Parking cars, mixing drinks and sweeping hallways may pay the rent. They wont pay off student debt.
Floridas utterly political decision a decade ago to fund two new law schools (at Florida International University and Florida A&M) had no relationship to the actual job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that U.S. law schools over the next decade will churn out four times more grads than we have lawyer jobs. Meanwhile, law school graduates, whether they have jobs or not, owe an average of $100,000 in outstanding student loans.
Theyve become the new credit bubble, these students. The decision in Florida and other states to shift the cost of higher education onto college kids and their families has created the potential of yet another debt crisis. Our college grads, like so many of those homes falling into foreclosure, are underwater.
Economists worry about defaults. And student loan defaults are escalating, particularly in Florida. The U.S. Department of Education reported that 19,279 people, the equivalent of 10.5 percent of the states grads in 2009, failed to start repaying their loans. The Sun-Sentinel reported that just last month, the feds filed three dozen lawsuits against student loan deadbeats or their unhappy parents who cosigned the loans. (Federal law wont allow student debtors to escape their obligations through bankruptcy.)
The outlook got only worse on Thursday, after the U.S. Senate, entangled in election-year politics, failed yet again to approve legislation that would extend the 3.4 percent interest rates now charged against most federal student loans. The senators gave up and went home for the Memorial Day weekend, making it likely that the future college loan interest rate the loan rate awaiting grads from Cypress Bay High School and their contemporaries will double to 6.8 percent. The big student debt burden will just get bigger.
So hello there students, you likely deadbeats. Welcome to Miamis gleaming white monument to debt. But dont condescend: Sure, Miami-Dade taxpayers may owe a fantastic amount on this baseball stadium, but theyll still pay off these bonds before you suckers get out from under your college loans.