How and why to default on your student loan

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Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.

That is maybe the most sanctimonious way one could say, “I stole money.”


Defaulting on a loan isn’t stealing.


He specifically decided not to repay money that he had agreed to pay. What would you call it?

Depends on which side of the loan you are on…




I’d call it “not returning Guy de Maupassant’s Necklace.”


Fuck yeah. I wish more people stole money from these hucksters that suck in 18 and 19 year old kids into their game. Yeah, I want to rely on the good financial sense of barely adults who then acquire debt that they literally spend the next 20 years paying off. Fuck predatory lending.

I feel the same thing about the shills who constantly try to get college students to take credit cards.


A wise decision.


The problem being those businesses have the finical ability and government backing to crush any individual who stands up to them. Even a large group of individuals will not be able to stand against the tidal wave of shit that will be hurled their way.

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Why not take a page from Cory’s book an not have a student loan in the first place? As in not bother attend college.


Because for the vast majority people, that limits your career options significantly. Every study shows that people who graduate college, on average, do much better financially than those that don’t. The world is full of working class workers with little education with no jobs. You don’t want to be one of them. Most white collar jobs won’t even interview you without a college degree.


Seems like the author of the essay doesn’t have a monopoly on sanctimony.


When the system is rigged, sanctimony is all we have left in our arsenal. That, and defaulting on student loans.


Do you have a specific example, or should I get out my cliché bingo card?

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Look at any student loan agreement. Does the college guarantee the student an education that will permit them to get a job that will pay off the loan? No. It’s terribly imbalanced.

I think that every student who took out a student loan with the approval of the school, then was unable to get a job in the field they were educated for, should default on their loans. Then the system would only grant loans to students that would be likely to be employable, thereby spreading the burden.


The easier it becomes to take on massive amounts of debt in order to purchase a specific product, the more quickly the price of that product will rise, often to levels several times in excess of its inherent value.

We learned this about stocks in 1929, and about houses in 2007-8. We will learn it about college tuition at some year in the near future.


This will be the next big economy crash. The banks are pulling that same shit they did with the home loans. And again no one will go to jail.


The college promises an education; finding a job is up to the person who receives that education.

Also, the individual student chooses his or her major. There are majors that promise high-paying jobs (say, petroleum engineering) and there are those that don’t (say, film studies).

You can’t claim “the system is rigged” because a university doesn’t smooth a path through life for you.


And of course John and Jane Taxpayer will be the bagholders. Wait till we hear the politicians wail that it will be the End Of Civilization As We Know It if the banks holding student loans are not bailed out.