tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera November 11, 2015 9:00pm-9:31pm EST
concert here in new york. that's our program. i'm john siegenthaler, "ali velshi on target" is next. >> i'm ali velshi, "on target" tonight, degrees of debt. i'm looking at how the system fails too many college students who end up unemployment and whroamed by loans. overwhelmed by loans. the promise of a higher education is the return on investment a student earns after receiving a college degree. part of that of course is knowledge. but for most people return on investment is the are higher earnings that they receive over a lifetime, compared to someone
with only a high school education. that return, however, is not materializing for a growing number of college grads running up debt to pay for a degree. now i'll explain why in a diplomat. but first let's understand why all debt is not created equal. the average college student running up $80,000 in debt to pay for a four-year degree will recoup those costs through the jobs they get after graduation, by the time they turn 40. after that, the same data show that college grads earn $800,000 more, than workers with only a high school diploma. by the time they reach retirement. so it does pay to get a college degree. and it still pays to go into debt to get that degree. but the choices that students make matter now more than ever. the brookings institution looked into four million borrowers exiting college the 2011. brookings found that half the
borrowers took out loans to attend two and four year for profit schools. that's a big change from past years whether the majority of student borrowers attended traditional four year colleges. and 70% of the defaults in the group that brookings examined came from the students who attended the for profit schools or community colleges. now, for profit schools offer expensive degrees that often fail to result in good paying jobs but that problem isn't limited to for profit schools. it applies to all schools going into debt to finance their educations, including law students who have a the potential to earn a lot but could still end up in big financial pain. david ariosto explains. >> reporter: for as long as he could remember blake howell wanted to be a lawyer. the 31-year-old national resident was fascinated 50 law. a few good men were still packing seats at the box office.
>> i want the truth o. >> you can't handle the truth. >> so blake set about preparing for the entrance test. >> l sat, i'm not a strong test taker. its didn't make a lot of sense to me. >> elite schools, instead he attended law school at indiana university where out of state tuition is more than $40,000 per year. first year students are also typically encouraged not to work and take out additional loans to pay for housing and living expenses. so as to focus on their studies. and so the debt started to pile up about. >> and you're thinking it's going to be one number and it's completely different when you get out. >> by the time blake graduated he had borrowed $171,000, a mix of both federal and private loans but with interest accruing those loans soon ballooned up to
more than $203,000 something he like other students reasoned would be offset by the salary he would earn after graduation. and yet even after he passed the bar, blake couldn't find a job. >> when i left my swearing-in ceremony my family and i went to eat and i applied there for a job as a server. >> approximately 10% of law school grads are unemployment, twice the national rate and over two-thirds of them have a job that actually require a law license. but that hasn't stopped the price of a legal education from skyrocketing. since 1987, the average cost of law school has increased two and a half times adjusted for inflation. twooution hatuition last increae fold. all the so-called free money out there something called the direct-plus loan program givings
students the option of using federally funded loans to pay for full cost of tuition as a way of giving those people more access to graduate school. but as a consequence those government loans may actually push tuition rates even higher. john theis is the former president of the illinois bar association. in 2013 he authored a report meant to address the broader consequences of these policies. what he found is that graduates like blake increasingly have to pursue public interest jobs as a way to pay down the debt, while others decide against legal education altogether. >> one of the phenomenon had a has occurred is that the number of applications to law schools has been declining. >> reporter: with the median starting salary for new lawyers at roughly $61,000 per year law graduates face an average debt that ranges anywhere between 77,000 and $112,000 depending on
whether they attended a public or private university. that means they're less likely to do pro bono work or take jobs in rural low paying areas where others in deeper debt like blake often have trouble just make ends meet. >> i want to take care of my family. i want to live life. >> reporter: blake eventually found work as a freelance attorney and had his loans consolidated to lower his monthly payments but he at times wonders whether it's all worth it. >> there are lots of decisions you can make when you're 18 and 22 years old. they can really ruin the rest of your life. and i never felt like going to college and going to law school and coming to be an attorney would be one of those. >> david ariosto joins us. he sums it up, he thought he did the right thing, went to college, law school and now he's got these problems. what's the take away?
>> when they're in school the thing you hear is go to school, you get into those graduate programs that would increase your earning potential. it certainly is true. but when you go and spend 30 or 40,000 per semester on a law education on a school that is not necessarily a top tier school and you get out, there's not a lot of jobs in top tier firms, in boston and other more rural areas they don't pay. they essentially have to pay back what in his case is over $200,000 in debt. that's just a nontenable solution. >> in that case you would probably want to be going to a state school. other states handle these things differently. is there a lesson we can take from this? >> bernie sanders pointed to den denmark and swee den.
sweden. forbes consistently puts denmark in that top tier. it's not addressing the loan situation, maybe this is just a public good. that's really debate though for presidential politics. >> david ariosto, thanks very much. law school or any school for that matter is an investment. the question is whether or not it is worth it when there is no guaranty of a job after graduation. i'll debate that coming up. it's not always pretty, but it's real... and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight.
>> a growing number of college grads are running up big debt loads financing theirs degrees but too many of these debt strapped graduates struggle in the fields of their study or they're getting lower pay than they expected to get. as a result a growing number of these graduates are taking longer to pay student debt or worse, they're defaulting on that debt. we focused earlier on soar is tuitions at lawless and debt soaring as a result. says the cost of higher education is invaluable no matter how expensive it may be. he joins us from nashville. professor, good to have you here. i think you're not going to get much argument from me on the idea that education costs money, it's worth it, i come from canada and we follow social
democratic norms, that say it's worth it but can we make it more affordable. the argument we're going to be on the same side of is those people who say costs me too much money, puts me in debt, so i'm not going to do it. does that make sense? >> let me qualify yours opening, investment education is worth it no matter how high it is, it will be an investment depending on their individual circumstances where they go to school how well they do and their own individual abilities and stick to itiveness. obviously the more expensive it is, the more one has to look at the return to see if it's a good investment. >> ah-ha, yes. that's where you and i are on the same side. let's talk about this. you work for vanderbilt university, costs about $49,000 a year to attend and jeff% of
vanderbilt students have a job at graduation, that's pretty good. pepperdine is about 52nd in rank and only 36% of its students have a job at graduation. at that point now we're getting to the nitty gritty here. is law school worth it if you are not a top tier student at a top tier school? >> i think way the question is sometimes framed is in the abstract, is it worthwhile? i don't think that's the right way to frame the question. i think it's a decision for each individual student who is making an investment in his or her future and his or her education. it also is not to my waive thinking the right metric -- my way of thinking the right metric, not right way to think about do you need a jd in order to count as someone who is employed as a result of law school. those who traditionally practice
law, that you pass the bar and be a member of the bar, there are a lot of other things you can do, a classic example is the president of the united states is a lawyer, but being president does not require a jd. >> to your point in 2014 only 64% of law school graduates had a job that required passing the bar. that's a valid point. the average law school student graduates today with more than $100,000 in debt and that number can double with interest and combining it with undergraduate debt yet the average salary for a 2013 law school graduate was $62h62,467. we can talk about law degrees and petrochemical degrees. there was a time when i had hair and it was obvious, that if you got a law degree that was a ticket to prosperity.
at a salary of $62,000 versus more than $100,000 in debt does that still make sense? >> well, the number of lawyers when you still had your hair was actually many fewer than it is now. and we've had a democratization of law school and we have opened up more seats in classes and i think that tends to suggest that there will be more competition and more stratification within the discipline. so i think ultimately it's an individual choice that individuals have to make. my advice to my students is, success, both includes income in, and includes cost going out. and it also includes what i would call nonpecuniary involvements. people like to help others, that gives them benefit. not all of that can be measured in dollars and cents.
>> i like what you call nonpecuniary benefits. the average salary as we said for a 2013 graduate was 62,467. the average salary of a private law firm employee at that point, 95,000, that's you say if you are carrying $100,000 or $150,000 in debt, $95,000 is well within the range of being comfortable with that. if you are not getting those kind of private jobs then the return on investment for being a lawyer is tougher. does that now start to discourage people from those nonpecuniary jobs, like not being a lawyer throws types of things? >> certainly if you are going to practice in a legal services or public interest context, your
income would be lower if you were not practicing in a top tier law firm in new york or washington. looking at about $165,000 as soon as they walk in the door and some of them the elite of the elite will have bonuses on top of that. so in a very short period of time, at a major top firm, one is looking at somewhere in the three to $400 per yea,000 per yr range. the yields on the high end are very, very strong. if you are planning to go into a pro bono context, you have to live a different lifestyle, no doubt about that. >> let me ask you not about law school in general but i want to show our viewers a chart about inflation and prices. the bottom line shows how much tuition would rise if it were in line with inflation. we're talking about law school tuition. the top line shows how much tuition has actually risen. private law school is 2.6 time
as expensive as it was in 1985 and public law school if you are a resident an in-state resident is 5.5 times as expensive. what's the like behin logic beh? this is happening all around the education world but why is the cause of education so much more than inflation? >> again law school, teaching in law school is very people-focused. typically not going to be quite as prevalent in the education sector. what we do is we pay our staff, we pay our facts including me, and we have to attract strong faculty. and as incomes go up, in alternatives, we have to be competitive. that's just the way the world works. >> professor what a great conversation. professor james lumstein, vanderbilt university, thank you
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>> the simple fact of the matter is we hear a lot of promises in this debate. >> early on, john kasich describes his tax policies as unique. >> the only getting us to a balanced budget by the end of the second term. >> reliance on figures that experts say absurd. raise to the minimum wage, inside ben carson justified his opposition with this. >> every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases. >> but history does not support that claim. since 1979, congress has raised the minimum wage 11 times. according to labor data, there have been overall job growth six times, and overall job losses five. >> here is the best way to raise wages. >> florida senator marco rubio
tried to shift the towks to somethinfocus tosomething he sub training. the median wage of welders is about $37,000. for philosophy teachers it's $63,000. carly fiorina actually majored in philosophy in college and she made it it clear that she's not very strong with history. including her own with russia's vladimir putin. >> though i have met him as well not in a green room for a slow but in a private meeting. >> on the tonight show two months ago she says it was a more casual green room meeting. >> i met him in beijing. we were in sort of a green room setting. >> donald trump and jeb bush clashed over putin's position over the war against islamic state. >> if putin wants to knock the
hell out of the islamic state. >> i don't -- >> bush said they are not doing that and he's correct. reports from syria show russian war planes have mostly attacked forces where i.s.i.l. wasn't present. antisyrian government rebels who oppose i.s.i.l. one of the biggest whoppers of the evening came in the under-card debate from new jersey governor chris christie. >> we stopped obamacare in new jersey because we refused to participate in the federal exchange. >> that is false. no governor is able to stop residents from participating in the federal exchange healthcare.gov under the affordable care act. christ did block a state exchange. all together, fact check groups say this night produced two dozen false or inaccurate claims. david schuster, al jazeera. >> now i want to take a look at some of the other financial
nonsense outright dodges and misstatements last night in milwaukee. let's start with ben carson. david schuster pointed out his claim that higher minimum wage always leads to job loss he. let's hear what ben carson said after that. >> it is particular a problem in the black community. own 19.8% of black teenagers have a job. who are looking for one. and that's because of those high wages. if you lower those wages that comes down. >> well, carson got the number and what it represented all wrong. he's basically implying that black teens have an unemployment rate. the actual rate was $26.5%. and the actual rate is not high, it is lower than it was in 1968 if you adjusted for inflation and studies show an increase in the minimum wage would help millions of african americans
who earn some of the lowest wages in this country. carson was asked a simple question about whether big banks should be broken up. he gave a lot rambling answer, spring led with stack buy backs and regulation that simply did not answer that question. and that prompted this question. >> just to be clear, you wouldn't favor break up the big banks? >> i would have policies that wouldn't allow that to occur. i don't want to go in and tear anybody down. that doesn't help us. but what does help us is to stop tinkering around the edges and fix the actual problems that exist that are creating the problem in the first place. >> don't know what that means but moderator gerard baker thanked carson and left it at that. that is one of the instances that the candidates gave felon answers. and the moderators let them off the hook. thank you was also baker's
unsatisfactory response to carly fiorina's nearly two minute long nonanswer how she would deal with the claim that democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than republicans are. here is just somehow she dodged that very simple question. >> well first of all i must say as i think about that question, i think about a woman i met the other day. i would guess she was 40 years old, she had several children. and she said to me you know carly i go to bed every night afraid for my children's future and that really struck me. this is america. mother is going to bed afraid for her children's future. >> several times last night i wondered whether the candidates just didn't hear the question, the moderators asked. in the earlier debate the moderators let new jersey governor chris christie get away with this statement about democrats and taxes. >> if anybody believes the stuff they heard from that democratic
debate a few weeks ago, there's nothing to free. they're going to raise your tax rate to 70 to 80% to provide all that stuff. >> that is misleading. what he is talking about are so-called marginal tax rates that would only apply to a certain percentage of one's ones income the actual top tier. the top tier is 39 be 6er%, it is wrong, no democrat bernie sanders included has said how high they may propose raising the large nal tax rate on the wealthy but nobody's overall tax rate is going to 70 or 80%. finally one of my favorite moments of the debate was kentucky senator rand paul essentially did the moderator's job for them, it came after donald trump did a long rant against the tpp, transpacific
partnership. >> the tpp is a horrible deal. it is a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. it is a deal that was designed for china come in as they always do through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone. currency manipulation is the single great weapon people have. they don't even discuss it in this agreement. >> hey gerard, we might point out china is not part of this deal. >> true, it's true. >> that's right. >> before we get a little bit turned here -- >> off kilter indeed. here's hoping the candidates and the moderators do a better job in the year that remains before americans go to the polls in the general election. yes, an entire year! so please pace yourselfs. that's our show. the news continues here on al
jazeera america. >> on "america tonight": unfinished business. in the obama administration's final year, the tough issues still on the table. >> it took us 12 hours to get here from mexico but just less than five minutes to unload. we have been told there were about 30 unaccompanied miles an hour on that bus. >> immigration, what to do with guantanamo bay and giving america's veterans the help they deserve. thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. headed into the final year of his administration the president's performance is