www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-college-debt-letter-20121218,0,1720098.story

baltimoresun.com

Cap student loans to earnings potential

2:00 PM EST, December 18, 2012

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The United States is in a debt crisis across the board. The leadership in Washington refuses to do what we elected them to do which is make the hard and intelligent decisions for the population. That requires actually leading from the front and not behind. Instead, the politicians take polls and point fingers.

The housing industry that has driven the economy for 50 years is still mired in foreclosed homes and homeowners who are underwater with no way out.

Student debt keeps rising due to ever higher college and university costs. Students are pursuing degrees that have less and less value added in the work place. To address this, I would like to suggest that college loans in the future be limited to the future earnings potential of a student's planned degree.

If you are pursuing a degree program with average earnings of $30,000 per year, for instance, then the limit of your college loans should total not more than $30,000. This will encourage students to evaluate their choices early in their careers before they are overloaded with debt and have little income to pay back the loan that cannot be written off through bankruptcy.

It would also encourage students to look to low-cost alternatives to getting a degree such as a two-year community college instead of spending all four years at a four-year university. It will put pressure on the colleges to contain costs and to be more realistic about the degree programs they offer.

Allowing young students unlimited college loans is tantamount to making them slaves to those loans for the rest of their lives. We owe our young people a better life than that. We need to limit college loans just like we limit home mortgages to protect the borrower.

Doug Celmer

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