Sorry, Starbucks: An On-Campus Degree Is Better Than an Online One

June 24, 2014 | The Huffington Post |

My niece is a smart, hardworking gal who recently received her master's in architecture and is having a hard time finding a job, like many Millennials. To make matters worse, she's facing more than $93,000 in student debt. And this isn't from her bachelor's degree, but her master's degree -- despite the fact that she received it from a state university and half of the two year program was free.

It gets worse. My best friend's daughter, who is pursuing a doctorate in psychology, would be on the hook for $250,000 in student loans for the degree if it weren't for her grandparents, who helped her meet most of the expenses. And this is just for the doctorate -- it doesn't count her obligations for her undergraduate degree. Given that her goal is to work with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, she shouldn't owe anything.

There's been a lot of buzz over Starbucks' recent announcement that it would pay the full cost of tuition at Arizona State University's online program for its employees' junior and senior years. It's clear that this nation faces a student debt crisis. Student loans not only reduce recent graduates' spending power but often make them ineligible for a mortgage, resulting in the lowest level of homeownership on record for those under age 35. Collectively, we hold more than $1 trillion in student loan debt. President Obama recently signed an executive order to allow millions of student-loan borrowers to cap payments at 10 percent of their monthly income.