Beginning this weekend – thousands of Hawaii college students will be graduating… from local colleges and universities and all over the Mainland. It's a time for celebration and optimism.
But sadly many of these new graduates will begin their careers with a burden that could change the entire trajectory of their lives. Most will leave college with tens of thousands of dollars in debt – some in the six figures.
These loans cause many grads to rush their career decision – because they want to attack the debt immediately. Others will pay the minimum… and damage their credit rating… weaken their buying power for a home…and even delay starting families.
This problem has grown dramatically as federally-guaranteed loans mean colleges don't carry the risk if their graduates default – and they have dramatically raised tuition – as direct government support to colleges is reduced.
It's time to acknowledge that the high hopes that inspire young people to seek the best in higher education creates an unfair burden on them and on our overall economy.
The issue is complicated but let's start the discussion by agreeing kids are often paying too much for college… and that's a problem that must be addressed.