Flunking Responsibility

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Recently The Wall Street Journal reported that in a survey of 347 colleges and vocational schools more than half of the students have not paid back any of their student loans.

Read that again-over half who took strings-attached money with full knowledge that they were asked to act like bondafide grown-ups paid back zero on their debts. Zip. Nada. Bupkis.

This majority contingent of students treated someone else’s money as they probably treated “love money” from Mom and Dad, that is, assuming they had a Mom and Dad who had no concern about instilling integrity and responsibility in their children.

Some charitable hearts out there might think, “well, perhaps the survey is skewed to recent grads who hadn’t found their place in the job market yet and were getting started with their professional lives and once on a bit of firm ground these diligent young people would then buckle down and exercise good character and show the world that they were ready to shoulder adult responsibility and pay back money offered in good faith.”

Oh, if only that were true.

The WSJ reports that this zero pay back from over half of student loan recipients is tabulated after seven years. That’s seven years after graduation, or at least after leaving the institution of choice where you handed over someone else’s money for your edification and bootstrapping in the world these “adults” still shrugged and thought, “Nah, I’m not gonna make an effort here.”

Seven years after graduation, or seven years after dropping out, even it were a freshman year drop-out, still puts you well within the “you’re-old-enough-to-know-better ballpark.”

Non-payment of debt is theft. No ifs, ands, or buts. You take money from someone and say “Sure, I’ll get this back to you” and then make zero efforts to do so is bald-faced thievery.

I wonder how many of these responsible new citizens who couldn’t muster a buck for what they took under no duress can find the cash to keep that cell phone pressed intimately into the hand? How many lattes were miraculously funded?

But this thievery disguised as a “what are you gonna do” youthful “Whoopsie” does not stop with these precious “grown-ups”.

Of these same institutions attended by this majority of “can’t scrounge a single buck” thieves, these bastions of higher learning also received $2.2 billion dollars, and that is in the fiscal year of 2014 alone.

Over half of these institutions are for-profit campuses.

So, here we have more than half of the individual students who take someone else’s money for their own wants and never pay it back, attending institutions who take other people’s money (tax-payers, i.e., us) to fund their own jobs.

Re-phrased, imagine a business that had more than half of its customers “pay” for their purchases with someone else’s money at a store that paid its management with someone else’s money.

This comfy-ness with simply taking what is not yours with no thoughts of pay back, practiced by a majority, cannot bode well.

And I ask, who are the suckers in this scenario? Those who loan and receive nothing in return?

Or, that minority of students who have done the right thing and paid back that which there was no onus to do so?

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Mark Hatmaker is an MMA trainer and best-selling author with over 150 instructional videos to his credit. And, unbeknownst to most, he is guitarist and songwriter for the punk-band Re-Voltaire.