National student-loan debt is approaching $1 trillion for the first time ever, and it continues to be one of the more under-acknowledged issues in the current economic recession.
Especially in the San Francisco Bay Area where the poverty line is even higher than elsewhere in the country.
The promise of earning a higher-education degree in order to achieve “success” in society is fading as jobs are cut or sent overseas, and the student-loan debts go unpaid as a result of poor employment opportunities in most industries.
It used to be stated that the college degree would increase income potential by over $1 million over 40 years of employment, but that figure is highly questionable now as students graduate later in life (i.e., not at 21 or 22 years of age) and have trouble finding work in most fields.
This forces even more students to re-consider their career choices and goals — often feeling financial pressure into pursuing a degree in a field that doesn’t really interest or inspire them.
Sure, it may pay the bills, but in the end, where does this leave the college graduate in terms of their long-term future?
There are no simple answers to these truly undefined questions of what to do about higher education, the economy and personal debt. The world has changed in the past 50 years to the point the college degree doesn’t mean what it used to — and the U.S. economy isn’t, either.
It’s time to re-think old models of education and envision a new future that is practical for all and beneficial for most.