Once upon a time, a promise to repay a debt meant something.

Politicians just can’t seem to cry enough crocodile tears over student loan debt. Now, the Maine Legislature wants to absorb $40,000 of that debt for first-time homebuyers with a six-figure income, who can spend up to $679,570 for a four-unit apartment house under the Maine Smart Buy program.

Why? I’m shocked that a person with that income can’t repay what amounts to a new-car loan. Can’t college students understand the meaning of the word “loan”?

As a former college professor, I know students who used loan money for spring break trips, cars and similar “necessities” of college life. Should we reward these folks by shifting their debt to Maine taxpayers? Moreover, you don’t even have to graduate to qualify. So, if you partied more than studied and dropped out, you are entitled to the government bonus. I guess Maine just stiffs those who actually paid off their debts.

Not all college majors are created equal. Some majors are just fluff with few job prospects. If a student can’t explain to someone in 30 seconds (called an “elevator pitch”) how a major will land them a successful career, they need to look elsewhere. Always know the monthly payment owed.

Finally, consider attending less costly community college and then transferring to a four-year school to finish a bachelor’s degree. Also, attend an in-state college unless an out-of state school offers some unique career or financial – not party or sports – advantage.

Charlie Pearson

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