Tag Archives: Colleges and Universities

Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 5/5

Harvard University was the first to set up student loans in 1840 but these loans didn’t become mainstream until the 1960s? Source: Free from

Did you know that in 1986, President Reagan eliminated student loan interest as a tax deduction. For 10 years, student loans were not deductible until President Clinton once again allowed the interest to be deductible in 1997 (Forbes).  However, Clinton only allowed the student loan interest to be deductible for the first five years the loan was in repayment; in 2001, the law was changed to allow the interest to be deductible for the life of the loan.

Then in 2007, President G. W. Bush, reduced the student-loan interest rate from 6.8% to 3.4%.

A few more facts to put the student, college-loan debate in perspective and what the media isn’t telling us:

The US has the 2nd highest number of higher education students in the world—4.75% of the total population. The U.S. Department of Education shows 4,861 colleges and universities with 18,248,128 students in 2007.

However, the median cumulative debt among graduating Bachelor’s degree recipients at 4-year undergraduate schools was $19,999 in 2007-08 and 65.6% of 4-year grads with BA degrees took out student loans, which means 34.4% did not.

Of the 9 million that borrowed, one-tenth (900 thousand) borrowed $44,668 or more, which means 90% (more than eight million students) borrowed less.

Graduate and professional students borrowed more, with the additional cumulative debt of a graduate degree typically ranging from $30,000 to $120,000.

How many borrowed the most?

More than 80% of students that are majoring in graduate degrees in medicine borrowed an average of $127,272, while 61.6% of those that graduated with only a BA degree borrowed an average of $23,494. Source:

If you recall, my $7,000 student loan in 1973 had the same buying power as $36,178.96 in 2012, and I paid it off in a decade by eventually working two jobs for three years.

That brings me back to the media. Why has the media been creepy-crawling all over how horrible college student debt is today when the facts say, “On average, most college graduates earn back enough to pay off their student expenses within a decade or so. Two studies by Baum found that graduates with a bachelor’s and no further schooling—or as the earnings literature calls it a bit too on point, a “terminal bachelor’s”—are on average able to repay their college tuition and loans, living expenses, and lost income from skipping four years of work by the time they turn 33. Private-college graduates spend more on their degrees, Baum says, but as they also have slightly higher earning power than their public-college counterparts, they still on the average earn back their college costs before age 40.”. Source: Village Voice

How about those medical students graduating as doctors with all that debt? Do you think they will earn enough to pay off his or her student loans?

Although the following site is moaning and groaning along with the national media, take a look at how much an MD earns after she starts practicing medicine: “The mean annual salary of a MD specialist is $175,011 in the US, and $272,000 for surgeons.” Source: MD

I’m really feeling sorry for these poor, suffering MDs. Maybe we should all chip in and help them pay off those student loans so they will have more money to spend on bigger houses and fancier cars.

In addition, I found this revealing: less than half a percent (0.05%) of those who graduate from college have student loans above $200,000—that means 99.5% do not. This may sound callous, but I do not feel sorry for these people. I paid off my student loans and so can they.

In conclusion, there is one more comparison that must be made. In 1980, the average credit-card debt in America was $670 per household, but today that number is up to $7,800 (per household)—an increase of  more than 1,160 percent. If we factor in inflation, that $670 would be $1,875.90 today—not almost $8,000.

In 1980, credit card debt was less than 4% of household annual median income. That number is16% today. In fact, in 1980 through 1994, the US saving rate averaged 8%, but in 1976, the personal saving rate was 12%.

However, in October 2011, that saving rate was at 3.6%.

Where do you think America’s so called debt-ridden college students learned to borrow to get what they want? If the nation lets young Americans (or their parents and/or grandparents) off the hook for that student-loan debt, these people will never learn.

Return to Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 4 or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”


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Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 4/5

Did you know that about half of students that start college leave before they graduate and of those that go on to graduate, only half end up working in the field he or she graduated in.

However, the average pay of a college graduate, according to the US Census clearly shows that the earnings of workers with college degrees out earn workers without a college education.

Annual median earnings (in 2010 dollars) – Source: US Census

1. high school dropout = $26,313 (based on 4.2 million workers)
2. high school graduate = $37,237 (21 million workers)
3. Bachelor’s degree or more = $67,719 (24.56 million workers)

Now, back to the question I asked in Part 3 about the price of a car, averages wages, cost for a gallon of gas, loaf of bread, and hamburger meat.

The average cost of a car in 1970 was $3,450.  In 2008, it was $27,958—800% increase

The average annual wage in 1970 was $9,400, and in 2008, it was $40,523—431% increase

Note: My first year as a full time public-school teacher in California (1978-79), my annual pay was $11,000. The average starting salary today is $35,760—more than three times what I started with in 1978.  However, the CPI Inflation Calculator says my 1978 starting teacher salary was equal to the buying power of $56,852,66 today. I had no idea my pay was that good back then and I was still making payments on my student loan.

The average cost for a gallon of gasoline in 1970 was 35 cents. In 2008, it was $2.05—586% increase—today the average national price of a gallon of gasoline was $3.63—1,037% increase compared to 1970.

Bread was 25 cents in 1970 and $2.79 in 2008—1,116% increase

A pound of hamburger meat cost 70 cents in 1970 and was $3.99 in 2009—570% increase

The last comparison and the most difficult to find was comparing college costs between the 1970s and today, and I did not find these facts from the traditional media.  I found them from colleges and the government.

What is the media trying to hide and why or is it just poor reporting?

From the University of Texas at Austin, I discovered, “Since 1970 tuition and fees at UT have risen tremendously; for undergraduates, the increase has been around 400 percent. In 1970, tuition was $50 for any in-state student enrolled in any college or school for any number of credit hours. Fees were $54 for anyone enrolled at the University. In the Fall semester of 2002, you won’t get a twelve hour course load for less than $2,300.”

From the Congressional Budget Office, I learned that “in 1970 the average tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduate students was $690. In 1986, the average cost was $2,310.”

Then from College, I discovered,The cost for one year of tuition and fees varies widely among colleges. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2011–2012 school year was $28,500 at private colleges, $8,244 for state residents at public colleges, and $20,770 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.”

Comparing tuition and fees of public colleges from then to today shows a 1,194% increase since 1970 or a 356% increase since 1986. Private colleges cost much more as you can see but no one has to attend a private college. To keep prices down, a student may spend the first two years at a community college, then transfer in his third year to a four-year state college near his home.

Continued August 18, 2012 in  Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 5 or return to Part 3


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Debating about the “Educated Elite” – Part 1/2

An “old” friend, a libertarian, evangelical conservative that may agree with what  the Sovereign Citizen movement preaches ( Sixty Minutes on May 15, 2011 ), sent me two links disparaging college education failing to educate good citizens.

I did not agree with the evidence he submitted.

The video link he sent was of college students claiming to support freedom of speech but wanting to ban conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck from both radio & TV (the video was filmed at CSU Fresno).

How do we define the term “educated elite”?

Is being a student at a college or university enough to be considered among the “educated elite”?

I don’t think so, since many students that start college don’t finish.

Only a “fool” would call a college student that may fail all or most of his or her classes then drops out of college a member of the “educated elite”.  Attending college doesn’t automatically make someone a member of the “educated elite”.  You have to graduate first and get a job that pays well, which I will talk about in more detail in Part 2.

How many students graduate from college and have a chance to join the “educated elite”.  Remember, graduating isn’t enough to achieve the status of “educated elite”.

“At public colleges and universities only 29.0% of students graduate in the traditional four-year time frame.

“Of course, the timeframe most used to discuss graduation rates is the six-year window. This timeframe appears to be used because here graduation rates pick up substantially. At public schools the percentage of students that graduate within six years nearly doubles to 54.7%.

“One might think those more expensive private, non-profit schools would have significantly better numbers. They do in fact have better numbers but given their overall selectivity the rates continue to be extremely disappointing.

“Over the four-year timeframe, we see that private schools graduate 50.4% of their students, a number that nearly mirrors the six-years of public institutions.” Source: Open

Continued on May 30, 2011 in Debating about the “Educated Elite” – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”


Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Education, literacy, media, politics


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