Student debt: An American horror story | Michael Hobbes

Well, there’s a couple reasons why college
has gotten so expensive. First of all is: states are cutting higher
education funding. Second thing is: supply and demand. What we have is a crisis where to get onto
the job ladder, the few decent jobs left—that have healthcare, that have security, that
have a pension—they all require a college degree. So you have to go to college, basically. And yet the actual number of spaces in colleges
hasn’t really increased. Harvard admits something like ten percent
more now than they did in the ‘70s, so there are more people competing for fewer spots. And that means that the colleges can just
raise the price, and they’ll find somebody to pay it. No matter how high it gets, somebody is out
there paying it, and so they just raise it and raise it and raise it, and we keep paying
it. Colleges are adding services like rock climbing
gyms, extra administration, they’re doing more marketing, they’re doing these really
expensive study abroad programs and, again, they’re competing over the rich kids, they’re
competing over the ten percent and the one percent, people who are not “cost sensitive.” Colleges keep throwing services and throwing
bells and whistles at them, and they’re just paying it, because the entire economy
is shifting toward marketing itself to the top ten percent and the top one percent, and
those are the kids that are going to college now. The college premium (how much extra you earn
for going to college) is 70 percent. You earn almost double if you go to college
on average than if you don’t go to college. So we’re in this bind where you HAVE to
go to college or else you end up in a really bad job for the rest of your life, but them
to go to college you have to go into $80,000, $100,000, more than that debt. I interviewed somebody for the article that
is paying off $311,000 in debt. I interviewed another person who was actually
a bankruptcy lawyer who was paying $2000 a month in student loans after he got out of
college. And so when you look at how many of us have
student loans—and that we’re paying them off at the time when we’re early in our
careers, we’re not as established in our fields, we can’t afford decent housing,
we aren’t earning very much at that time, and then we’re also, on top of that, paying
a couple hundred dollars a month extra—that’s money we’re not saving, that’s money we’re
not putting to a pension, that’s money we’re not putting to a home—and that extends the
period of—what our parents call “adolescence,” but really, insecurity—that extends our
period of insecurity into our 30s and our 40s. And so if you look at any poll of millennials,
more than half say they have put off marriage, they have put off children, they have put
off buying a home because of their student loans. And student loans are the only form of debt
that you cannot get rid of in bankruptcy, so they are literally inescapable. Even if you die, in some states your partner
might actually have to pay them off for you. So this is a ball and chain around the ankle
of millions of millennials, and again, it’s not a choice that we made, it’s the economy
that we’re in, that to get onto the job ladder you need to have an education. One of the things that we forget, and especially
our parents forget, is how much cheaper college used to be. When my dad was in college he worked for ten
hours a week in the cafeteria, and that was enough for his tuition and a little bit of
his rent. That doesn’t sound familiar to anybody I
know. And what has happened since then is: the cost
of education has gone up between 400 and 1200 percent depending on the kind of school you
go to. Meanwhile, minimum wages haven’t really
budged, general wages haven’t really budged, and the price of everything else has gotten
higher too. So in the early ‘70s it took around 300
hours of minimum wage work to afford a four-year education. By the 2000s it took 4,400 hours of minimum
wage work to afford a four-year education. There are a lot of really smart people who
look at a debt of $100,000 when they get out and minimum payments of hundreds of dollars
every month and go, “It’s not worth it.” And the problem is the economy really isn’t
working for them. If you look at any measure of poverty, unemployment,
there’s never been a time in America where it’s worse to not be a college graduate. If you want a pension, if you want healthcare,
if you want decent wages, if you want security, all of those jobs now require college degrees. And even if they don’t require college degrees,
there’s now so many people with college degrees they’re getting those jobs. Right? The hiring manager at a coffee shop looks
at two resumes and one has a college degree and one doesn’t, even if the job doesn’t
necessarily require a college degree he’s going to hire the college grad because he
thinks they’re smarter, harder working, or whatever. And so you’ve got kids that are now systematically
disadvantaged because they didn’t go to college, but it’s understandable that they
wouldn’t want to given the cost. And so we need to think about all of the opportunities
that we’re missing by having an entire generation of people who look at the cost of college
and decide not to go, and what those people could be doing if they went. I don’t know if other people have noticed
this, but at my high school the rich kids went to college and the smart kids went to
college. And it feels like there’s this huge tranche
of kids that were sort of normal kids—they weren’t exceptional—and those mediocre
kids, if they were rich they went to college, and if they were exceptional and they weren’t
rich they went to college. But that leaves out this huge structure of
all these millions of people who were just kind of average but just didn’t go because
they ended up doing something else. I think we as Americans forget that we’re
the only country where college costs this much, and we’re the only developed country
without a functioning safety net. It’s a lot better in other countries. I actually went to graduate school TWICE in
Europe, because I couldn’t afford to go in America. And in lots of European countries it is free. (Tell everyone you know.) And a lot of other countries it’s really
cheap. And many of the degrees are in English, and
those countries are run by adults. They’re great. Go there. I also went to community college for two years. Community college has a bad reputation for
no particular reason. Community colleges are great. So people should consider going to community
college and then transferring to a two-year university. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re all doing our best. Find a cheap way that works for you, and if
you can get a visa to leave America and stay left, then do that too.

58 comments on “Student debt: An American horror story | Michael Hobbes”

  1. MikeWard1701 says:

    You should only be going the college route if you want to learn something that CAN'T be taught vocationally, in the workplace of through professional qualifications. Want to study art, history, philosophy? Go to college. Want to study business, IT, accounting, engineering? Go the vocational route, you'll gain practical experience as you study (not just academic theory) and will be cheaper!

  2. EclipseMints08 says:

    It's 2019. All financial information about a university's tuition and fees are readily available. The problem with kids for the past twenty years and counting is that they would rather just join a college with prestige and do absolutely no research. To all the young kids out there who are close to graduation high school, do it as long as it makes sense financially for your family and yourself. What do I mean by this? Don't go for prestige. Research the school you want to go and go to a school that is in-state. Like the video said, go to a community college. There is nothing wrong with community college. I went straight to a community college and completed all my general education requirements. Zero debt. After community college, I transferred to a state school in California and I am graduating this semester. How much debt? Zero. I grew up in a gang infested neighborhoods majority of my life. My mom and dad did not pay for anything other than having me live with them as I went to college. Graduating without debt can be done if you're willing to set your ego aside and willing to stop trying to compete with the rich folks who can pay down 50 grand in less than a month.

  3. MisterTutor2010 says:

    @4:38 He's talking about credentialism.

  4. Liz The Blue Fox says:

    Creepy thumbnail

  5. Lady D says:

    There are other countries that treat students with students loans far, far better.

  6. Eliminate Student Debt says:

    Debt, in general, appears to be a slippery slope.

  7. Stelian Balaceanu says:

    As a Romanian, I was able to graduate Medicine and become a radiologist FREE OF CHARGE. That's right. Just by passing the admission exam with a good mark. And the candidates who get lower marks on the admission exam, they pay about 2500$ per year. Same for all universities.
    Lawyers, engineers you name it, get free college if they get a good mark. All coordinated and sponsored by the Ministry of Education. All that in a former Communist block country with a shoddy economy and rampant corruption.
    Five years later, no debt whatsoever, on the contrary, and without emigrating.
    And us guys usually run off to countries in Western Europe and even Sweden… and we make it.
    Now how come Romanians can do it and the almighty US faces what I consider a serious problem in the long run?

  8. SoCal Justice Warrior says:

    Shut the fuck up. Tuition is going up because colleges are filling with dumbasses who have no business being there. If you have to take remedial Algebra in college, you probably shouldn't be there. The minute you make college free, college will become just as shitty as public education.

    Literally everything you can learn in college is available online.

    You NEVER stop bitching about how America isn't like Europe. Do you hate blacks and latinos or something? Do you hate non-merit based immigration? Pretty fucking weird, bro.

  9. dentpeninde says:

    Avoid excessive student loans and earn your degree in Europe.

    Visit to learn more.

  10. Ce R says:

    The government created this crisis to create a generation of slaves that will never be able to pay back their student loan debt. These students received "crap shoot" educations that will not land them decent paying jobs. Now the government "Big Brother" is going to offer an indecent proposal to those who can't repay their debt. Work for us and we will forgive your debt. Facing a lifetime of debt the offer will seem like a no brainer. Teachers already receive similar offers to keep them in indentured servitude to the state for specific amounts of time. Slavery never died they just convince us that because they offer something for our servitude were are not slaves, we are employed.

  11. Jeremy Kosiba says:

    Start a business. Don’t need debt for that…

  12. Caitlyn Brown says:

    Anything helps with my college debt😭

  13. Robert Rhinehart says:

    This guy means well but is badly misinformed

  14. Steel TROLL says:

    Michael Hobbes is full of it. You can earn a good living working the trades. You do not have to go to college to achieve a high standard of living. The reason the price of college is increasing is because of government loan guarantees. The colleges know they are going to get their money regardless of any increase. The bigger point is there are plenty of people with college degrees who have a lower standard of living than people without college degrees. These college educated poor people all have one thing in common. They are over educated and unskilled. Pension? Unless you work for the federal government the promise of a pension is worthless. Michael Hobbes probably studied liberal arts and is one of those unskilled, over educated types.

  15. d's information says:

    I said a newscast where even baby boomers are billions of dollars in debt

  16. Aaron Calkins says:

    Going into student loan debt is a choice.

  17. BRKS627 says:

    The so call rich kids go to college because they didn't earn it their parents have the money to pay for it.

  18. Wreath Storm says:

    I'm trying hard to avoid debt:

  19. Broke and Caffeinated says:

    Kinda wish there was a special where if you got a degree in something and if you couldn’t get a job in that field for like 1-2 years, you can get a full refund from college and return the diploma

  20. That Guy says:

    Everything should be free. Food, water, education, housing, healthcare, etc.

  21. Cathey Belcher says:

    I have yet to hear anyone on this page mention how they paid for the college education using scholarships and graduated debt free.

  22. Delacroix says:

    This is inevitable. Students will still go to college. They think this is the only way to be successful in life. This will go on forever.

  23. College Debt Slavery-on kindle says:

    It's 2019 and most of these college degrees are not working. Employers want experience so you need to lie to them. College is just too expensive to justify and many people like to sugar coat it.


    For me, I've never had an employer or customer care about my degree what so ever. Most employers only care if you have experience and are a reliable/confident person who can do their job and deliver results.

  25. peanutbutterisfu says:

    This video is wrong. You do not need college to make good money and be successful. Some of the most successful people didn’t finish high school. People need to use common sense when deciding if college is for them. So you want to be a high school gym teacher? Ok well it pays 45k per year so look for a college that is affordable, you can’t go to a college that’s going to charge you 80k because you can’t afford it, it’s that simple. If you only make 45k per year you could barley afford to buy a house for 80k let alone college debts on top of that.
    If you can’t find an affordable college than pick a different career. You can’t blame a college because you did no research. So many people go to college for careers that pay nothing. There is no reason to go to college unless you will make well over 100k per year there are way to many ways to make money and not spend it on college and waste years of your life. If you go to college for a career that pays 50k your better off getting into a trade like plumbing, electrician, mechanic, contractor that requires absolutely no college and you get training on the job for free and if you put your time in and learn a lot you can make 100k. The 4 years you would be in college racking up debt could be the time you spend as an intern with a plumbing company and now after 4 years you have no debt and make 60k a year with benefits. I barely passed high school and never went to college. I make 100k per year. When I hire people I could care less if you went to college or not, I only care about how good you are as a worker and person. In my field (automotive) generally the college grads never work out, even though they went to college they still don’t start to really learn the business until they start working. The college guys generally aren’t as motivated as the guys that didn’t go to college and the guys that didn’t go to college are generally smarter because they didn’t choose their career the career chose them because they were born with natural abilities. The problem isn’t with colleges the problem is the high schools feeding students with bullshit like this video. Sure if you want to be a doctor, lawyer, pilot, building engineer etc.. yeah you need college but those careers pay a lot of money that you can afford to go. Don’t waste your time going to college to make 50k there are to many jobs out there that pay more money for less effort. If you want to go to college shoot for a career that can really make it worth your time.

  26. Miriana Dimitrova says:

    People nowadays are so entitled and stupid. College education is NOT a right – it`s luxury. It used to be that only the rich and noble people could afford higher education. I know lots and lots of people who haven`t been in college and make much more money than the people who have + have savings in their 30s instead of debt. The problem is that people would pay any price without even doing simple math beforehand.

  27. Bee Bob says:

    A college education is a purchased product. If a student refuses to pay for the product they purchased (education) then the college should be mandated to revoke their degree until the payments start back up. Employers should be mandated to check with the college where a student attended to be sure they are paying on their loan. If not then they don't get hired.
    Student loans don't get paid back because there is no enforcement of the collection. First, don't go to a college you can't afford. Go to a community college and then transfer to that college to basically cut your four year degree financially in half.
    Select a college that you aren't paying 50,000 a year for a liberal arts degree or a teachers degree. Go to a state school.
    Don't buy every new thing on the market, but instead pay for your college. Don't party every night and save that money for school.
    Stay away from credit cards in college. Nothing worse than adding debt to your bills.
    I went to a state school for my teaching degree. I didn't use a credit card to pay bills. If I didn't have the money then I didn't buy something.
    I had made an allowance of 10 dollars a week for spend money. I ate in the cafeteria and lived on campus. In grad school I received a grad assistantship and had to live off campus. I lived in a small room above a family and ate in the college cafeteria.
    Minimal debt when I was finished. Actually I had no debt out of college because I was smart with my spending and chose an affordable university and college.

  28. Steve Farrey says:

    My sales staff makes $50-100k a year, I've never asked where they went to college.  We hire good people that want to work and provide a good living for their familes.  It always amazes me when I see people with $90k in student debt that are social workers ($30k range income),

  29. pixelzpusher says:

    It's free in other countries because the tax rate pays for it. Check the tax rates in those countries and it's way higher than in the US. Nothing is free. Someone is paying for it.

  30. One Two says:

    Who wants to waste their time going to Harvard? They can go to community college. Nothing wrong with it. Ppl go to these big name college for crap diploma working at starbucks

  31. NeonSuspenders says:

    "Contributor at HuffPost" — aaaaaand I'm out.

  32. R Arbuckle says:

    This guy hasn't learned anything. He's hopeless.

  33. Isaac Dennis says:

    Sure college is nice, but don't smash down on people who decide to pursue blue collar jobs. A lot of them get live better than most graduates.

  34. Damian Murphy-Morris says:

    I’m 18 graduated high school and considering becoming a barber. My own barber has a shop open in downtown Toronto and it’s allocated in a fairly good area ( Queen ) he told me that there going to open up more chairs in the upstairs area and if I want it there’s a chance. I also have considered going to trade school / stacking skills as a software developer. I’ve seen some good programs and since I don’t have to be licensed to be a barber I can use some of that money along with my part time job and gov funding to pay for any tuition for trade school. In a few years ( by age 24 ) I want to make a move to somewhere in South America. Either Brazil or the DR. I want to do so with as little debt and with skills that are in decent demand almost anywhere.

  35. Stay down Until you come up says:

    I went to pharmacy technician school for free while I worked in a pharmacy. Took those skills opened my own business and now take home over 120k a year.
    I feel bad for everyone who is in a mountain of debt because they believed this fantasy. But then again most of them looked down at me while they were getting degrees. Lol

  36. Dimitri Rodriguez says:

    Ignored my parents and teachers and chose not to go to college. Straight into the workforce (Construction) and trying to get my CDL license. Debt free.

  37. Thrasher209 says:

    Fuck college. Just find your way in life and where you thrive. Often it's about who you know, not what you know. So make friends with successful people and hope to find a nice job cause you know the owner or just do what you love to due if you can survive off of it. Better to be broke but make it, while going to a job that you like to do, than be rich going to a job you hate and dread going to everyday. Hell, even if you never have a true career and just go from place to place and experience so many different things is a good spent life

  38. Alexander Sandman says:

    You forgot bloated administration and football

  39. Macio Luko says:

    Let's abolish the student loans…
    See how quickly tuition prices fall…
    @3:10 Exactly! No one is saying college should be free because there is nothing free in this world. All students are saying is please let us work for a year or slave away at a tough summer job to pay for the REASONABLE MARKET costs of collage like our parents did.

  40. A Olvaar says:

    In 2000, I worked overseas, I made $120K/yr tax free, my Lead made $160K, My supervisor made $225K.
    Everything paid for except cigs, booze, junk food, sex

    No college degree needed

  41. MylifeisinHishands Amen says:

    I am a Nigerian…I am studying in Finland….I did my bachelors degree, masters degree and starting my PhD in 3 months (I have study place already)…All for FREE…..Am lucky…..I know here you have to do what we refer to as odd jobs like cleaning and dish washing to survive here as an African immigrant and there is no prospect of job here after school but I still appreciate it than being in student loan. If I plan it properly I can leave after school to another country to get a job…..I am grateful for the republic of FINLAND

  42. James Roscoe says:

    I know not everyone is as fortunate, but I managed to graduate nearly debt free. I started an online side business that paid off my student loans, and I still run it today. However, my student loans were around $30,000, and I know others debts are far large r than mine were.

  43. The Duke says:

    Israel just got a check for 40 billion dollars! The average college student debt is $23,000.00, this [illegal funding] would have paid 1,739,130 students free an clear.

  44. Photoshop By Alfredo says:

    guys you don't need a degree, i gotten jobs and boss rarely looked at my resume, learn to make money any way and get good at it. if you want a guaranteed income for life then Sales is good

  45. Hank Moody says:

    Just get a fake degree. You'll probably learn the same amount of bullshit

  46. Sheldon Cooper says:

    Education is free in Europe my ass. Everyone who lives in Europe pays for higher education via higher taxes, inflation and a country with higher levels of debt. The "free" education is just one piece of the puzzle as to whether or not life is better in Europe.

  47. warren smith says:

    What will it be like when AI / automation / machine learning robotics displaces multi millions from their jobs? Man no longer required in the workplace…blue and white collar robots…no future…the perfect storm…😣

  48. Dan says:

    The majority of people paying their student loans are just going to say screw it and stop paying them, when they realize all that can happen is damage credit, which is only good for getting a mortgage. The same scam in a different package.

  49. Left Right says:

    It's always a choice. Community college doesn't cost as much and you can get a pretty darn good job if you have the skills. College degrees mean nothing if you can't do the job. Let's get real. My company doesn't care where you went to college. They only care about your contribution.

  50. Left Right says:

    And college is not FREE in European countries. The taxpayers pay for it. If you like paying 50% taxes, then yeah, we can have free college here too.

  51. cramsa says:

    TRASH PROPAGANDA… if you did real research, you would have known that a damn crane operator makes MORE money than the average college graduate.

    It’s mostly about MARKETABLE SKILLS, “urban studies” is not a marketable skill in the real world.

  52. G Moeller says:

    The similarities between the student loan bubble and 2008 are incredible.

  53. Alezandra Davila says:

    Or u can learn a trade

  54. k 123 says:

    In high school they prepare you for college. Throw you right into the race. Now 35,000 later after my bachelors I’m being told to get a masters. Everyone’s going for a masters now. Because nobody gets a job with just a bachelors….. Another 70000 will get me a job? Suck my dick.

  55. Hinata Talim says:

    I work as a programmer in the IT industry and i can tell you now YOU HAVE TO HAVE A DEGREE AS A PROGRAMMER! Not everyone in the IT industry can get hired without a bachelors degree at minimum. Unless you have years of experience at a reputable company. Just as someone else mentioned, the problem is that some if not most of the fed student loans are almost always guaranteed to the borrower. What's worse they go by your parents income if you under 25, i think. So if your parents make alot, you won't get alot without your parents co-signing. Then you have to take out a parent PLUS loan on top of the student loan if your student loan isn't enough. Then these money hungry universities offer students pseudo/fluff degrees like underwater basket weaving and offer unnecessary luxuries like huge overly elaborate activity centers with built in coffee shops. These universities need their funding drastically cut and limited! That'll stop them from raising tuition, building unnecessary buildings, and milking students dry!

  56. Freedom Noey says:

    Quit giving out false information you do not need college to get a good job…construction jobs, truck driving jobs ,welding jobs an many others provide benefits and a good living.. ps And let's not forget it does not take a college degree to start a business

  57. CoisaDoLatinoAmerica19 S says:

    Medical school cost =$350,000 USD, in a 25 year repayment program it comes down to roughly $780,000 USD. WTF!!! thats near a million… The math does not add up, so I MOVED TO ANOTHER COUNTRY to WORK,LIVE, AND NEVER COME BACK.This is my story, I was born and raised in the US, all my life I had a dream that I would one day be a doctor, and to confirm this idea I worked in EMS as a paramedic and loved every day of it, being a doctor would be like being the ultimate paramedic…. however I am from the hood, we dont have any rolemodels, anyone that will help us achieve our dreams, but regardless of my lack of resources I peresevered. I went to community college and university and worked 3 jobs to pay of my undergrad education (because for what ever reason, i didnt meet criteria for FAFSA) and successfully graduated and received my bachelors although it took longer than expected. Because of my poor GPA, I had a horrible chance to make it into a medical school in my state. The next thing I did was, I decided to email and talk to these schools, and acutally ask for help. The few medical schools in my state that I spoke to told me, NO you are competative enough, which I think its a little strange because really their aren't many doctors in my community that look like me, and that are from my state. But regardless of what these people said I pushed and found a Medical school that would accept me, which was abroad but a program that was Designed and Approved on for the US medical system. I put 4 year of working hard to learn, pass, and succeed in my clincial clerkships. However, since I did my medical clickship in a hospital which mirrored my hood, doctors there were a little abusive, using us as free labor, and rarely making an appearance at the hospital, or only showing up for less than an hour the days they would come in, which did not give us a chace to study. So I did not do any of my board examinations till after graduation. Then thats when reality struck, an MD in the US means NOTHING, you cannot use and MD for anything that is willing pay enough for monthly school debt. The repayment program of $2,000 USD per month, was having me work like a slave, barely making enough working full time and a side gig for my debts… I had no life, I could not date anyone, I could not begin a family, I could not buy a house, or a car, I was still driving my 1st car that I've had since community college, and could barely afford insurance and gas on it…. I began trying to do the math, of when I begin residency (1st 3 years of being a doctor and being payed for it), I would be making 40-60,000 per month, meaning that more than half my earning would go to medical school debt, which would mean that as a doctor I would still be living as a Mc. Donald's employee. Passing 3 years I would be making from $150,000-250,000, NOW I can begin to live normal but….. I will still need to pay off $750,000, and I will be in my 40s… and only in my 40s I could begin thinking of having a family… only in my 40s i can begin to think about being happy? if a man's average life span is 80 years old, i have spent half my life in school and unable to be happy? …. THen I began looking at other doctors, majority of doctors in the US are immigrants from Asia (India, China…ect), and Africa (nigeria,congo), why is that? the answer is MONEY and DEBT, some of these people's education was free, some had debt but NO WHERE NEAR an average American with Medical school Debt, many went to school where they payed 1/10th price of an American Medical school or Internation Medical School tuition. These people are thriving and living the american life, come to the US pay off their debt very fast, and are able to have a house, family, and future economical prosperity. This is why, I decided to do as they did, GO TO ANOTHER COUNTRY TO PRACTICE MEDICINE… My mother was my co-signer so what we decided was to transfer all her assets to my sister, so the when the govenrment went to collect they wouldnt take much. And I decided to move to Latin American as an what I would call an "Economic Refugee," and a married a gorgeous brod from here then became a citizen of this country. I believe it is a new form of slavery, if I were to be 30, or 60, even 100K to pay I believe that would be fair, I can pay that and at the same time would grow professionaly, economically, but owing nearly 1 million dollars which will take theoretically 13 years minimum to pay off being very cheap, is obsured. So I moved to Latin America, where I had to spend some time to transfer my credentials, and I was able to become a doctor here. I am a doctor now, I have 3 beuatiful healthy children, a wife, and my own medical practice. This is something that WOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPEN IN THE US if I were to stay…I practically sold my American Life to Financial Aid School Loan System… but thats how the world works, people go to other countries because they see no fiancial future in their current country, and for me that was the US, the math doesnt add up… Which is why you next doctor appointment will be with Dr. Pattel, Dr. Rosh, Dr. Muhammad, Dr. Kim, Dr. Li…ect. It makes perfect sense for them to be in the US, but for many like me, its ludacris..

  58. Matthew Kopp says:

    Young Americans should move away from the country to study and in most cases stay where they study. The USA doesn’t want talented and intelligent citizens. If this continues we will not only have a student debt crisis. We will have economic stagnation. We will have housing value decline or we will simply sell the houses to China to keep prices up. We will have a whole generation without accumulated wealth. We will have less marriages. And We will have a retirement crises.

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