Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Finally, some common sense on student loan debt

The College Board has put out a new and very sensible report on student loan debt levels. Given the hyperbolic media coverage of this topic, the bottom line might surprise you: debt loads are not terribly high. The median is $19,000 for those completing a BA.

Does $19,000 sound like a lot of money? Not given the value of a college education. And not given how much we spend on items of far less enduring value. The typical new car loan is for $29,000. That car is valueless after a decade, while human capital pays off over a lifetime. Further, the monthly payment for that car loan would be over $500, while for the student loan it would be about $200.