Hey, underemployed recent college graduates struggling in the worst job market in a generation: do you have a trillion dollars? I really hope you have a trillion dollars. Because you owe a trillion dollars, in student loans.

We already know that college grads can't pay back their loans on time, because of their crappy jobs, due to the collapsed economy, which was why they decided to go to grad school to try to "wait it out" in the first place, the fools. And the entire situation is, of course, spiraling further downwards. The NYT says that student loan debt will top a trillion dollars this year—which, to put it in perspective, is Kelli Space's astronomical debt times five million.

"Two-thirds of bachelor's degree recipients graduated with debt in 2008, compared with less than half in 1993." Clearly, all the warnings aren't doing jack to keep the freshmen hordes from borrowing more and more, year after year. It's time for, at the very least, a slight realignment of expectations. A few guidelines for the new decade of debt:

  • If you're not rich, community college ain't bad at all. If you can get in.
  • If you're not rich, even doing four years at a state school will make you poor for a while. Expect it.
  • If you're not rich, doing four years at a private school will make you poor for a long, long time. Expect it.
  • Law school is probably a bad investment.
  • As are most other forms of grad school. Unless you're really, really brilliant. Which you're probably not.
  • Your future self will thank your present self for every dollar you don't spend. Do yourself a favor and reconsider that semester abroad.
  • If you're rich, disregard all of the above. The world is yours.

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