Acton Institute Powerblog

Student Debt and the Value of an Education

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“Despite the mounting cost and swelling debt,” notes Laura Prejean in this week’s Acton Commentary, “America’s demand for education, particularly higher education, has not decreased, defying typical market expectations.”

This is what economists call inelastic demand, when people continue to buy a good or service regardless of an increase in prices. Though the post-recession job market is still difficult, growing student debt ought not to lead us to forget the dignity — and responsibility — of each individual student. When prices for goods and services rise, consumers often make sacrifices and adjust their spending. For example, as gas prices rise, families use carpooling or more efficient routes to and from the grocery store. But what are students sacrificing when they join the immovable market for education? Are they considering less costly options with lower tuition, or do they unthinkingly take out student loans, falling into serious debt as they enter their twenties?

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


  • Only18Powers

    Learn the basic financial lesson of the book “Richest Man in Babylon” before going to college or congress

  • Only18Powers

    Teach your employees to budget their income & payoff their debt. The congress can NOT “write off” their debt interest. Tax
    payers get NO THING in return for debt interest.

  • Only18Powers

    New Grads…Don’t do what congress does, instead use SOME of every $ of your income to payoff your debt until its gone.
    Teach your employees in congress NOT to buy stuff they don’t already have the money to pay for. Its WRONG to dump more 30yr treasury bombs on the children.