YouthSpeaksOut!:YouthSpeaksOut! on College Debt and Stress 
Series: Title: Sub-title:
YouthSpeaksOut!  YouthSpeaksOut! on College Debt and Stress   
Producer: Program type: Broadcast Restrictions:
Dan Roberts  Specials  Contact producer for permission to broadcast. 
Summary: Featured speakers/guests:
YouthSpeaksOut! is a monthly program hosted by young people in Mendocino county California. 60 minutes. The hosts graduated from Willits High School, 2 of them this year and Eric from 2011. They discussed the student loan crisis, what they see as the purpose of college, and how much stress college students face. They are amazingly bright young men, well worth listening to.   YouthSpeaksOut! on the College, debt, stress, student loans 
Notes: Credits:
Today our topic is college debt and stress, stress and debt. As the cost of attending college has soared in the past two decades, many students find themselves taking out student loans. 37 million Americans have college debts to pay off, with the median balance owed being $12,800. 10 million Americans owe more than $25,000 each. Altogether Americans owe nearly a trillion dollars because they attended college. Total student loan debt is 20% more than all credit card debt, and 15% more than all auto loans.
The cost of college in the United States rose sharply for the 2011-2012 school year, continuing a multiyear pattern in which public school increases outpaced private school hikes and both eclipsed the average rate of inflation by significant amounts. The California state university and college system raised in-state fees by 21% at the four-year colleges and 37% for the two-year colleges. In the rest of the United States fees for public colleges rose 7%.
In France, college tuition is paid for by the government. While certain costs such as living expenses and books are generally paid by the students or their parents, a university education is seen as a right for anyone capable and so inclined. In Germany, public universities have tuition ranging from free to 500 Euros per semester. Public universities in Denmark, Finland and Sweden are all fully state-funded, though students may have to pay small fees, such as Student Union membership. Other major nations on the continent have tuition-free, state-funded universities as well, to varying degrees.
In an era of persistently high unemployment, family incomes that fail to keep up with inflation, savings that have been eroded by declining stock market values, and rising college prices, the majority of students in the United States completing a bachelors degree have taken on student loans. Student loans are easy to get and most students believe that they will be easy to pay back with the higher-paying jobs they will get because of their degrees.

In Mendocino county there are many people who owe money on student loans. Some are still attending college, some went to college a few years ago, some several decades ago. And once they stop attending college, they are all paying interest to banks for the apparent privilege of furthering their education. Many of them never saw an increased earning capacity because of their college degrees. Most of them are grateful that they attended college. All of them helped bail-out the banks in the past few years.

College loans are special- even if a person loses everything and files for bankruptcy, the college loans are never forgiven. A student debt strike campaign surfaced within the first few months of the Occupy movement's swell but gained only moderate traction and did not lead to collective acts of default. In Congress, Hansen Clarke has proposed the Student Loan Forgiveness Act. Over a million people have signed on in support of this bill, H.R. 4170. Borrowers would not have to make monthly payments greater than 10 percent of their discretionary income, could have debt forgiven after five years of participation in the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and more. There is a debate in Congress to freeze the interest rate at 3.4% for another year, rather than double it, as was proposed.

One thing that is clear from these facts is that many college graduates and students are stressed by debt. Everyone listening to this show knows someone who is struggling economically because they took student loans and have 5, 10, or 20 years of irrevocable indebtedness for their education. Students who are currently accumulating debt need to consider whether classes that will never earn any financial return are worth taking. Will studies in Humanities and creative arts become something only the children of the wealthy can explore?

First year college students rate their emotional health at record low levels according to a survey conducted by UCLA. Stress was found to be at a new high, due in a large part to worries over money and future debt. Three-fourths of college students see increased earning power as the most important reason for attending college. And with unemployment increasing in most fields, many question whether a degree chosen for economic reasons will pay off in terms of a career.

What we want to discuss today is College debt and stress, stress and debt. In high school most students are directed toward attending college. And more than 50% of the students who do enter college will be taking loans out to make it possible. Which means starting off adulthood in debt- a unique debt that can never be revoked. In contrast, most countries in Europe offer free or very low cost higher education- because the societies believe everyone gains by extending the intelligence of the population.

We will talk about college, debt, and stress for about 40 minutes, then we will open the phone lines for your ideas, experiences, and insights. We are in the Willits studio and our phone number will be 707 456-9991. Let's begin by discussing our educational plans and how we are going to achieve them.
Version 1: Broadcast Version  
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Transcript, Announcer Script Location Recorded Release Date Language
View Script  Mendocino County, California  07-01-2012  English 
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youthspeaksoutCollegeDeb  128Kbps mp3 (53.77MB) Mono 
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