• According to a recent article in The Guardian, as of April 2013, there were 1 million Americans whose student loan has topped six figures (Spencer, 2013)[1].
  • Graduate students now collectively owe as much as 40 percent of an estimated $1.3 trillion in outstanding student debt, according to the New America Foundation, even though they make up only 14 percent of university enrollment. [2]
  • Policy analyst Mark Kantrowitz of Fastweb.com and FinAid.org published the following statistics[3]:
  • 6% of Master’s degree recipients, 9.7% of doctoral degree recipients, 36.2% of law school graduates and 49.0% of medical school graduates graduated with six-figure debt.
  • Students with higher high school GPAs and admissions test scores are more likely to graduate from college with six-figure student loan debt.
  • Vice Magazine featured an article about students who were leaving the U.S. forever to get away from paying their student loans. [4] In one case, cosigner parents had to put their house into a friend’s name for fear that it would be taken away as a result of their son defaulting on his government student loan.
  • An article in The Washington Post tells of a man being arrested by the FBI in his home for failing to pay a student loan debt from 1987.[5]
  • Tragically, there are instances of six-figure debt leading to suicide.[6]
  • Researchers have shown that longstanding debt can have negative effects on physical and mental health.[7]
  • According to a 2014 Gallup poll[8], students who both have and formerly had student debt totaling $50,000 or more have a lesser sense of purpose, community, financial security, social support and decreased physical health. These five factors contribute to a measure of overall well-being, specifically referred to as “thriving rates” in the poll. What is most interesting about the poll, however, is that even older graduates who took out large student loans (and have likely paid it off already) continue to trail their debt-free peers by 13 points in terms of thriving rates.
  • Between 2005 and 2009, American Universities spit out 100,000 new Ph. Ds for 16,000 open teaching jobs.[9]
  • Investment Banking opportunities have long been on the decline, and the Financial Times reported that big banks in the US and Europe announced almost 100,000 new job cuts in 2015.[10]
  • A recent study from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling indicates that more people would be embarrassed to admit their credit score than their weight.[11]
  • According to an Associated Press–AOL health poll conducted in 2008,[12] 10 to 16 million people are “suffering terribly due to their debts, and their health is likely to be negatively impacted,” says Paul J. Lavrakas, a research psychologist who analyzed the results of the survey.[13]
  • Debt can exhaust us and trigger our Achilles heel, including depression, alcohol/drug abuse, crippling anxiety and self-doubt, low self-esteem, arrogance, relationship co-dependency, victim mentality, and ADHD.[14]
  • Recent articles in The Washington Post and elsewhere report that the growing student loan burden threatens to discourage, or even block a generation of potential buyers from purchasing their first home. [15]
  • In his book Solving the Wealth Puzzle, Anthony Deemer says, “One good definition of security is freedom from anxiety or fear. To have a real sense of safety and security, no matter how much money we have or do not have, we need:
    • enough good food to eat;
    • a home to shelter us and our family;
    • good health, which also means good healthcare;
    • safety and a sense of safety;
    • security for our old age, including healthcare and living conditions;
    • people who love and support us;
    • the ability to help others;
    • the desire to positively affect the world we live in;
    • to leave a legacy for our family and/or our community;
    • and to have enough possessions to make life easier.”[16]
  • Intern Bridge (a consulting firm that specializes in college recruiting) runs an annual survey of intern salaries. The survey shows that paid an unpaid interns had about the same distribution of GPA’s as of 2013[17]:
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment in apparel manufacturing has declined by more than 80 percent since 1990.[18] In 2014 the Motion Picture Association of America declared that box office sales growth had slowed to an increase of 18 percent between 2004-2013, down from a growth rate of 79 percent between 1994-2003. Magazine circulation and advertising revenue have been on the decline for years. Additionally, non-profit sectors are not held to the U.S. Department of Labor’s criteria for legal unpaid internships, and neither is the U.S. Government.[19]
  • Intern Bridge’s 2010 survey of 27,335 students found that students from high-income families were more likely to be found in paid internships with for-profit companies, compared to lower-income students who received paid internships at a significantly lower rate and were more likely to have paid internships with non-profits than high-income students. High-income students were less likely to be in paid internships with government agencies.[20]
  • In 2014, Forbes Magazine reported that people who had worked unpaid internships tend to take lesser paying jobs than those with no internship experience whatsoever, and are paid about a third less than counterparts who had worked paid internships.[21]
  • If you do an internship, be prepared to ask for at least the legal minimum wage in your area. Additionally, you should receive:
  • Detailed direction on the activities you’re assigned to
  • Tasks that help you learn about the business as well as pick up specific skills needed to function in that industry or profession.
  • Exposure to a wide range of tasks, and access to experienced people who will help broaden your skills
  • A pathway to full-time employment, OR time off to attend job interviews.
  • Mentoring from someone at the company
  • Evaluation at the completion of the internship.[22]
  • A 2015 study from the University of South Carolina looked at the link between student-loan debt and psychological function in 25-to-31-year-olds and currently enrolled students; and found that cumulative student loans were significantly and inversely associated with better psychological functioning.[23]
  • In 2014, CNN Money published the salaries of the top 25 highest paying companies for interns. Palantir, a private software company specializing in big data analysis, pays its interns a salary of $84,144 per year. Internet companies like Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and Google pay between $71,628 and $81,492; and Schlumberger, and oilfield services company, clocks in at the 25th position, paying its interns $55,608.[24]
  • Working abroad is pretty much a win, tax-wise, no matter how you slice it. If you are earning below $101,300 per year, you don’t have to pay any U.S. taxes and presumably have the extra disposable income to put towards your student loans. If you are earning say, $150,000 per year, the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion taxes off the first $101,300; making your adjusted gross income only $48,700. As of 2016, the marginal tax rate for an income of $48,700 is 25%, as compared to a marginal tax rate of 28%[25].
  • Income tax and living abroad:
  • Countries with NO Income Tax: The Bahamas*, Bahrain, Cayman Islands*, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (which include cities Dubai and Abu Dhabi), or the British Virgin Islands*.
  • Countries with 5% or less income tax: Guatemala, Bosnia, and Herzegovina
  • Countries with zero to 10% income tax, depending on the level of income: Bulgaria, Paraguay, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Mongolia
  • Countries with zero to 15% income tax, depending on the level of income: Macau, Russia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Hungary, Mauritius
  • Countries with zero to 25% income tax, depending on the level of income:  Belarus, Cambodia, Moldova, Egypt, Estonia, Isle of Man, Singapore*, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Nepal, Nigeria*, Serbia, Slovakia, Trinidad, and Tobago *

[1] Spencer, R. (2013, April 3). What’s it like living with six figures of student debt in America? The Guardian. Retrieved February 22, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/apr/03/student-debt-america-six-figures

[2] Marcus, J. (2014, November 4). The Real Student Debt Problem No One Is Talking About. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/3544912/graduate-school-loans-debt/

[3] Katrowitz, Mark. (2012, August 1). “Who Graduates College with Six-Figure Student Loan Debt. Student Aid Policy Analysis FinAid.org. Retrieved from http://www.finaid.org/educators/20120801sixfiguredebt.pdf

[4] Coggin, A. (2016, January 27). Https://www.vice.com/read/talking-to-american-debt-dodgers-who-moved-to-europe-to-avoid-paying-off-their-student-loans-111. Retrieved February 22, 2016, from https://www.vice.com/read/talking-to-american-debt-dodgers-who-moved-to-europe-to-avoid-paying-off-their-student-loans-111

[5] Douglas-Gabriel, D. (2016, February 16). U.S. Marshals arrested this man over a three-decade-old student loan. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/02/16/u-s-marshals-arrested-this-man-over-a-three-decade-old-student-loan/

[6] Lewin, T. (2012, November 11). Http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/business/some-parents-shouldering-student-loans-fall-on-tough-times.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/business/some-parents-shouldering-student-loans-fall-on-tough-times.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

[7] Sweet, E., Nandi, A., Adam, E., & McDade, T. (2013). The High Price of Debt: Household financial debt and its impact on mental and physical health. Social Science Medicine, 91, 91-94. Retrieved March 28, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3718010/

[8] Dugan, A., & Kafka, S. (2014). Student Debt Linked to Worse Health and Less Wealth. Gallup. Retrieved March 28, 2016, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/174317/student-debt-linked-worse-health-less-wealth.aspx

[9] Luckwaldt, J. H. (2014, December 1). Is a PhD Still Worth It? Retrieved February 29, 2016, from http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/is-the-phd-dead

[10] Noonan, L., & Arnold, M. (2015, December 13). Thousands More Bank Jobs Under Threat. Financial Times. Retrieved February 29, 2016, from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5b8c94e0-9f8f-11e5-8613-08e211ea5317.html#axzz41WM4pds0

[11] Arnold, C. (2014, May 2). 11 Ways to Raise Your Credit Score, Fast. Forbes. Retrieved March 2, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2014/05/02/11-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-fast/#10746ec17162

[12] AP-AOL poll, conducted March, 24 – April 3, 2008. See http://surveys.ap.org/ for full results.

[13] Associated Press. (June 9, 2008). “Debt Stress Causing Health Problems, Poll Finds.” Retrieved from http:// www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25060719/.

[14] Ettner, S. L., Maclean, J. C., & French, M. T. (2011). Does Having a Dysfunctional Personality Hurt Your Career? Axis II Personality Disorders and Labor Market Outcomes. Industrial Relations Journal (Berkely), January(50(1)), 149-173. Retrieved March 17, 2016.

[15] El Boghdady, D. (2014, February 17). Student Debt May Hurt Housing Recovery by Hampering First-Time Buyers. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 17, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/student-debt-may-hurt-housing-recovery-by-hampering-first-time-buyers/2014/02/17/d90c7c1e-94bf-11e3-83b9-1f024193bb84_story.html

[16] Deemer, A. (2009). Solving the Wealth Puzzle: The Rich Didn’t Get Wealthy in the Stock Market- You Won’t Either! Bloomington, IN: IUniverse.

[17] Weissmann, Jordan. “Do Unpaid Internships Lead to Jobs? Not for College Students.” The Atlantic. 19 June 2013. Web. 17 May 2016.

[18] U.S.A. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Spotlight on Labor Statistics. 2012. Web. 18 May 2016.

[19] LeCrone, Liz. “Unpaid Internships for Nonprofits: Lean In Joins the Controversy.” Looksharp. InternMatch, 15 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 May 2016. <https://www.looksharp.com/blog/unpaid-internships-for-nonprofits-hypocritical-or-necessary>.

[20] Gardner, Dr. Phil. “The Debate Over Unpaid College Internships.” Intern Bridge, Inc (2010): 2. Michigan State University. Web. 17 May 2016.

[21] Burger, Rachel. “Why Your Unpaid Internship Makes You Less Employable.” Forbes. 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 May 2016.

[22] “How to Spot a Good Internship.” Seek. 25 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 May 2016.

[23] White, Gillian B. “The Mental and Physical Toll of Student Loans.” The Atlantic. Hayley Romer, 2 Feb. 2015. Web. 26 May 2016.

[24] “25 Highest Paying Companies for Interns.” CNN Money, 2014. Web. 19 May 2016.

[25] “Income Tax in the United States.” Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2016.

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