM
New Haven only offers degrees to the undocumented as they are a sanctuary city. The US military does not deserve to be slimed by you, these young people put their lives on the line every day for their country and deserve our thanks and respect. If you have a problem with the way they are deployed take it up with the civilian leadership do not disparage the troops.
David Irons May 24, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Thank you Howard. Well said. It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag. By Charles M. Province
Jennifer Fuentes May 24, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Thank you to Howard and David for jumping on this... as a United States Air Force Veteran, 11 years Active Duty, I fully support anybody who decides that the military (any branch, AD, Guard or Res) is the way to go for them. I've been talking to my eldest about joining the military, learning a trade (btw, its not all about killing... My job was Logistical Supply, and while I was taught to use and handle a weapon and did carry one, I never had to fire it except in the range) and if she doesn't like what she's learning, she can either cross train into something else, perhaps something more marketable, and/or use her educational benefits to enhance what the military would teach her. All the while, paying back the men and women who went before her in their service, and paving the way for future generations to serve... Oh, and did I mention I'm a woman? its not just men who can and will serve their country with pride... for whatever the reason.
Howard Smith May 24, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Consumer protections Mac? The sole supplier of these loans with the exception of one small bank in ND, is Uncle Sugar who took it over from those evil money grubbing banks. So now we need consumer protection from Department of Education? You know Mac you might have a point there.
David Irons May 24, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Chris, that is exactly the kind of well reasoned and honest thinking that we need all of our representatives to utilize. Too bad that you are one of the few. Best of luck in the upcoming election.
David Irons May 24, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Jennifer, I agree that "its not just men who can and will serve their country with pride... for whatever the reason." I hope I didn't say anything that may imply that I was referring only to men. I served beside a great many women in the military and would proudly serve beside them in combat. Thank you for your service and good luck talking to your daughter. I hope she listens to you and benefits greatly from it.
Jennifer Fuentes May 24, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Dave.... Oh no!!! I didn't get that from you at all!!! LOL I get it alot from civilians though... goes along with the "Oh you were in the AF? Did you fly??" question... my car has stickers on it, and I've been asked if my husband served... which the ex did... but so did I. LOL so no... No offense taken... :-)
Clark van der Lyke July 15, 2012 at 04:11 PM
College benefits the college, the eductional and support staff of the college, hundreds of jobs at the college from security to cooking. The college implies the student will be successful and even more successful, if you stay a bit longer for a master's degree. Unfortunately, there are not so many jobs as there are graduates. Right now many jobs go wanting. Service jobs, electricians, plumbers, funeral directors...who never have a recession. Colleges can no longer insure job success. Student loans keep the college industry going. That is not wrong, it is just unfortunate to the grad who now can't get a low paying job to exist as he or she is seen by employers as overeducated for those kinds of jobs.
John Yannacci, Sr. July 15, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I have to agree with Dave. After four years of high school, I was neither motivated nor financially able to attend college. It was the U.S. Navy for me. As it turned out, the navy is where I found motivation. I enjoyed the camaraderie, the esprit de corps, the great feeling of being part of a successful mission, etc. When I retired, the GI bill was there waiting for me. Young people could do much worse than entering the military.
John Yannacci, Sr. July 15, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Ziggy, it was military people who did things that you were afraid to do that gave you the freedom to make a comment like that.
John Yannacci, Sr. July 16, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I have to agree with you Revman. I have a nephew who got a full ride on a wrestling scholarship to Trinity in Hartford. He decided to major in Philosophy of all things. I tried in every way to talk him out of it but his parents were of the hippy genre and encouraged him. He is now a part time maintenance man at a ski resort in Colorado. His sister is doing just as well with her Political Science degree while working at a convenience store in Scotland, U.K.
Thomas Jefferson July 16, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Several problems with the education system it has to do with the educators themselves being grossly overpaid ever look up the salaries of professors at UCONN or Yale. The other bigger part of the picture is the US Dollar and inflation which we have had evey year since 1913 the creation of the federal reserve and that the USA went off the gold standard in 1971 thereby allowing the governemnt to be able to print money. This makes people work harder for there money and is also a hidden tax. The government should allow gold and silver to be used as currency alongside the dollar then the people can choose the best currency to use especialy if the US goes through inflation or hyperinflation which don't be fooled between the administrations of Bush and Obama inflation is coming and there is not much that can be done to stop it. At one time young college students who worked in the summer could pay a considerable amount of theer college loans and not owe so much if anything at all when they departed college of course that was before the gold standard was ended. We the people are at the beckon call of a private bank known as the federal reserve which is not federal and has no reserves and is not constitutional. Read Article 1 section 8 The congress have power To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures. The monetary policy of the US is not to be controlled by New York Stockbrokers and Bankers but by Congress.
Brian Walsh July 16, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Student loans are worth it as long as they are used in a limited way. Students and parents need to be honest with themselves about what type of education they can really afford and only use loans to fill in a small gap between their desired goal and their ability to pay.
Peggie Bushey July 16, 2012 at 11:41 PM
best answer yet, Chris!!
Thomas Jefferson July 17, 2012 at 01:06 AM
The military is an option however we are using our military as a world police force not as it was intended for defense of the country and young men and women are being killed in Iraq for what? Iraq was a sham Afghanistan was justified however we are nation building. Start defending this countries borders, ports and Liberty in this country becuase we are getting closer to losing it with stuff like the Patriot act. Again no one is looking at the inflationary dollar. Like oil, gas and food college tuition will also be going up combined with the cost to pay the professors. Cost of just tuition at Harvard for 2012-2013 is 38480.00 for a full time student and in 1965 tuition 1760.00. What the hell happened?

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