DLW is an occasional blog about how people spend the time of their lives (every moment) to enable health, balance, meaning and fulfillment. As a blogspot about doing, it draws from personal stories and from studies of everyday living. It's main idea is that to be well, people must be involved fully in what they do. The activities that occupy our days help to connect us to the world, define who we are, and keep us healthy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

On College Debt and Life Choices

Those who have inveterate needs to watch certain TV shows will understand the roots of this post. One of my weekday routines is to watch the PBS broadcast "The Jim Lehrer Newshour"; which is recorded and awaiting my review when I get home from work.

Tonite, there was a segment on college student debt. This happens to be one of my special interests because I have two sons who are of college age, and because I am convincd the future of our economy (and hence, country) depends on having a well educated, globally competitive workforce.

As a former academic, I am well aware of the costs of higher education in the US , and of the relentless increases in tuition and fees that have occurred since 1980. These increases have outstripped changes in the median family income by 3:1; creating a growing and disturbing resemblance between this country and those where only a rich and fortunate few can afford to attend university.

Yet, despite this, middle class students, who often do not qualify for subsidized loans, are willingly borrowing from public and private lenders to finance their education. One imminent graduate, Ian Wetherall from U Mass Boston, was interviewed for the segment and gave a simple, wise reason for his willingness to incur debt: The alternatives are unacceptable, the value of being able to do what you want to do is priceless. Ian, a philosophy major, may be wiser than many, but his remarks seemed to suggest that his viewpoint was pretty common.

The choice is difficult, but the benefis are clear. Perhaps today's young people, having seen the trade-offs (and unhappiness) resulting from their parents' drive to accumulate wealth while toiling in jobs they loathed have learned an important vicarious lesson. Life is something that happens to us while we are busy making plans for the future.

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About Me

I am a writer, lifelong student, former academic and new blogger. My passion continues to be everyday living. I am interested in what people do, how, when and why they do it, and what it means for their their understanding of the world and hence, their well being.