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Think Out Loud

The Lasting Influence Of Student Debt

Pete Springer/OPB

Comedian Ian Karmel recently wrote about his college experience in his Portland Mercury column, lamenting the debt he owes as well as some of the choices he made about what to study. He writes,

I took the fun classes. I pursued my interests rather than my best interests.

Karmel is certainly not alone. Tuition is on the rise and student loan debt is right along with it. Oregon State University professor Richard Settersten cites this as one reason why students need to consider their debt load before they choose what to study or even whether or not college is for them.

Of course, it’s not only college students who are saddled with the pressure that comes with student loan debt. Cost, and the debt associated with it, can heavily influence decisions about whether or not to continue on to medical or graduate school. And lingering debt can also affect employment and financial decisions long after graduation.

Has student debt influenced your decisions? Did you forgo college or graduate school because of the cost? If you are in debt because of student loans, how much do you think about that on a daily basis? How has it influenced your life since graduation?

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