Friday, June 17, 2011

College Students Find Debt "Empowering"

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM

The New York Times money blog reported yesterday that college students today view student loans and credit card debt as "a positive signal about their potential future earnings" rather than as a burden. As a college sophomore, I don't see why this is a bad thing — I might be living in a cardboard box after I graduate, but at least I'll have high self-esteem.

Here's more on the study's findings:

Debt has become a way of life for American college students. The average student loan debt among graduating college seniors was more than $23,000 in 2008, according to In addition, the student lender Sallie Mae says the average graduating senior with at least one credit card had $4,138 in debt on the card.

Yet, instead of feeling stressed about owing all that money, many students actually feel “empowered,” says a new study from Ohio State University, based on an data collected for the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The study, published in the journal Social Science Research, surveyed 3,079 students, the majority of whom were in their early- to mid-20s.

That’s right. The more college loans and credit card debt that young adults age 18 to 27 have, the higher their self esteem — and the more control they feel they have over their lives. They tend to view debt positively, rather than as a burden.

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