If you graduated from college in the last decade, chances are, you’re still paying off your student loan debt. If you aren’t -- luck you, you’re in the minority!
Americans owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. That's about $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt. The average class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from last year.
Meanwhile, the job prospects for college graduates -- especially those who major in liberal arts subjects -- are few and far between. Nearly half of recent grads are either unemployed or underemployed. It’s no wonder that so many students are unable to pay back their student loans.
So what gives? What’s causing the massive student debt crisis in this country?
Look no further than the federal government! Surprised? Yeah, me neither…
The feds give out unlimited government students loans to nearly every college student who wants them. And now, more than 40 percent of student borrowers are not able to make their payments on the more than $200 billion owed.
In response, the federal government is paying debt collectors more than $1 billion annually to help borrowers climb out of default and scrounge up regular monthly payments.
And disturbing new government figures suggest much of that money may have been wasted. Shocking, right?!
Debt collectors receive up to $1,710 in payment from the feds each time a borrower makes good on soured debt. The collectors keep that money even if borrowers subsequently default again -- and nearly half of borrowers who work with debt collectors default again within three years.
The Department of Education has earmarked more than $4.2 billion for payments to its debt collectors since 2013. The government often pays debt collectors nearly 40 times what they bring in.
The student loan debt business is a lucrative one, and debt collectors aggressively angle for new business from the feds.
This should be one of the biggest scandals in the news -- but the issue rarely receives attention from the mainstream media.
We need change, and we need it now. When student loan companies know that nearly half of their highest-risk customers will quickly fail, it's time to fix the broken system.
Although the government created the problem, they now they expect us to pay for it... and they’re not even doing anything to fix the system! The only ones who benefit from the current system is the collection industry.
So far, it’s not clear if the Trump Administration will take action to solve this problem. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pledged earlier this year to “do a better job” than the Obama administration. It’s not clear, however, what specific action (if any) she will propose.
Here’s the bottom line: we need to get the government out of the student loan business. If students weren’t able to qualify for unlimited loans, colleges would be forced to compete based on price.
This would lower college price tags across the board, and stop allowing debt collectors to take advantage of our hard-earned tax dollars.
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MORE VIDEOS FROM KRISTIN TATE ON CAPITALISM.COM:
• How to Solve the Skilled Labor Shortage Problem
• How Our Complex Tax System Punishes Workers, Hinders Business Growth
• How Government Enables College Tuition Hikes, Student Loan Debt