Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Heart My Loan Companies

I've been wanting to say for the longest time (and just haven't gotten around to it until now) that I feel a genuine debt of gratitude to the companies who gave me loans so that I could complete both a Bachelor's and a Master's by the age of twenty-five. If it weren't for them, either I wouldn't have been able to attend school at all, or I would've needed to devote myself to earning and raising the money myself in advance, which would probably have taken many, many years.

When I first thought to write about how I love my loan companies, it had not occurred to me that some people would be demanding a free college education for anyone who wants it. I guess now I ought to address them in some way.

Well ... let me just point out that formal education is not free. Professors need salaries. Campuses need classrooms and libraries. Institutions need administrators. These things cost money. They cost a lot of money.

I do not hold to the idea that anyone who wants anything of value has a right to get it for free. If you want something that's worth a lot of money, you should have to work hard for it. This is why I am so deeply grateful that some businesses were willing to loan me large sums of money in advance of my having to work hard, because they trust me to pay them back with interest now that I'm done.

Sure, they did it on the basis of statistical calculations, not because they knew me personally, but nonetheless, they chose to put their faith in me and my ability to make something of myself career-wise. I am deeply grateful for their act of good faith and I am happy to uphold my end of the bargain and pay them back with interest so that they can continue in the business of making it possible for people who are not independently wealthy to get a post-secondary degree.

As I think about it, it seems kind of absurd for people who want greater social mobility to be attacking student loan companies. Such companies make it possible for anyone to pursue a college degree (well, except undocumented immigrants, the illiterate, etc.). Some people think the government (i.e. tax-payers) should simply foot the bill for everything, but to me, it seems much more logical and fair that the individual who receives the benefit of the college degree should be the one paying for it. I mean, honestly, why on earth shouldn't they?

Oh ... and ... I also have a burning need just to say: undying gratitude notwithstanding, those f***ing student loan companies are a big fat pain in the *ss to deal with.

Okay. I'm done.


Remigius said...

"So why on earth shouldn't they?" Umm, for the same reason we provide public primary and secondary education - because it leads to a more educated and adaptable citizenry, and for many is the only way to advancing their standard of living. Saddling people with tens of thousands of dollars in loans as they begin their professional life, often in low-paying jobs, is not exactly a recipe for harmony. [Says the person who works at a place where a lot of people leave with just such loans... sigh.]

But I'm not starting a thread here, just a comment - expect no additional responses ;-)

Peter said...

Problem is that so many people are not prepared/intelligent/hard-working enough to earn a degree, so if we drag EVERYONE up then we either A) ruin the system by lowering standard to allow poorly equipped (and possibly unwilling) students succeed or B) let them fail and waste millions of dollars for no benefit.

People say "well, there are many socio-economic reasons why people fail school that are outside their control." Either A) That's bullcrap, or B) it's not bullcrap, and these people are still failures, just not entirely of their own doing. Either way, they still don't deserve a free degree.

A basic education should be mandatory like we already have, and we can improve on what we already have. But unless we intend to hold people back until they apply themselves, giving education beyond the basics for free is wasteful. Loans work way better for reasons the poster already explained- you have to apply yourself to repay the debt, but you will because you are a hard-working/intelligent/prepared person in the first place.