Need to Know, February 10, 2012: Student debt, college and religion

Ray Suarez

With student loan debt now nearing $1 trillion, Need to Know looks at the dilemma facing young people: go to college and likely accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in debt or more, or skip it and risk never qualifying for a higher-paying job. The show profiles one recent college graduate, who is now unemployed.

Then, anchor Ray Suarez talks to author Anya Kamenetz about what she calls the “debt generation.” And our online video series “Presidentiality” makes its broadcast debut, analyzing a claim by Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum that a college education makes students less religious.

Watch the individual segments:

The student-debt dilemma

Need to Know profiles a recent college graduate who is now unemployed, and looks at the tough choice many young people are facing: skip college, or rack up tens of thousands of dollars in debt from student loans.

Anya Kamenetz on the ‘debt generation

Ray Suarez interviews Anya Kamenetz, author of “Generation Debt,” who says too many students are being given advice that leads them into permanent, overwhelming debt.

Are colleges encouraging atheism?

Our “Presidentiality” series examines a claim by Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum that universities are preaching atheism, and indoctrinating students to be less religious. Watch the entire “Presidentiality” series here.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.

 

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1355423214 Kelley McDonald

    Gained valuable critical analysis in high school and college that allowed me to recognize the fundamental dichotomy between scientific fact and religious dogma.  I chose to reject dogma or I would have always been in internal conflict with the tangible and intangible.

  • Elizabeth

    No, but it did make me more aware of any reverend or religious leader trying to lie to me or tell me some half truth.

  • Truth Has No Agenda

    You claim that the real reason why students in 2012 come out of college less religious is because they want to take majors that are more business oriented. But it’s not up to the students to choose all the classes that are required to take to graduate in any major. The core curriculum is set by the college & states. 

    If the college/state takes out all the religious, social & humanity course as required courses the college/state has made the students less religious by allowing them to take courses like basket weaving 101 or the new one the “Occupy Movement”.

    If they kept in all majors classes that include religion, social & humanities I bet the students would come out less atheist then they do now. So the colleges are making the kids less religious by being sneaky about it. It’s just like the MSM and PBS they just happened to leave out all religious or
    conservatives stories EXCEPT the stories that makes religious or conservatives look bad. IF stories do make religious or conservatives bad then its lead story of the night or FRONT page news. 

    By just choosing certain stories or classes you are controlling the agenda by not being intellectually honest. You are trying to blame the students for their choices but the college
    & states are the ones who are allowing students to take worthless classes instead of making religious, social or humanity classes required classes for any major to graduate.

    To prove this you would need to compare core curriculum for each major from each decade starting from the 1960′s through today. You will see how colleges & not students have been allowed to stop taking required classes for religious, social & humanity classes. Then you will see how the colleges & states are making college students less religious.

  • Brenda Kemp

    Education goes beyond our paycheck. Education contributes to everyone’s ability to successfully tread the difficult waters of life and remove many stressors that create fear and doubt. Well read/educated people without surprise live longer. I do agree we have to do something about the spiraling cost of education which is monumental for many grad’s.

  • OCTheo

    I want Santorum to tell the nation whether his kids are going to college or not. I am sure his kids all have well-established college funds. Who is he kidding? How can a public figure like him stoop soi low? Is politics of left and right more important to America’s future than college education?

    If he did not go to college, will he have been a senator? This guy is full of crap!

  • Thofer

    There is one major reason for the increase in the cost of higher education in the past decades.  States have significantly reduced their funding of public universities.  In order to make up for that lost revenue, universities have been forced to raise tuition.  Public institutions are in fact all becoming private institutions, with the students paying nearly the full cost of the education services they receive.  This model has changed considerably over the years, from the days when higher education was valued by society and considered an investment in our economy and our society as a whole.

    See http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/costcutting-hurts-uw-systems-quality-administrators-say-gr44uv7-139065774.html for a graph showing tuition costs and state contributions to higher eduction in Wisconsin (in real terms, meaning correcting for inflation).  The decrease in state funding accounts for nearly all the increase in tuition being charged to students.

    This issue was never even brought up during this piece on the high cost of education and student debt.  To leave this out of the discussion is irresponsible, to say the least, and extremely poor reporting of the facts.  Note, I am not discussing private universities here, but rather “public” institutions that are supposedly supported with taxpayer dollars for the betterment of all.  That support has been dwindling for decades – hence higher costs to the students.  That is the reality.

  • Thofer

    There is one major reason for the increase in the cost of higher education in the past decades.  States have significantly reduced their funding of public universities.  In order to make up for that lost revenue, universities have been forced to raise tuition.  Public institutions are in fact all becoming private institutions, with the students paying nearly the full cost of the education services they receive.  This model has changed considerably over the years, from the days when higher education was valued by society and considered an investment in our economy and our society as a whole.

    See http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/costcutting-hurts-uw-systems-quality-administrators-say-gr44uv7-139065774.html for a graph showing tuition costs and state contributions to higher eduction in Wisconsin (in real terms, meaning correcting for inflation).  The decrease in state funding accounts for nearly all the increase in tuition being charged to students.

    This issue was never even brought up during this piece on the high cost of education and student debt.  To leave this out of the discussion is irresponsible, to say the least, and extremely poor reporting of the facts.  Note, I am not discussing private universities here, but rather “public” institutions that are supposedly supported with taxpayer dollars for the betterment of all.  That support has been dwindling for decades – hence higher costs to the students.  That is the reality.

  • Concerned Citizen

    A big part of this story is being missed. 

    Why is the student loan interest rate so high (6.8% and 8.25%)?  How did student lenders convince the government to create above market fixed rates at a time when interest rates are at a historical low? 

    Why has there not been a program to refinance student debt at today’s very low rates?   One can get a mortgage at less than 4.0%!  Remember, the government guarantees most student loan debt.  Therefore, the debt is virtually risk-free to lenders.  Furthermore, the government should be incentivized to refinance the debt at lower rates to reduce the risk of default.

    The only reason I can think of is that some vested interests are making a lot of money off the backs of poor students.  Well . . .  I guess we should not be surprised about this.

  • Cneed4play

    I’ll be paying for the rest of my life. Ten thousand dollar loan - thirty thousand dollar interest due to time lost on disability with interest accuring.  And beware the direct withdrawal repayment plan. They can and will deduct monies from your account without prior written notice of dates for withdrawal or how much they are going to withdraw. I’ve been paying on my student loan for years and have found they can and will change the amount they want you to pay and have the right to deduct it from your account because you agreed to the direct withdrawal payment option

  • Kiss of Debt

    Need to Know —
    Here’s something people need to know —> as much as I apllaude Stef Gray for making Sallie Mae pay attention — she is doing the entire country of student loan debtors an ENORMOUS DISSERVICE by telling people student loans are dischargeable in bankruptcy. This simply is FALSE! Need to Know and Stef need to do just a tad of research and read 11 USC* 523(a)(8) where CLEARLY student loans can be discharged through an adversary proceeding. It is not easy. I would never tell anyone that. But PLEASE —> correct the misinformation she and you are spreading! People who are in the most dire financial situations NEED TO KNOW that there is a way out.

    This is not an ideal situation and the laws NEED to be returned to their prior reading(s), or, better yet, be entirely revamped. A big project but a worthwhile one!

    I am actually floored that you would take legal advice from a non-lawyer without any research. Shame on you! So, please, Need to Know, read the code and make the much-needed correction.

    *US Code

  • Kiss of Debt

    Need to Know —Here’s
    something people need to know —> as much as I applaude Stef Gray
    for making Sallie Mae pay attention — she is doing the entire country
    of student loan debtors an ENORMOUS DISSERVICE by telling people student
    loans “cannot be bankrupted”. This simply is FALSE! Need to
    Know and Stef need to do just a tad of research and read 11 USC*
    523(a)(8) where CLEARLY student loans CAN be declared dischargeable through an
    adversary proceeding. It is not easy, but it is possible.
    But PLEASE —> correct the MISINFORMATION she and you are perpetuating! People in the most dire financial situations need to know there is hope for them. Shame on you for taking her legal advice at face value. Shame on you for not doing any research. So, PLEASE, correct this!

  • Kiss of Debt

    .. that should read “not dischargeable”. Stef Gray is telling people student loans are not dischargeable when they ARE dischargeable. Sorry for the duplicate post and any confusion.

  • Ten

     This whole story makes a big deal about rising tuition, yet the primary subject didn’t run up her debt on tuition, she ran it up because she moved to NYC. Please redo this story.  With subjects who truly are illustrating the issue.  You should find low income families who are unable to afford community college or state colleges because of potential cuts to Pell Grants.  This is the crisis, not young out-of-state people who want to go to “progressive/free-thinking” instutitions like Hunter, which was designed as a commuter school for local residents, not out-of-state people who didn’t really consider their housing expenses properly.

  • Joseph

    Students go to university for free in the small country of Denmark and receive a stipend to attend, as in other European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, China, India and Brazil.  These are countries the U.S. is and will be competing against.  For goodness sake, even Cuba pays for its university students to go to school.  The U. S. is shooting itself in the foot by not following suit.  These countries wisely understand not to burden their university students with copious amounts of student debt upon graduation. 
     
    With our students graduating with high amounts of unforgivable debt i.e. no bankruptcy allowed, thus thwarting these graduates ability to fund innovation and open new businesses.  The middle class lifestyle most of us have enjoyed was due to investment the U. S. put into its post WWII population.
     
    According to the last census, 46.2 million Americans are living below the official poverty line; see NY Times 9/11/2011.   This is a direct correlation to the U. S. not investing in education and universities charging exorbitant fees.  As we know, education lifts people out of poverty; it shouldn’t put our students into poverty with large debt loads to service with low paying jobs or no jobs at all.   
     
     
    The U.S. is the wealthiest country on Earth but is morally bankrupt.  Clearly possessing the largest most efficient killing machine is the priority for the U.S.  The U. S. government spends almost 50 % of our tax dollars on our military killing machine and supporting approximately 1000 military bases abroad.  We need to close military bases and fund excellent education for our populace.  Put displaced military personnel policing our dangerous urban streets and other civic duties.  
     
    I encourage you to read Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Cay Johnston’s book, Free Lunch. 

  • Janie_junkmail

    This happens at all major colleges; yet trade schools that do their best to prepare students for real world employment are held to much higher standards and requirements to include graduation and placement stats. 

  • http://dagblog.com/users/jollyroger Jollyroger

    Gimme a break!  An adversary proceeding??  We’re not talkin’ ch. 11, here, y’know.

    These workouts are going to be done under ch.13, and you are invoking a fee threshold that is unrealistic.

  • JoeTheCitizen

    Watching this episode make me believe that this “debt generation” is a spoiled generation:
    Borrowing money to pursuing higher education is one’s own decision. Furthermore, when one borrows money to help  to paying for his/her education, you are obligated to repay according to the terms of the loan. Kids in this country is VERY fortunate that they are able to get loan for their education when they and their parents can’t afford it. In many other countries, there is no such opportunity. The debt generation should feel blessed and stop complaining.

  • Vek1964

    How about a law that says student loan debt INTEREST can NOT accrue when the holder is on disability OR currently receiving unemployment ?  ?  ?  

  • Anonymous

    In many other countries of the world against whom we compete, it is not necessary to mortgage a young citizen’s future because the cost of education is mitigated by governments with the vision to see that subsidized education is necessary to the survival of the state.

  • Mandee_massacre

    You do realize there are a lot of kids with mental disabilities that are very greatful for the things they have? Their are also students with disabled parents that don’t work and rertired right??

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CHED3WAWESTWT2NTYELAGDLEOY frankj

    Prove it 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CHED3WAWESTWT2NTYELAGDLEOY frankj

    You are wrong prove it 

  • Gjohnso627

    I have a graduate school debt that I cant pay due to unemployment.  It seems that the more education you have the less likely you will land a good paying job especially here in NM.  I feel the debt should be excused as a bailout to myself and other students.  We tried to better ourselves and it has been hindrence.  All I hear as I seek employment is to go back to school for additional training costing thousands of additional money with no gurantee of a job.  This needs to be addressed we cant continue to be in school for fathom jobs that we continually apply for.  If the banks can get bailouts and the auto industry as well why not the student who has little faith in getting a job.  I have been unemployed over a year and in addition face ageism as well as others.

  • Jswjones67

    My oldest daughter is 24 and is saddled with $33,000 in “Student Loan” Debt from Chase.  They get money from the FED at less then 1% (almost 0%) and have the cahonaes to charge 8% to these kids who can’t buy a job! It’s truly crimminal! My middle daughter is now looking to attend college and you better believe she WILL NOT be taking out these predatory loans! Her dad and I aren’t borrowing a cent either, we aren’t mortgaging our future! And we have a 13 year old that I have NO HOPE of ever attending college unless things change!

  • Jswjones67

    My oldest daughter is 24 and is saddled with $33,000 in “Student Loan” Debt from Chase.  They get money from the FED at less then 1% (almost 0%) and have the cahonaes to charge 8% to these kids who can’t buy a job! It’s truly crimminal! My middle daughter is now looking to attend college and you better believe she WILL NOT be taking out these predatory loans! Her dad and I aren’t borrowing a cent either, we aren’t mortgaging our future! And we have a 13 year old that I have NO HOPE of ever attending college unless things change!

  • Jswjones67

    First of all we are talking about 17 & 18 year olds entering into legal contracts, in many states this age group cannot enter into lega contracts util age 21! These loans are like luggage they stay ith you well into aduthood, these kids have NO concept of the consequences of this debt.  Every adult in thier lives pounds int their heads from kindergarten, “Do well in school, go to the best college and you will be successful!” They are doing what they are told to do, and it’s all lies!

  • SageK

    I’m in upstate NY and every word you said is true. This seems to be a recurring theme all over the country. I went to college to get that “good job” that I was told about during my childhood. I graduated with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. I cannot keep a job longer that 2 years because my sector of employment has been hit hard by a faultering economy. I am always viewed as “the young one” or “the newest employee”; what that really means: disposable. I have been laughed at when I tell someone I’ve been a victim of ageism. They say “only older people face that, and you’re in your mid-20s.” Not true. I’ve been told to my face multiple times that I am too young for a job…an entry-level job at that! And that is at businesses that claim they don’t discriminate against religion, sex, AGE, etc.

  • Darren

    Well, this is the last bit of American peoples entitlement post WWII as the Student loan crimes and government sponsored agencies to threaten Social Security as collaterol for outstanding debts… Raping of America. When will America realize that the Federal Government has failed our civil rights in fiscal policy’s third “provide jobs for the american people” where markets are created short-sighted for instant gradification but, long-run short falls and cost of overall ventures misserable results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leiris-Attenborough/100002292437723 Leiris Attenborough

    Good point! When I took out loans as an undergrad in 2001 I was given an interest rate of 3.8% (a rate that took into account my middle-class parent’s income). Forward to graduate school in 2009 and the best interest rate I could get was at 8.6%.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leiris-Attenborough/100002292437723 Leiris Attenborough

    Good point! When I took out loans as an undergrad in 2001 I was given an interest rate of 3.8% (a rate that took into account my middle-class parent’s income). Forward to graduate school in 2009 and the best interest rate I could get was at 8.6%.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leiris-Attenborough/100002292437723 Leiris Attenborough

    Also, isn’t it pretty disgusting that the banks get bail-out money at a lower interest rates than students?

  • Shirley

    Darren I counted 3 spelling errors, 2 grammar errors, 2 capitalization, and 1 usage error in your response.  If you did attend a post-secondary college, it didn’t teach you the best communication skills.

  • Shirley

    Gjohnso727 Do you know how to spell hindrance?   Well, you didn’t in your response answer.  How about staying in a consistent verb tense too.  Please also include an apostrophe in can’t.  Finally, substitute your ‘yous’ with third person nouns or pronouns.  Myself?  Is that correct usage?  I don’t think so in this case.  How do you spell guarantee?  You spelled it incorrectly.

  • Shirley

    Please don’t shift from third person ‘one’ to 2nd person ‘you’ in your response.  Do you know how subjects should agree in number with their verbs?  Really now, ‘Kids in this country is’?  Wrong.

  • haverwench

    I think you need to go back and listen to it again. The segment actually said that students are MORE LIKELY to retain their religious faith in college than they were in the past because they are now more likely to major in business rather than, say, philosophy. Moreover, it noted that students who go to college are also MORE LIKELY to retain their religious faith than young people who don’t. So the colleges are not “making the kids less religious by being sneaky”; in fact, they are not making the kids less religious at all.

  • Joe

    I graduated from Westminster College of Salt Lake in 1992, paid ALL my own tuition and cleaned toilets to do it.  I also cleaned toilets after it realizing that I wasn’t going to get a job with my degree.  Instead of whining and joining a protest, I worked my butt off.  I NEVER thought I was entitled. I know the market is tough, but since she has no kids or spouse, this kid can move anywhere and do anything. 

  • Kris

    Why is is that we look at these young students as victims when there are alternatives to piling up student debt. Not enough families look into the option of funding college through scholarships. We plan on sending our daughter to a private school where she well pay less in tuition and fees than a public university. And our income is not in the triple digits…

  • Gjohnso627

    I have a graduate degree debt that cannot be paid until I get a job for which there are none and feel that folks like myself who are older than most but tried to better prepare ourselves for a better if not good job cant get hired should have this loan forgotton by the government. We are not being hired because of our age and these loans were provided by the government so they should be erased unless the government is prepared to give us a good job to pay for them.  Been unemployed over a year and feel I will not be employed any time soon. 

  • Ang Geck 5

    I’m Jeslin Huimin, i am really in need of a personal loan and was scammed S$1200 and a friend introduced me to Mr Ang Geck of  Geck’s Loans Firm who lend me S$75,000 so if you are in need of any loan contact him via email.,, ang.geck.5@skymail.mn

  • Ang Geck 5

    Hello everyone,
      My name is Mr Steve Davidson and i am talking as the happiest person in the whole wild world today and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will tell the name to the whole wild world and i am so happy to say that my family is back for good because i was in need a loan of $382,000 USD to start my life all over as i am a single mum with 2 kids and the whole world seemed like it was hanging on me until i met the GOD sent loan lender that changed my life and that of my family, a GOD fearing lender, Mr Ang Geck  of .Geck loan Investment, he was the saviour GOD sent to rescue my family and at first i thought it was not going to be possible until i received my loan of $100,000 USD and i will advise any one who is in genuine need of a loan to contact Mr Ang Geck (MD) via ang.geck.5@skymail.mn because he is the most understanding and kind hearted lender.

  • Ang Geck 5

    Hello everyone,
      My name is Mr Steve Davidson and i am talking as the happiest person in the whole wild world today and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will tell the name to the whole wild world and i am so happy to say that my family is back for good because i was in need a loan of $382,000 USD to start my life all over as i am a single mum with 2 kids and the whole world seemed like it was hanging on me until i met the GOD sent loan lender that changed my life and that of my family, a GOD fearing lender, Mr Ang Geck  of .Geck loan Investment, he was the saviour GOD sent to rescue my family and at first i thought it was not going to be possible until i received my loan of $100,000 USD and i will advise any one who is in genuine need of a loan to contact Mr Ang Geck (MD) via ang.geck.5@skymail.mn because he is the most understanding and kind hearted lender.

  • Ang Geck 5

    Hello everyone,
      My name is Mr Steve Davidson and i am talking as the happiest person in the whole wild world today and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will tell the name to the whole wild world and i am so happy to say that my family is back for good because i was in need a loan of $382,000 USD to start my life all over as i am a single mum with 2 kids and the whole world seemed like it was hanging on me until i met the GOD sent loan lender that changed my life and that of my family, a GOD fearing lender, Mr Ang Geck  of .Geck loan Investment, he was the saviour GOD sent to rescue my family and at first i thought it was not going to be possible until i received my loan of $100,000 USD and i will advise any one who is in genuine need of a loan to contact Mr Ang Geck (MD) via ang.geck.5@skymail.mn because he is the most understanding and kind hearted lender.

  • Ang Geck 5

    I am long Koh i was in need of a loan of S$50, 000 and was scammed by those fraudulent lenders and a friend introduce me to Mr Ang Geck,and he lend me the loan without any stress,you can contact him at ang.geck.5@skymail.mn 

  • M E Reynolds

    Scholarships are limited. A few students will get full rides, but most of us get a small chunk. It is helpful, but I only received ~$3000 in scholarships. This did not help to cover the $30,000 of student loans that it took to graduate from a state school. 

  • M E Reynolds

    Worked my way through school as well, but a full time job did not cover the cost of living and the cost of tuition. Our generation does not think it is entitled, we are starting off life with mortgage sized debts and minimal job prospects. 

    I agree with you about working anything to pay the bills, but there should be some type of relief (from continually compounding interest and fees) to help people pay back their loans. 

    I graduated with $30,000 in student loans in 2008. Since that time I have paid my loans down to $20,000 with just a little extra each month. I married a Engineer with an MBA with $100,000 in student loans. He graduated in 2001 and has paid the initial amount borrowed several times over. 

  • M E Reynolds

    Student loan debt is only discharged through a special form of disability. If you are awarded state disability rights, your student loan debt will not automatically be forgiven. You have to meet special criteria (never will work again, will not live long) in order for your debt to be forgiven. 

    The only way to get out of student loan debt is to contract a debilitating fatal disease, such as Lou-Gehrigs. Other than that, you have to pay. 

  • bidjan norah

    i have read several references on yahoo and also suffered the internet
    for loans and have come to realize that it all accumulated to nothing
    as i was been scammed or been turned down, but after all that i went
    through i tried one more reference on yahoo by Mr Thomasson levers
    about ENGLISH WORLD LOANS and they turned out to give me the loan i
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    that atches us even in the deepest of our problems, so the bottom line
    is contact the above named company and your story will turn too.

    the email is englishworld19@gmail.com and their website http://www.englishworld19.webs.com

    bidjannorah1@gmail.com

  • monica

    i have read several references on yahoo and also suffered the internet
    for loans and have come to realize that it all accumulated to nothing
    as i was been scammed or been turned down, but after all that i went
    through i tried one more reference on yahoo by Mr Thomasson levers
    about GLOABL FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT NETWORK and they turned out to give me the loan i
    had wanted all along. The moral of my reference here is not only for
    you to contact them, but to also know that there is a God up in heaven
    that atches us even in the deepest of our problems, so the bottom line
    is contact the above named company and your story will turn too.

    the email is glofempnetwork@gmail.com and their website http://www.glofempnetwork.webs.com