Yesterday, newbie Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley announced a plan to end student debt—and said that he had personally taken out $339,200 in student loans for his two daughters. Uhhh, what?
You don’t have to be an expert on college pricing and loan options to say to yourself, “Two daughters... undergraduate degrees from Georgetown and the College of Charleston... $340K????” with a comical “eyes bugging out” expression that might be found in a classic “Looney Tunes” cartoon. Inside Higher Ed did seek out some real live experts to do the math on the O’Malley family student debt load. Their conclusion: while it was possible for O’Malley to rack up that much debt paying for two undergrad educations, it “made little sense,” and would indicate that the O’Malley’s (stupidly) chose to borrow every last cent rather than, you know, saving some money for their kids to go to school, even though Martin was making a comfortable six-figure income as governor.
Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president and publisher at Edvisors and a leading number cruncher on student aid and loans, ran the numbers: “Nine federal parent PLUS loans totaling $339,200 works out to be $37,689 per loan. That is greater than the federal parent PLUS loan amount borrowed by 99.9 percent of parents.”
Martin O’Malley: successfully proving financial incompetence with his very first proposal.