Walter Hamilton writing for the LA Times:
College graduate heads-of-household under 40 with student debt have a median net worth of only $8,700, according to the analysis by the Pew Research Center. That’s a fraction of the $64,700 the same group without college loans is worth.
They’re not all drowning in student debt–the median student debt for this group is about $13,000–it’s that “because of the other loans they’ve taken out, the median total indebtedness of college graduates under 40 with student loans is $137,010…compared to $73,250 for their counterparts with no college debt.”
Skip college? No, says Hamilton, as I’ve noted elsewhere, the earnings premium for a college degree (the extra money earned by a graduate) continues to rise. A 2014 Pew study found that 25-32 year old college graduates working full-time are annually earning $17,500 more than their counterparts who hold only a high school diploma.
Read the whole thing. The upshot is that student debt can cripple you for a couple of decades, but not having a post-high school degree is also bad. Answer? Get the career training that’s appropriate for your interests and talents, but don’t go broke in the process. See chapters 7, 10, and 11.