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Why Should I Save for College If Loans Will Be Forgiven?

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Why Should I Save for College If Loans Will Be Forgiven?One of my missions in life is to help our son graduate from college with as little debt as possible. My parents paid for my college education and I was able to start saving and investing right out of school. If I had a large student loan debt hanging over my head, I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m extremely grateful for their help and I want to do the same for our son. That’s why we have been saving diligently in his 529 college saving plan. I plan to front load his 529 so it will have plenty of time to grow. One of my 2015 financial goals is to surpass $50,000 in that account. This will give it a good head start. It will have 14 more years to compound and it should cover a good portion of RB40Jr’s college expenses.

We have been focused on saving and I haven’t paid much attention to how students are actually paying for college recently. Imagine my surprise when I read this excellent story in TIME magazine – But can America afford this approach to solving student debt? (Sorry, the link only works if you’re a subscriber at TIME.com.) It seems the federal government has become the go-to lender for college students. When Mrs. RB40 and I were in college, the federal government was the guarantor, but now they are a direct lender. As a result, the Department of Education can set new rules on how student loans are disbursed, repaid, and forgiven. Apparently, the DoED can do this without going through Congress.

Forgiveness programs

There are two major loan forgiveness programs. I’ll try to summarize them here.

1. IDR – The Income Driven Repayment plans.

If your outstanding federal student loan debt is higher than your annual income or if it represents a significant portion of your annual income, you may want to repay your federal student loans under an income-driven repayment plan.

This is from the Student Aid’s website. Basically, the loan repayment is capped at 10 or 15% of your discretionary income and the balance will be forgiven after 20 or 25 years. So if you don’t make much income, you can pay a small amount every month and let your loan balloon. After 20 or 25 years, all your student loan debt will be wiped out!

2. PSLF – The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

If you are employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Your student loan debt may qualify to be forgiven after just 10 years. This includes employees in a government organization at any level, non-profit organizations, and AmeriCorps or Peace Corps. This is a huge segment of the US population, around 25%.

Wow, these are huge programs that will cost taxpayers $250 billion over the next 10 years. Yes, you and I will be paying off these loans.

How much can students borrow?

Can you pay the whole bill with the Federal Direct Loan? Not really. There is a cap in place for undergraduate students.

  • $31,000 over 4 years for dependent undergrads.
  • $57,500 over 4 years for independent undergrads.
  • Unlimited for graduate students.

Okay, that seems like a reasonable cap. Students can work and the parents can contribute to fill the gap. $31,000 over 4 years isn’t nearly enough to cover 4 years of in-state public college plus living expenses. Students can also apply for scholarships and private student loans from banks to help cover the cost.

Wait, unlimited for graduate students? Why isn’t there a cap here? The average tuition & fees for Ivy League colleges will be $47,697 in 2016. Add books, room and board, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses and the cost of going to a private graduate school soars to about $80,000/year. It’s easy to see how graduate students come out with six figures debt.

I don’t want to subsidize private colleges

As a tax payer, I don’t want to subsidize kids going to expensive private colleges. I got my Master’s degree at UC Santa Barbara, a public university. I crammed my undergrad and graduate education together and got my MS in just one year. Mrs. RB40 went back to school and completed her Master’s degree at a public university, and we paid the whole bill. If you can’t pay for an expensive private college, get your graduate degree at a more affordable college or just go part time. Why should I subsidize expensive private colleges?

The problem with the loan forgiveness approach is that it gives the universities incentive to keep increasing the price of tuition. The federal government will foot the bill, so why not keep jacking up the cost of college? This sounds like the same issue our health care system is having problems with. We need to figure out a way to minimize the cost increase, not subsidizing the providers.

Why should I save for college?

Let’s go back to my original question – why should I save for college if loans will be forgiven? RB40Jr can borrow from the federal government to pay for his college education. He could go ahead and get a PHD if he’d like. If he gets into a well paying career after college, then he won’t have any problem repaying the loan. However, if he qualifies for the loan forgiveness programs, he can just make the minimum payments and bide his time until the loans can be forgiven.

After reading the article, I don’t have any incentive to save extra for his college education. It seems like the best thing to do is to let what we have saved grow and he can borrow the rest. He can also get scholarships and work, of course. Maybe it will be better to set any extra money aside in a trust instead. That will give him a startup fund if he ever wants to become an entrepreneur.

I think college should be affordable for anyone, but this seems like the wrong approach. Why don’t we increase funding to public universities instead? That will make public universities more affordable to lower income students. Making community college free is a great first step. Rich kids can go to those expensive colleges.

What do you think? Are you okay with subsidizing students and expensive private colleges?

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{ 41 comments… add one }
  • John C December 11, 2015, 3:25 am

    I personally believe that these educational institutions are greatly subsidized…in the opposite direction. Because student loans are NOT dischargable in bankruptcy the colleges will always get their loan money back. Because of the willingness of the feds and private companies to give unsecured student loans in huge amounts the schools have strong incentives to crank up their rates. The above mentioned programs that allow the payments to be stretched out for 25 years give them an amazing amount of interest over that time period.

    If a “kid” took out the max of $31,000 in Federal loans, that would be a heavy burden to carry around for 10 – 25 years, even if at that point the debt would go away. I’m guessing that the peace of mind alone you could give to your son by ensuring he won’t have that hanging over his head into his 30s and 40s would be worth saving for college.

    There is also no guarantee that these programs will continue. RB40jr is a young guy and quite a ways from college (as our my boys) these rules could change several times between now and then. I think even if you stopped saving right now that $50K will grow to be more than enough for 4 years at a public school….assuming he chooses to attend a 4 year university rather than a 2 year program or vocational training.

    I certainly think community colleges need to be extremely inexpensive and affordable for everyone. The American Opportunity tax credit goes a long way in this. I live in one of the few school districts that has a promise zone, in which all kids who graduate will receive 2 years of free community college, which will be a big help for my 4 kids.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 9:59 am

      We’ll continue to save for college, but probably not at the pace we are at. We’ll probably add enough to the 529 to get the tax benefit and that’s it. You’re right about having a loan hanging over your head. It will get in the way of solidifying your finances.
      That’s great about the community colleges in your area. We still have to pay for our community colleges, but the cost is minimal compare to going to a 4 year university.

  • Pennypincher December 11, 2015, 3:46 am

    Holy smokes, Joe! Did you ever post a smokin’ hot subject/debate for this blog! I have very strong feelings about this whole subject. Will try hard to keep it brief.
    I paid for all of my private schooling myself. I worked, went to school, studied. That’s all I did for 7 years straight. Yes, I took a loan out in the final two years. It took me 10 years to pay it off and I was more proud of doing that, than getting my degree. This loan forgiveness program at our (taxpayers) expense is criminal! Pay off your own loans! You’re adults now! Don’t go into such debt if you cannot afford it! Find other options. Money guru Suze Orman said this is “follow you to the grave” debt, these school loans. How dare people go in with the idea that Oh, my loans will just be forgiven.
    Joe, it’s too early to tell what RB40jr’s. college costs will be. Just keep saving, in you and your wife’s accounts for it. The Vanguard S&P 500 fund was going to pay for our kid’s tuition, then she won a full ride scholarship-bonus for us! She worked summers and paid for all the extras. Let them deal w/grad school costs-they’re not kids anymore after that.
    True story-I heard of someone on the fundraising sight-Go Fund Me-asking for handouts to pay her college tuition-disgusting and shameless! Let them appreciate their education more by paying for it themselves! And no debt. Living expenses are sky high once they graduate.
    Enough said!

    • Pennypincher December 11, 2015, 3:56 am

      Ps- I told my kid to not marry someone with outstanding (school) loans because she too will be responsible for them and held liable.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 10:01 am

      Great job with your education and paying off your loan. People need to take responsibility for their action. Don’t take out a big loan if your future job doesn’t pay well. It sounds simple. What about all the people who struggled to pay off their loans. It’s just unfair to forgive these loans.
      Congratulation to your kid. Great job!

  • Paul December 11, 2015, 5:23 am

    I have to agree with Pennypincher. I abhor the idea that student loans are forgiven. It is your own choice to take on loans and the amount. You are responsible for paying it back not taxpayers.

    I see many students taking max student loans yearly. They live in lavish apartments or houses, eat out at fancy restaurants, lease fancy cars, and travel the world during breaks/summers.

    If loans are to be forgiven, might as well take the max out yearly and invest the rest into real estate or the stock market if the loan is going to be forgiven anyways. This is ridiculous.

    I graduated with a bachelors and doctorate degree with $85,000 in student loans in 2012. I paid them off promptly by 2014 (2 years)! No, we should not forgive student loans.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 10:03 am

      Right! I lived very cheaply when I was a student. It’s ridiculous to live it up if you’re not making any money.
      The real estate investing idea is interesting. The forgiveness program is only based on income. What if your income is low, but you have large asset? They need to look at asset too.
      Great job with your loan. 2 years is amazing!

  • so December 11, 2015, 6:17 am

    Some loan forgiveness in exchange for public service is fine. Been happening for decades w/the GI Bill and VA stuff and all other kinds of programs for those who serve the public interest / gov’t.

    I mean, the taxpayers are getting ten years (!) of work from the debtor at a lower $ when the debtor could be making more money in the private sector before there’s any forgiveness, so it’s a pretty fair exchange. From a policy perspective, it’s fine.

    From a moral perspective, everybody’s mileage varies. I know a ton of people who think it’s immoral for a parent to pay any part of a college student’s education, they should earn it themselves.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 10:06 am

      Sure, some public servants like teachers and military personal should be included. However, the definition of public servant is very broad. Government workers are making pretty good money these days. I don’t think they make much less than the private sector. I’ll need to do some research on that.

      • nicoleandmaggie December 12, 2015, 3:49 pm

        They do make less conditional on education/qualifications/experience. There’s only one guy who does research who says they don’t once you include benefits, but he’s a libertarian professor at Princeton that doesn’t believe government should exist and that shows in the assumptions he makes.

  • Hubbard December 11, 2015, 6:42 am

    In order to get student loans forgiven, you frequently need to work at miserable jobs for low wages when you’re most able to earn solid pay through hard work. Let me compare two friends (I’ll give them pseudonyms) who had significant student loan debt to pay off.

    Peter Paralegal decided to work his tail off at law firms. It was often miserable, but there was always overtime available if he wanted it, and he was able to pay everything off in a few years. He finished his twenties debt free and with a decent amount of funds that let him spend less time working and more time with his young family.

    Terri Teacher decided to do the loan forgiveness through teaching. It took her longer, and she’s now in her last year of it. But she’s been stuck in crummy schools for longer, and hasn’t had the funds to build up a decent retirement account balance. So even though Peter and Terri are the same age, Peter’s much better off. And Terri almost got hosed: when a student beat her up, she had to keep teaching at that school for the rest of the year or she’d be forced to pay back loans with interest. So she had to keep going the place where she was beaten bloody, despite needing medication for panic attacks.

    The student loan forgiveness programs are deals with the devil, and like all such deals, you’re the junior partner.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 10:08 am

      Thanks for giving some examples. It’s best to take control of your destiny. Sorry to hear about Terri. Can she move to a better school? It sounds like any teacher can qualify for the loan forgiveness program. We need people like her, though.

  • Grise December 11, 2015, 6:44 am

    My daughter is finishing her under graduate with no debts, however, she is planing to attend law school and I will be paying for everything including housing as she goes. After reading this article, I am questioning my idea to pay versus her getting student loan. I have the ability to pay! Any subjection ?

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 10:10 am

      You should do some research. It depends on a lot of things. What field is she in? Will her career pay well? Will she work in the public sector or non-profit? You should talk to your daughter and see what she thinks. It would be great to graduate with no debt, though. Good luck!

      • Bryan December 11, 2015, 1:12 pm

        Never pay with cash for kids education. Let them get loans, then help them make the payments if you need to, and hope the debt gets forgiven.
        My plan is to put ALL money into an IRA, not 529, because did you know you can withdraw from an IRA penalty free to pay for kids education? That way you can use it for education or retirement, your choice. Also, I think the financial aid people look at 529 balances to deny financial aid but they DON’T look at parent’s IRA balances. This is huge. It’s all about working the system. I wish it weren’t so – I wish it were an honest system where hard work pays off. But as long as everyone else is free loading, why shouldn’t I. If I were super rich maybe I wouldn’t, but I can’t afford to pay for free loaders.

        • Conrad December 11, 2015, 2:50 pm

          “My plan is to put ALL money into an IRA, not 529, because did you know you can withdraw from an IRA penalty free to pay for kids education? That way you can use it for education or retirement, your choice. Also, I think the financial aid people look at 529 balances to deny financial aid but they DON’T look at parent’s IRA balances.”

          True, they won’t look at your IRA balances, but when you take an IRA distribution it will count as parental income on the kid’s FAFSA for the following year. IRA is ok as a last resort, but a 529 is still a better option here because distributions don’t count as income and colleges can only include about 5% of your 529 balance when determining need-based stipends.

  • freebird December 11, 2015, 8:17 am

    All my college and grad school expenses were covered by full freight scholarships, so I finished my doctorate with a positive net worth from not spending all my stipend income. I feel I’ve been paying it back (and then some) in the form of higher income taxes. So while I too am all for increasing access to secondary education, I’d rather see a different scheme, like something where student aid is carefully vetted (i.e. you have to qualify grade-wise and your major has to fill a national interest) and gets exchanged for a 20-year agreement to pay a higher income tax rate. This way the people who benefit the most from their education would repay the most (which helps offset income inequality) and the workforce gets nudged towards higher value-add training.

    As for how to justify subsidizing expensive private colleges, at least for undergrad there’s a cap in place that is below the public university cost, so in effect I think this policy is only not discriminating against the private schools. If aid were made available only to state colleges, it could widen the social rift between those who can afford the private school tuition and those who can’t.

    In any event I’d say the system we have today with typical student loan balances in the 30K range is a problem that needs fixing because those early years of repayments are a huge lost opportunity for building long-term retirement savings. And expecting everyone besides the wealthy to simply forgo advanced education is absolutely the wrong answer.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 10:15 am

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that better vetting would be a good idea. There should be a cap on loans for advance degree too.
      I don’t know about widening the social rift. I don’t think anyone should borrow such a huge amount to go to a private college. If your field is low paying, then why shouldn’t you go to the more affordable public college?
      The student loan debt is definitely a problem. Students need to learn more about the impact of taking out such large loans.

  • Mr. Benny @Stuff That Pig December 11, 2015, 8:23 am

    Let’s focus on Junior. You continue to save/frontload money and it doubles once or twice. Let’s say you get to packing him off to college and the account is worth $200k. There are a couple of scenarios:
    1. Junior is academically or atheletically gifted (or really good at finding and winning random scholarships) and has enough scholarship money to cover the large majority of college and doesn’t need your money. You pull your money out of the fund and have to pay some taxes. This is the best case scenario.
    2. Bernie wins and makes college “free” for everybody. I assume that the 529 money is going to have some sort of repatriation plan where you can roll it over to something (maybe an IRA???) Junior gets “free” college and you have extra money.
    3. You have to pay for Junior’s college. This diverges into two paths:
    a. You write checks from the 529 and he graduates with little to no debt. He’s now well on his way to early retirement and freedom. I see no downside.
    b. You decide you want the forgiveness ride and sentence Junior to 10 years of public service work or 20-25 years of income based repayment. (I wonder how this works if you earn no income.) One should note that at NO time could Junior pursue his dream of opening his own business if he’s in public service program and would struggle to in the income based program. In theory you could let the 529 money double again during the ten year period (50 >100 > 200 > 400) and figure out how to give him the $400k. If you made him work 20-25 years, it could double an additional 1-2 times making his fund worth $1-2 million.

    I totally understand the want to take advantage (I dislike this term because it sounds like something you didn’t earn but you did because you are a citizen.) of the loan forgiveness program but I think your best bet is to save the money and pay for his school. It’s the “safest” choice.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 10:17 am

      Wow, that’s a lot of scenarios. Thanks! I think the safest choice is to continue to save in the 529 too. We could always use the money to pay for Mrs. RB40’s PHD if he doesn’t need it. 🙂
      It’s better to have the money you don’t need, right?

    • Vivianne December 12, 2015, 5:15 am

      You guys keep referring the income base payment to be forgiven in 20-25 years, but I see a guy at work with $150k loan doing income base repayment and he says it only takes 10 years.
      According to the websites, you only need to make 120 consecutive monthly payment. 120 months = 10 years.

      He has it all worked out, he has 2 kids, his wife is a teacher, his job is paying well, so he sends his wife to graduate school, it takes a while, so his income will arbitrary low. He maxed out 401k, child care, wife tuition, housing deduction. His six-figure income available for income base assessments was probably in the low $30-50k, which makes the payment a super tiny.

      Anyhow, I had $100k when I graduated, I chose to pay $40k quickly because they were high interests. Then with the federal loan, I’m slowly making payment at 1.88%. It was 2.88% at first, then after so many consecutive payments, the interests rate went down.

      My parents were poor, so I didn’t have any problem getting financial aids. I borrowed extra, when I graduated, I had over $40k. There was 6 months grace period for some of the high interests loan to kick in, so I saved money from work to pay that off, while I still had that $40k leverage to make a down payment for a house if I wanted to. And I did.

      (Rich parents can be a punishment for kids who don’t receive any help from their parents). “Rich” sometimes just mean making above median income like $70k in some area. You get full ride to Yale, Hardward, Stanford if your parents make less than $125k. 🙂

      It’s all relative, and you can’t plan too too much in advance.

      • retirebyforty December 12, 2015, 3:51 pm

        Does he work in the public sector? As I understand, the 120 payments is for the PSLF program.
        I guess that’s the problem with income base. It’s based on AGI. It’s not an accurate measure of wealth.
        Anyway, good luck on your loan repayment. Thanks for paying back.

  • Brian December 11, 2015, 8:57 am

    Boom! Nice debate bomb. 🙂

    A couple of things to point out. One, public universities are not necessarily cheaper, they are just already being subsidized by taxpayers, so the tuition bills are often less expensive. Two, private universities get a lot of money from the government, even though they are “private.” Many or most could not operate without government money (this was at least true a long time ago when I was in college (I assume you can tell how old someone is by whether they refer to it as “college” or “undergrad”)). Also, presumably the reason you would subsidize education — public or private — is that it is a public good. I see no reason to discriminate between public or private education in this regard. It seems to make more sense to discriminate between types of degrees, wherever obtained. Subsidize teaching degrees over philosophy degrees.

    As for your kid, I’d keep saving. These rules could change. I’d be surprised if they didn’t.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 1:12 pm

      You’ve got a point. I assumed public universities are cheaper because they don’t have as much frills. Private universities probably get more alumni support as well. 14 years is a long time. I’m sure the rule will change.

  • LeisureFreak Tommy December 11, 2015, 10:27 am

    Its just like everything else going where enough people make choices that become a huge burden later and everyone else is just considered lucky for not have made the same mistake and needs to cover them. I couldn’t afford university so had to work and go the night school route to pay as I went and use some company tuition aid. It took me 15 years to get to my desired career goals. I paid for my kids education but had to limit it to Community College and paid nearly $600 a month for many years to pay it all off. I get it, some of the colleges have almost predatory tuition and combined with easy loans adds up to disaster for many. I only agree with loan forgiveness when it is matched with years of some kind of public service or if fraud by the accredited educational institution can be proven. Forgive this and next it will be means testing Social Security based on the size of your IRA and Roths regardless of your life’s income to subsidize the zero-net-worth retirees who made big money during their careers and refused to save.
    Keep saving for your son. We are saving a little something for our grand-kids but not in anything tied specifically to education so there are more options later.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 1:17 pm

      That’s what some of my friends did too. They went to night school to get their graduate degree. You do what you have to do, right?
      I think we probably need to narrow the meaning of public service a little. There are a lot of cushy jobs in the public sector too.

  • Justin December 11, 2015, 11:14 am

    Great post, and something I’ve pondered at length.

    Full disclosure: we have six figures of student loan debt at a fixed 0.75% interest rate and we are in zero hurry to ever pay it off. We’re actually in the Income Based Repayment plan right now and pay under $40/mo on this debt. In another couple decades (under current rules) the balance will be forgiven.

    It’s a strange program (not paying for what you get), but it is the system we have. I wonder if it wouldn’t be more fair to simply subsidize the education directly to a larger extent by making tuition cheaper/free and/or giving grants for subsistence living. Theoretically, we (as a society) are recapturing the gains from higher income in the form of our progressive taxation structure (HS grads typically pay in the 0% to 15% bracket; college grads quickly end up in the 15-25%+ brackets). Maybe tweak those brackets and skip the whole student loan shell game (and/or make the student loans closer to market rate without the income based repayment and subsidies).

    As for advice for my kids, it’s really tempting to tell them to max out all the student loans they can, stay in grad school as long as they can keep getting loans, and after 10-12 years of living it up, get some (any!) government job for a quick 10 year discharge of all that indebtedness. They should be able to save some of the student loan $ while in college, particularly if they can land a nice research/teaching assistant spot in grad school that pays a stipend and comes with free tuition. Perverse incentives… 🙂

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2015, 1:21 pm

      Oh man, you’re kidding… See, this program shouldn’t apply to people with large asset. You could afford to pay it off, but you’re choosing not to do so because it’s more optimal.
      I think making the tuition more affordable would be a much better approach.
      With 3 kids, it’s probably the best way to go. It would be tough to pay for a full ride. Hopefully, they’ll get some scholarship. It’s much easier with 1 kid.

      • Justin December 11, 2015, 5:49 pm

        I wish from a policy perspective that I was kidding!

        We intended to pay them off as slowly as possible since the rate is locked at 0.75% for 30 years. Then along came the IBR payment plan and debt forgiveness and I quickly realized we might never have to pay them off completely. Agreed – they should require more repayment.

        We’re hoping to have enough for each kid’s full tuition to in state schools (currently that’s a little over $30k total per kid). Then we expect to get a little grant or loan money on top of that to help with room and board. Maybe get a few scholarships, too.

      • Justin December 11, 2015, 5:51 pm

        Though I do wonder if we’re foolish for trying to pay their way and NOT encourage maxing out their loans for as long as possible and then getting them forgiven.

  • Bryan December 11, 2015, 1:16 pm

    This also reminds me of the mortgage forgiveness program of a few years ago. Infuriated me. All the slackers who bought big houses got some of their loan balance reduced while me, hard worker, didn’t get the same benefit. This country is turning into a hand out country. So I think the best solution is to look poor on paper. Pay off your mortgage and all debt so you can live on less income. Then reinvest income in an IRA so it isn’t taxable. Keep your taxable income as low as possible so the government and the colleges think you are poor. Then you qualify for all the goodies, meanwhile you really aren’t poor. Although I’m sure they will close this loophole and start factoring in net worth into goodie handouts. The only REAL solution is to just be poor, and live on others, until the system collapses. Or you can be smart and save and watch your wealth get syphoned off to the slackers. Lose Lose scenario. Am I missing anything?

    • Pennypincher December 11, 2015, 3:27 pm

      I agree w/Brian here. The mortgage forgiveness program really ticked me off too. Overheard the neighbors talking too loud on their phone once, saying to someone, “Don’t worry about it, just walk away from the mortgage if you have to”. Another neighbor on our block walked away from two mortgages, while flipping houses, before the real estate bust. At our expense! Losers and scammers, I say. What goes around, comes around. I believe in karma.
      Very smart of Mr. Benny to list several scenarios for you. Excellent idea. Just know that many state run schools are bankrupt, just like the states they are in. Many private schools have large endowments, and can be more generous w/free money to students in need. You have to determine if your kid is going to thrive and do his best in a large or smaller school.
      Meanwhile, gathering transfer credits at a nearby community college gives a student time to grow up and decide his career path.

  • Angie December 11, 2015, 2:32 pm

    I notice the verb “may” in both program descriptions above. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t feel right telling my son to take on tens of thousands of dollars in debt to finance an undergraduate degree. I’m glad we had the foresight to start saving and investing when I was pregnant. He’s now at a great state college and he will graduate with no debt as long as he maintains at least a 3.0 GPA (otherwise he has to start pay for everything himself).

  • Karin December 11, 2015, 10:51 pm

    Unbelievable. thank you for your well researched, fact based, insightful articles. Although I haven’t seen a comment in your blog about politics yet, my guess is your conservative economic mindset yet liberal geographic location creates some internal discourse. In short, No we should not be subsidizing private colleges! I like how you are able to identify the economic motivations behind individual/entity actions. Keep up the great work

  • Floyd December 12, 2015, 8:17 am

    Keep saving… just in case common sense once again returns to the land.

    • Joe December 12, 2015, 1:49 pm

      How about making colleges responsible for unpaid student loans instead of taxpayers. Shouldn’t they bear some responsibility if their graduates can’t earn a living? Check out some of these endowment funds. http://www.hughcalc.org/endow.cgi

  • No Nonsense Landlord December 13, 2015, 7:42 pm

    Like it or not, that is the wave of the future. If you do not have a job, you loan will be forgiven. If you are low income, you get free college. It seems to be the latest fad, students are ‘victims’ of the loan companies.

    And just think, all you have to do is join the military and you can get free college. ROTC and other programs make it free.

    • retirebyforty December 14, 2015, 9:59 am

      I completely support free college for the military personnel. They are serving our country and should have some help getting started in life.

  • connie December 14, 2015, 12:30 pm

    Yep great subject, I worked as I went to college and summers, I only needed to take out a small student loan towards the end, and when I got out of school, I paid off that loan first, I didn’t go buy a new car, and or other splurges when I graduated and got a job, I was taught young, no debt…it made me appreciate my education more and me working during college made me a much stronger work ethic as I got older. I don’t feel its right that the government wants us taxpayers to pick up the tab…just feeds into the mentality that you don’t have to work for what you want in life, just wait for the government to pay for it…and who is going to pay for this, us people that worked hard and payed for our own education and who are now ahead in life because we have worked hard to get there…

  • Tiffany June 15, 2016, 12:27 pm

    The article I copy below is pretty old, but I believe the law/outcome is still true:

    If you use income driven plans for 20-25 years, whatever amount you have forgiven is treated as taxable income for the year. While some might think they are getting away with a cheap deal (and you think you are partially subsidizing someone’s education), in the end that’s not always the case and they will have to foot a hefty tax bill. Not a lot of people know about this, which makes me even more irritated with the Department of Education: they don’t make this clear on any of their websites!

    You can check it out here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/your-money/for-student-borrowers-a-tax-time-bomb.html?_r=1

    • retirebyforty June 15, 2016, 2:34 pm

      Yes, I read this a while back. It makes a lot of sense. Paying the tax bill is still a lot cheaper than paying back the whole loan. Thanks for the link.

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