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What's Wrong with Obama's Student Loan Policy in a Single Chart

11:45 AM, Nov 3, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Via the Twitter feed of Fareed Zakaria, a brief snapshot into the terrifying future of higher education. Currently, more American students are majoring in visual and performing arts than engineering:

Despite this, Obama just doubled down on the federal government's backing of student loans, limiting payments to ten percent of a person's income above the poverty levels and absolving student debt altogether after 20 years. Aside from the general problem of government-backed loans artifically inflating tuitition costs, it might be time to use student loan policy to incentivize students into getting a degree that might be more beneficial to taxpayers and society as a whole.

Nothing against students majoring in visual arts/liberal arts, but clearly we have a relative shortage of engineering and hard science majors. Part of the reason why students seem to be less practically-minded about their education than in the past might well be that favorable government loans have made it easy to disregard the earnings potential of your chosen degree. The comparion to the distribution of majors among international students seems to suggest that's the case.

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