Billionaire to pay off $40 Million college debt for Morehouse College class of 2019

ronandannette

I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!
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May 4, 2006
I'm going to comment on a bunch of these in bold inside your post because I think your post brings up many interesting points I want to address - I'm not trying to pick on you or change your words! Readers please note I'm inserting my thoughts, not changing hikergirl's words.
Your comments aren't quoted here but the one I'm referring to is: "I do, and I have opinions when it comes to wiping out any consequence that might come with their decisions." (See Post #59 to confirm I have not changed the wording.)

I understand but here's the thing with philanthropy or in it's less grandiose form, charitable giving - at a certain point one simply has to decide to give with an open heart and open hands, or not give at all. There's really no way to evaluate every recipient's merit closely enough, or to really know for sure you're doing only good and never any harm. We've discussed it here in many forms from giving change to panhandlers on up to donating to large organizations.

One thing other posters have correctly noted is none of these students had any clue they would be "bailed out" at any point. The decisions they (or their parents) made about financing their educations were made believing they indeed would be bearing any and all consequences.
 

Searc

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Joined
Aug 12, 2018
I think education about good decisions is what helps people do the best they can.

I think we have done a huge disservice to our young people not teaching them about how to use credit and take out loans wisely. The fact that the bank system allows and encourages people to take out loans that will be impossible for them to fulfill is abhorrent to me. We need to have affordable educational options available. We need to have low interest loans available for education. The problem IMO is a lot bigger than simply wiping out the loans for people who took them out. We need to educate and encourage people to seek the options that work for their circumstances. I am not wealthy enough to take out a 200K loan for an undergrad education, very few people are. Why do we seem to have so many people who do it? (I don't know anyone personally who has taken out this much in undergrad loans so that's why I say "seem to.")

The person in the example had even done the math and determined paying off the loans would take half his income for the next 25 years and he still did it. How are people not horrified by that?

Honestly that student stood out in the story to me more than the rich benefactor because I find it so horrifying. What about all the students who don't have a benefactor and have done as this student did?

Was the benefactor generous? Yes. But to me there's so much more to this story. Part of it is that I would have been in that audience thinking "why the heck didn't I take loans?" and that's exactly what bothers me about this. That's the last thing I should be thinking. The goal should be NOT to have to take out an exorbitant amount of loans. In life, I believe what gets you ahead is living within your means. As a society we don't want to do that. We want windfalls rather than solutions that make living within one's means possible for more people.
You can educate all you want. It does not mean people will automatically make good or right choices.
 

Hikergirl

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Joined
Feb 28, 2016
I'm going to comment on a bunch of these in bold inside your post because I think your post brings up many interesting points I want to address - I'm not trying to pick on you or change your words!
I have no idea why they choose to do it, I'm sure there are so many different individual reasons that it can't be a simple answer.
I definitely hold students responsible for any decisions they make, and I don't believe in gov't stepping in to forgive loans at the taxpayers expense.
I do think it is wonderful that a private citizen chooses to help by paying off their debt, and I hope it is a case where these students pay it forward in some way.
 
  • disykat

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    Jun 5, 2000
    You have a good point, ronandannette, and I certainly agree that there are many different viewpoints about how philanthropic giving is done. I've been giving my viewpoint. I would not have chosen to give how that particular giver did. I don't agree that it's sometimes all or not at all. I think most people give based on their own belief systems of what is right and what is important.

    The particular philanthropist in this instance gave as he pleased and no one has said that's not his right.

    My strong opinions come from the 200K student mentioned as the example of the recipients and the many people I've run across over the last few years that seem to believe people shouldn't be held accountable for student loans. (Not saying anyone said that in this thread, saying that has been my experience.) People tend to use those extreme examples when they talk about the plight of the mired in debt college students. I find it much easier to be sympathetic to those with less than 80K and wouldn't personally have supported my own kids going beyond 30K.
     
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    QueenIsabella

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    Jan 17, 2016
    If you read the article, the young man with the $200k debt had different relatives co-sign in different years, to allow him to borrow so much. Clearly he (and they) thought about this long and hard, and decided that the 25 years of peanut butter sandwiches would STILL make all that debt worthwhile. This sort of funding style--pooling resources to get the family's best shot a college degree--is fairly common among first-generation college students. Frankly, I'd rather see a guy like that get his loans forgiven than some of these whiny articles about women's studies or journalism majors who rack up tons of debt that they have no hope of paying off. This young man has a business degree now--I would love to read about him in 40 years, paying it forward to other new grads.
     
  • elaine amj

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    Jan 26, 2012
    If you read the article, the young man with the $200k debt had different relatives co-sign in different years, to allow him to borrow so much. Clearly he (and they) thought about this long and hard, and decided that the 25 years of peanut butter sandwiches would STILL make all that debt worthwhile. This sort of funding style--pooling resources to get the family's best shot a college degree--is fairly common among first-generation college students. Frankly, I'd rather see a guy like that get his loans forgiven than some of these whiny articles about women's studies or journalism majors who rack up tons of debt that they have no hope of paying off. This young man has a business degree now--I would love to read about him in 40 years, paying it forward to other new grads.
    His mother did mention she hoped he would now be able to help his younger siblings.
     

    Allison

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    Oct 27, 2005
    I haven't repeated everything I've said in every post, but I've been very clear in the majority of my posts I'm talking about the 200K loans situation. While I didn't address it specifically in the post everyone is quoting me on as if I'm saying all debt is bad, if you read my other posts you will see that is not my opinion. I would go back into that post and clarify, but I know how that goes on the DIS. I stand by my opinion that 200K of debt is not representative of a a needy student sacrificing their all for an undergrad degree.
    And I stand by my opinion that what you think is not representative is incorrect. These are likely students who have parents that don't have cash to pay for college outright. They are probably working in addition to going to college to help support their family and sending money back home. More students do that than i think people realize.

    Do I think it is a good idea? No, I think it is extreme and there are other valid options.
     
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    bananasplitkids

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    Nov 9, 2009
    I was watching this live and was so excited for all of my Morehouse brothers (I graduated from the sister school next door, Spelman) when I heard him mention it. I know this will be a life changing experience for these men and I hope it inspires them to pay it forward, which I heard many of the students plan to do.
     
  • bananasplitkids

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    Nov 9, 2009
    I am glad he asked the students to pay it forward...and I sure hope many take him up on it! What an amazing gesture!
    I hope they do too. Oprah did something similar back in the 90s, where she started a scholarship fund that helps pay the schools cost for students attending Morehouse. I remember when her show ended those same students surprised her and they pledged $300,000 to the school that would in turn help current students at Morehouse. That scholarship is still available today.
     

    jrmasm

    Last time I checked, it was still
    Joined
    May 20, 2000
    I know nothing of the caliber of Morehouse (or American universities in general really) but a quick google search turned up the average cost of undergrad tuition AFTER student-aid is $33,000/year. Perhaps Finance is an unusually expensive faculty or maybe that student was ineligible for student-aid. :confused3

    :scared: Personally, I'm breaking out in a rash just thinking about it. DS will enter a very respectable local university in September; his first year will be spent in Open Studies which is a requirement for a 4 year Bachelor of Social Work. The tuition alone, not including books or living expenses is less than $7,000/year. He's taking loans and living at home and will work part-time to fund his car and "life". Worst-case scenario he graduates a little less than $30,000 in debt for the entire thing.

    And then you need to add room and board. Private colleges are incredibly expensive.
     

    aprilgail

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    Nov 10, 2001
    And then you need to add room and board. Private colleges are incredibly expensive.
    My daughters college is 70,000 a year including housing- it is crazy what colleges cost- they were very generous with financial aid which allowed her to attend there!
     

    soccerdad72

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    Oct 23, 2012
    Students can not take out that much at the undergrad level. If I'm not mistaken, the max they can take out a year is 20K.
    There really is no limit when you factor in private loans. There are limits on federal student loans, however. It varies by year and whether or not the loans are subsidized or unsubsidized.
     

    Hikergirl

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    Feb 28, 2016

    luvsJack

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    Apr 3, 2007
    Those 2 extra years explains why he has so much debt.
    It definitely does.

    The very best choice is to not have extra years but life happens. I guess the options were to quit in 2017 and waste the money he had already spent and would still have to pay back or to continue and graduate and add to the debt. Tough decision, but happily he made the right one.


    According to collegesimply, as an out of state student, 6 years of full time status with room and board would be about $160,812. So with $200,000 in debt that only left $40,000 over 6 years to live on. 6700 per year or 558 a month.
     
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    kaytieeldr

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
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    Jun 11, 2005
    I'm just not as mature as all of you, apparently. I don't feel like those students will necessarily experience what mine did. Will they experience working from the time they turned 16 up until and during college, will they experience giving up vacations, not studying abroad, their parents having sacrificed and saved since they were born, not picking their first choice schools, not having vehicles, living as cheaply as they can?
    Yes, of course. Why do you think they didn't? Make all these sacrifices and more? This grant was bestowed unexpectedly to the Morehouse Class of 2019. They worked. They studied. They missed trips, vacations, studying abroad, they may or may not have gone to their first choice school (exactly like many, many, nany other college etudente.
     

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