Aug 11, 2010
by Krista Purcell, '08
Alumnus attempts to make sense of college debt After hitting the hard reality of post-graduation debt, alumnus Logan Abrams, ‘03, decided he would not only figure out how to manage the financial burden, but also write about its impact.
“Debt-U: How Higher Education Breeds a Lifestyle of Debt” is Abrams’ attempt to make sense of how college students are racking up debt without even realizing it.
Abrams’ interest in the subject of debt and finance started in college when he realized he and his classmates had no personal finance education throughout high school. Abrams, like most college students, was making financial decisions without understanding the consequences of his actions.
“I realized that although we could balance the books for a Fortune 500 company, most of the students probably couldn’t balance their checkbooks,” he said.
According to Abrams’ “Debt-U,” the average rise in college tuition over the past 10 years is more than 100 percent.
“As demand increases, so does the price,” he said.
Although Flagler’s tuition compares at less than half of the national average, some students will still get burdened with loans. Abrams’ advice starts with just understanding what you are doing.
He also says students should work during school, not only to keep the debt levels down, but also for the work experience.
“It will pay dividends in the future,” he said.
He also suggests staying away from private loans if possible. Stick with government-backed loans, he said.
“But my main advice in the book is for students to live cheap! Be poor! It is the best opportunity in your life to not spend a lot of money,” he said. “And it will help your financial future possibly more than anything else in college.”
Abrams said the biggest stressor for students coming out of college is how they cope with their massive student loans and credit card debt. This stress is known as Post Graduation Stress Disorder, and it is affecting more college grads every day.
“Some of the symptoms include financial- or debt-related stress or depression, feeling of inadequacy, hopelessness or anxiety related to debt bills or personal finance,” he said. “It also relates to not getting the job ‘promised’ or expected coming out of college.”
What advice does Abrams have for alumni dealing with similar problems?
“Understanding that it will take a long time to become financially independent, and hard work and financial responsibility are going to be difficult,” he said. “There is no quick, easy answer.”Tagged As