For many people, it feels like student loans are the devil and that student loans have been the cause of a great deal of misery.
The fact that there is no shortage of student loan issues to address on this site would seem to echo the point that there are many problems with our current system.
It is worth noting, however, that things could be worse.
Today my google alert on student loans brought news from the other side of the world. In Japan many students are giving up the dream of a college education because they cannot secure student loans.
There is ample evidence to suggest that here in the United States, the ease of acquiring student loans has led to an increase in college costs which has in turn led to record amounts of student loan debt. Many students even regret the decision to go to school because they are now stuck with student loans they cannot afford. I know many who might even wish that our loan situation looked more like Japan’s, because then they wouldn’t be buried by student loan debt.
Too many student loans > not enough student loans
The reason I believe the US student loan problem to be a much better problem than the Japanese student loan problem comes down to one word: opportunity.
It is no secret how devastating the US student loan crisis is on such a large portion of our population. However, Americans are given the opportunity and the choice to attend college.
Admittedly, many may have received some bad information when making their choice, and it may be limiting their current opportunities, but at the end of the day the decision was theirs.
Contrast that to Japan. Almost two-thirds of the homes surveyed had children who wanted to attend college but couldn’t due to a lack of funds. The decision was taken out of their hands and attending college became an impossibility. We have our fair share of higher education problems here in the US, but rarely do students with a desire to learn find themselves in a situation where they cannot attend any college.
In short, why do I prefer our troubled system over the alternative? Because I’d rather regret attending college than regret never having had the chance to go.
Readers: What are your thoughts? Would you rather be in a country with too many student loans or not enough?