I have written about student debt before, but the problem is so big that it merits further scrutiny. How big is it? Student debt is now larger than all credit card debt combined. It is only topped by what our nation owes to China.



This past Wednesday was celebrated on many campuses and some 20 cities as “1TDay,” meaning the moment when student debt reached $1 trillion. So it is big, truly BIG!

I have written about student debt before, but the problem is so big that it merits further scrutiny. How big is it? Student debt is now larger than all credit card debt combined. It is only topped by what our nation owes to China.

This past Wednesday was celebrated on many campuses and some 20 cities as “1TDay,” meaning the moment when student debt reached $1 trillion. So it is big, truly BIG!

By way of background, we are the only industrialized nation that has this particular problem. All other industrialized nations cover most, if not all, costs for the education of their children from kindergarten through post-graduate degrees.

I know that one should never be shocked by the stupidity of certain members of Congress, but nevertheless I was, once again, when a few days ago Representative Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Training subcommittee in the House, said that she had “very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt, because there’s no reason for that.”

To put her insult into perspective, Rep. Foxx is the sponsor of the “Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act” which is a bill that strips away federal regulation of for-profit colleges that would allow the very colleges that prey on lower-income students to accumulate higher-than-average levels of debt and more institutional profit. And guess what? Many of Rep. Foxx’s top campaign contributions come from for-profit colleges.   

I can appreciate her desire to make colleges more affordable and to provide students with information to make informed decisions about how to pay for their college expenses, but to make it impossible for students from poor families to pursue their studies is neither wise nor acceptable.

When Foxx attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill her seven years of college cost her about $45,100. Today it would cost about $141,820. The present national student debt averages around $25,250 ($22,601 in Missouri). That is an increase of 43 percent since 1996.  

Inasmuch as these are forever loans that can never be expunged, even by bankruptcy, we may be helping to build the future army of frustrated Americans who could possibly be good recruits for the use of violence in the future to change our present unjust and unwise political structure.