594: Student Loans

Do you have student loans? If given the chance, would you take them out again?


Full episode script

Pretty universally in the United States, say “student loans” and you’re likely to hear groans, perhaps a few tears, and a lot of opinions.

 

But the US is not the only place in the world that has student loans. While there are many countries that offer free or nearly-free post-secondary education, free tuition isn’t the rule everywhere — and even where it is, there is still a need for student loans of some kind. Many different countries handle this in different ways, though..

 

For example, in Australia, the entire student loan structure was recently re-worked, but still is a system that doesn’t require any repayment from students until after they earn more than AU$45,000 (roughly equivalent to US$29,683) per year, and payments are on a sliding scale, automatically deducted from an individual’s taxes. The average student loan debt in Australia is just over AUS$20,000, or about US$14,500.

 

Meanwhile, average debt in Canada and Sweden is currently sitting just slightly below that, while students in Germany, where tuition is free, owe an average of $2,400 for their education, in total.

 

In the UK, total student loan debt is sitting around $100 billion. As US News and World Report reported in 2018, quote:

Surveys of English graduates and students in recent years indicate that around a third express “buyer’s regret” over having taken out loans to earn degrees they now doubt will propel them into financially rewarding careers.”

 

Buyer’s remorse isn’t something just felt in the UK. In 2016, Business Insider reported, quote:

57% of millennial graduates regret taking out as many loans as they did, and 36% even said that they would not have gone to college if they knew how much it was going to cost them, according to a survey by Citizens Bank.

 

And given that the average debt per student who graduated in the US in 2016 was around $37,000, that number starts to make a lot more sense. With all of that, though, there’s also the paired statistic that Georgetown University found: only 36 percent of the job openings will not require education beyond high school by 2020.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.