Super low or even low loan rates can sound like a deal.
My daughter: “Mom, I saved $200 on these boots. They were only $150 dollars.”
It’s her money and she’s a sharp girl, if a little too fond of flashy boots. But many people respond to deals this way. I can easily hear a similar young woman saying, “And the interest rate is only 3.8%. I saved so much money!”
Then year by year, this same girl will “save” money as she tacks another ten or fifteen thousand onto her debt.
Kids take loans out without thinking. Parents obligate themselves without thinking. They don’t necessarily run the numbers to find out what will be coming at them in a few years.
Students and their parents need to run those numbers and ask themselves a few pertinent questions: What is the job market for dance majors? How much are loan payments likely to be? How much money will I have to make to pay that loan back? Higher loan rates are likely to stimulate thinking that does not happen nearly often enough.
Eduhonesty: The U.S. government is selling college to America’s students. They want to keep the loan rates down to encourage college enrollment. But legislators and members of the Department of Education don’t pay the loan debts they facilitate. They don’t forgive them either.