The explosive growth of student loan debt is troubling for a variety of obvious and not so obvious reasons. More needed attention is being drawn to higher education and questions are being sharply directed at the way college education is financed. The bubble in higher education has similar parallels to the bubble experienced in housing.
Owning a home is a good thing and has been part of our national identity for close to a century. Yet during the mania very few questioned the method of financing this otherwise solid financial investment. It all depends on how you finance the purchase.
The same dilemma is occurring with pursuing a college degree. Very few will argue that going to college is a bad idea. Knowledge is power as we all know. Yet is it necessary to go to a school just because they added a $10 million Olympic sized pool? The additional bells and whistles are similar to the peak bubble days in California where sellers tried to convince buyers that the new whirlpool and granite counter tops added tens of thousands of dollars in value. Value by what standard?
Most of the mania was fueled by easy access to debt greased by Wall Street and backed by the government. The fact that we are approaching $1 trillion in student loan debt is staggering.