Last Week Tonight

Yeah transferability is tough, particularly with semester vs quarter schools. Let’s look at Calculus as an example. I think the below is fairly typical:

Calc I: 5 hours
Calc II: 4 hours
Calc III: 4 hours
Total: 13 hours over 1.5 years
Quarter hour equivalent: 19.5 hours

Calc I: 5 hours
Calc II: 5 hours
Calc III: 5 hours
Calc IV: 5 hours
Total: 20 hours over 1.333 years
Semester equivalent: 13.333 hours

I think we can all agree that a student who had completed the full cycle of Calculus at either school should get full credit at the other. I mean quarters to semesters you’re losing 1/3 of 1 credit hour and semesters to quarters you’re gaining 1/2 a credit hour, but that’s just the breaks.

But what if the student is partway through the cycle? The courses break in different places! There’s just no good way to do it. I think in either direction you’re just going to lose credits and retake part of a course. Your best bet is to finish at a school that’s on the same quarter vs semester calendar as the one where you started and hope THOSE credits transfer.

I’ll add that I know some states have now mandated that all state schools follow the same calendar in terms of semesters vs quarters to facilitate easier transferring between state schools. That was not the case when I was in college, but I’m sure it helps a lot of people.

This would be virtually impossible to make work. Virtually everyone who takes loans for college is functionally bankrupt at the end of their schooling run (graduation or otherwise): No significant financial assets, great debts, and the only tangible asset is the promise of future income to be earned as indicated by their field of study.

I was this guy when I was a 21 year old college grad. But I got a job and paid my loans back.

Hence the restrictions. Like maybe … it’s not dischargeable for 10 years after your last college course.

And the usual stuff about having no realistic prospect for paying it off at that time.

Most people aren’t going to deliberately f*** up their future by tanking their income / job prospects / further studies for a full decade.

So if you go to school to be a brain surgeon they can’t look at discharging any of your student loans until you’ve been out of med school for 10 years. At that point you’ve finished residency and should have realistic job prospects making over $500,000 a year so the debt wouldn’t be dischargeable.

If you go to school and major in math and got your Associateship or Fellowship in the decade after graduation you’re already making 6 figures.

Even if you went to school to be a teacher, if your debt isn’t too excessive, by 10 years you’ll have your masters degree and should be making $50,000 or more in most cases and can pay it off.

If you never finished and have been working as a barista for the past decade then your debt can be discharged.

I see a cottage industry booming in the future, centered around hiding assets, perhaps overseas. If social security payments are contingent on showing no assets, then people will figure out ways to hide assets to get their SS. If people can discharge debts via showing no worth, then net worth hiding will become big business. It’s all a shell game. No that bank account is empty.

You also have to have low income and no realistic prospect for earning significant income.

Even 10 years post-graduation a brain surgeon might legit have no assets to speak of because IIRC it’s a 10 year residency. But they have the realistic chance of an extremely high paying job and thus their bankruptcy should be denied.

Will it be perfect? No. Will it be a helluva lot better than today? Yes.

BTW, I agree that means testing for Social Security is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea.

But this is pretty different, not least because it only affects a small segment of society rather than nearly every single member of it.

JO said that 13% of Americans have student loans.

The 2020 US censes concluded that 16% of Americans were age 65 or older.

So I don’t know what you mean by small segments or large segments of society.

I see loan forgiveness* and SS means testing as morally equivalent. The government is rewarding bad behavior and punishing people who act responsibly.

*I remove from my definition of loan forgiveness any person that participates in a program that is promised loan forgiveness for public service, teaching, military service, etc. If they were promised those loan discharges as part of the loan, and the borrowers fulfilled their end of the deal, then those loans should be forgiven. It was eye opening to hear from JO that those people were being denied the deals they signed up for.

I’m not in favor of loan forgiveness.

I want to make loans taken out after today dischargeable to force lenders to assess the creditworthiness of students instead of handing out massive loans like Halloween candy to students who have no hope of repaying them.

The gal who struggled to get Cs in high school and who has an 820 composite SAT score with the notion of becoming a school teacher should not be loaned $200,000 for college in the first place. We need to do something to prevent the absurd loans from being made in the first place.

And the loans should be privately funded with government assistance on the interest rate, so it is private investors left holding the bag when the student defaults and/or gets the loan discharged.

That’s depressingly high, but possibly accurate. I’m curious what proportion ever had student loans.

Right now. But I bet it’s north of 90% of American citizens who will at some point in their lives collect some form of Social Security (old age, survivor, disability), including a significant subset who die before turning 65.

This week on LWT, JO talked about food delivery services.
Lo and behold, one is closing.