Student debt is sky-high

Minnesota has the fourth highest post-grad average student debt in the U.S.

Daily Editorial Board

A report recently released by the Project on Student Debt reflects the abysmal realities of Minnesota college graduates and the recent trend of MinnesotaâÄôs waning support for public higher education.

From the fourth highest average student debt upon graduation âÄî an average of $29,058 âÄî to the fifth highest percentage of students graduating with debt at 71 percent, MinnesotaâÄôs drift away from affordable higher education cannot be simply dismissed from public discourse. The access to post-secondary education should remain important.

With Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, becoming director of the Office of Higher Education, the public conversation needs to center on the fastest-growing type of personal debt in the country. Young Americans have the potential to pull us out of economic stagnation if we give them the chance.

Our society does not merely encourage but basically compels many young individuals to get a college degree, which invariably means taking on debt. We think that it is a bad idea for 18-year-olds to have credit cards, yet we pile on $30,000 of debt and dim job prospects onto hordes of 22-year-olds.

The average Minnesotan college-hopeful ought to understand that society is presenting a double-edged sword. Odds are students will spend years or decades paying down debt that they are told they must take on if they want a high-paying, fulfilling job.

No practical solutions have been proposed to this dilemma, and the general public doesnâÄôt seem to care about studentsâÄô undeniable plights. Suffocating amounts of debt should not be the price for doing what society tells us we need to do to be successful.