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He racked up $1 million in student loans to go to dental school. Will he ever pay it back?

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他燒錢讀碩士 背百萬學貸 每天還增130元

(World Journal) 編譯陳韻涵

37歲的牙齒矯正專科醫師梅魯(Mike Meru)砸下鉅款投資教育,截至上月24日,肩上背了106萬945元學貸債務;他每月償還1589.97元仍不夠付利息,所以他就讀南加州大學牙醫學院碩士班的學費,過去七年來每天以130元的數額增加。未來20年,他的貸款餘額將增至200萬元。



YouTube Video

Mike Meru - $1 Million in Student Loans

Published on May 29, 2018

RTD News keeps you up to date on what's happening around the globe. Thanks for watching this important update, "Mike Meru - $1 Million in Student Loans".


南加大牙醫學院院長沙丹(Avishai Sadan)說:「這是學生的選擇,我們並未強迫。學生自知選讀此科系很燒錢。」


華府研究組織「都市研究中心」(Urban Institute)調查發現,牙醫學費是私立非營利學校中最貴的,2015-2016年學費平均每年7萬1820元。南加大的牙醫系每年約9萬1000元,若加上生活費則將增至13萬7000元。






Mike Meru racked up $1 million in student loans to go to dental school. Will he ever pay it back?

Perhaps you read Josh Mitchell's story in the Wall Street Journal about Mike Meru, who took out $600,000 in student loans to go to dental school at University of Southern California. Due to fees and accrued interest, Meru now owes $1 million.

How did that work out for Dr. Meru? Not too bad actually. He's now working as a dentist making $225,000 a year. He entered an income-based repayment plan (IBR), which set his monthly payments at only $1,590 a month. If he makes regular payments for 25 years, the unpaid balance on his loans will be forgiven.

But as WSJ's  Josh Mitchell pointed out, Dr. Meru's payments don't cover accruing interest, which means his student-loan debt continues to grow at the rate of almost $4,000 a month. By the time, Dr. Meru completes his 25-year payment obligations, he will owe $2 million. Although this huge sum will be forgiven, the IRS considers forgiven debt as taxable income. Dr. Meru can expect a tax bill for about $700,000.

The student-loan program's many apologists will say Dr. Meru's case is an anomaly because most people borrow far less to get their postsecondary education. In fact, only about 100 people owe $1 million dollars or more. But 2.5 million college borrowers owe at least $100,000; and even people who borrow far less are in deep trouble if they drop out of school before graduating or don't land a good job that allows them to service their loans.

Here are the lessons I draw from Dr. Meru's case:

First, income-based repayment programs are insane because student debtors make payments based on their income, not the amount they owe. Dr. Meru's payments are set at $1,590 a month regardless of whether he borrowed $100,000, $200,000 or $600,000.  Thus, IBRs operate as a perverse incentive for students to borrow as much as they can, because borrowing more money doesn't raise the amount of their monthly payments.

Second, IBRs allow professional schools to raise tuition year after year without restraint because students simply borrow more money to cover the increased cost. USC told Mr. Meru that dental school would cost him about $400,000, but USC increased its tuition at least twice while Meru was in school; and Meru wound up borrowing $600,000 to finish his degree--far more than he had planned for.

Does USC feel bad about putting its graduates into so much debt? Apparently not. Avishai Sadan, USC's dental school dean, said this: "These are choices. We're not coercing. . . You know exactly what you're getting into." By the way, Dr. Sadan got his dentistry degree in Israel: and I'll bet it cost him a lot less than $600,000.

And here's the third lesson I draw from Dr. Meru's story. The student loan program is destroying the integrity of professional education.  As I've explained in recent essays, the federal student loan program has allowed second- and third-tier law schools to jack up tuition rates, causing graduates to leave school with enormous debt and little prospect of landing good jobs.

A medical-school education now costs so much that graduates are forced to choose the most lucrative sectors of the medical field in order to pay off their student loans. That is why more and more general practitioners are foreign born and received their medical training overseas, where people don't have to borrow a bunch of money to get an education.

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