Till Death Do Us Part... and beyond

I liked to climb trees when I was a kid. My favorite method of monkeying around included wrapping my legs around a thick enough branch, letting go with my hands and hanging upside down like the true gorilla I am proud to be.

Thinking about the simple, stupid joys of childhood ends with a sobering shiver when I read stories like this one . Christopher Bryski suffered the fate my nagging elders always feared when they saw me swinging from branches.

Today, the Bryski family is paying the price both emotionally and financially. In total, the Bryski family will have to pay back over $85K for the loans Christopher took out to go to Rutgers...this on top of never seeing their son/brother again.

Sadly, in an era riddled with bird brain types, it seems that stories like that of the Bryski family are relegated to the back pages of our collective conscious. Retard celebutantes and chicken/rooster headed eternal kids dominate the headlines whenever the issues of youth and money are involved.

But what about people like the Bryski family? To what extent do we go to forgive and sympathize with the truly unfortunate? Does tragedy warrant forgiveness, even if it was caused by irresponsibility?

Most of you guys here are either still in or recently out of undergrad...what do you think?

More specifically, if you could put yourself in this poor kid's shoes...would you expect the financial burden on your family to be forgiven? Would this sort of worst case scenario ever have crossed your mind to begin with?

I for one think that we really need to rethink the actual value of going to college, right out of high school. It has become such a standard and expected path, that guys like Christopher may not feel they have another option.

At the risk of catching hate and being thought of as evil and harsh, maybe we should work on getting young men who climb trees and live for keg stands well into their 20s the discipline they need, instead of the debt they cannot handle.

This was an accident. But accidents can often be prevented via frank and harsh discussion about responsibility, goals and expectations. Not everyone is ready for college right after high school, in fact, it seems to me that more and more kids are not.

This sad story is a reminder that there is a price for everything, something to keep in mind as a new generation of C students hits the job market. The student loan repayment crisis is something worth thinking about and discussing...it is coming...

Beware.

Comments (15)

Aug 7, 2010

Yes it is a sad story, but I find it hard to sympathize when:
a) The moron took out over $45k to attend a state university (and that was only 3 years).
b) He climbed a tree and fell at age 23.
c) The parents co-signed the loan- which means they should have the financial means to pay it off.

It is sad that he died, but not that they have to pay the loan.

Aug 7, 2010

It sucks he died but his debt should not be forgiven. I don't know how someone cannot know that if they cosign a loan they will have to pay the loan if the person who received the loan cannot pay. That seems pretty basic to me. Also, if his debt is forgiven that means the lenders will hike interest rates on everyone else to make back the money they lost and to protect against future losses.

As far as not being prepared for college, yeah that is deff true for me especially. I'm on the five year plan, mostly because I transferred. That extra year made a tremendous difference as far as being mature enough to handle classes and being grown up enough to figure out how to go about getting an internship/job in a tough industry.

I have a friend from NY and we are going to graduate in the same year, 2012. For all of you that don't know, NY's cut off date for kindergarten is 12/31 rather than 9/30, as it is in NJ. We will be juniors this September. He is 19 and turning 20 in October, I'll be 21 turning 22 in April. He is much younger than me and therefore much more immature. His grades and his progress in finding an internship/full time job is really lacking to say the least. At 19, my grades were pretty good but I knew nothing as to my school's career services let alone trying to land an IBD internship. He will have a tough time after school.

Aug 7, 2010

I agree with the above as not letting the debts be forgiven. I actually agree with everything the above said.

But to go to your other point of should we look trying to change the mindset of students to go to college or not, I think we should. I am set to graduate college this spring with about 30k in debt and I actually paid for the rest working 6 days a week and commuting, something that's not so easy to do when you go to a school with incredible amenities and that houses nearly all your friends.

But going back to my point, I am very ambitious, very active in school clubs, and very confident that I will find a job with the means to pay off the loans in a reasonable amount of time. Sadly, most americans are not like me or really, the rest of us on here. The idea is that if you go to college for 4 years, you receive a degree and are entitled to a job. With the bachelor degree a saturated luxury, it seems to me that now, it might be easier to influence students into going to a trade school. By spending less money and using an actual skill that they may enjoy, they'll avoid problems like this kid and still make a very good living. I know in my town alone (population of 17k) we have exactly 3 plumbers with a registered license to own a business. Each one is self-employed and has no extra employees. Needless to say, they clean up (no pun intended).

This has been brought up by another user on here on another post, but I like how that user put it: We have smart workers but not skilled workers. I agree with this 100% and believe there should be some kind of initiative to educate HS students on other options.

Aug 7, 2010

That NYU chick is a pure fool. Did anyone see this comment:

"You did the right thing in choosing to pursue a liberal arts degree and it will pay dividends over your lifetime. I too spent a fortune on my Masters degree, an MBA from Harvard, one of the most lucrative degrees you can get. I make a nice living but despair at the destruction that people like me have wreaked on this planet with our failed philosophies and total disregard for liberal notions such as ethics.

On the eve of my 15th reunion, I find myself nervous at what I will find. Will my classmates and the institution of HBS take any responsibility at all for the destruction we have caused? I sincerely doubt it. If we lack such introspection, can we really be considered leaders and expected to find a way out of this mess? I doubt that as well (Obama please take note). The only people who can help us are people like you who went to school to learn and to think, not just earn a fast buck.

Hold your head up. Your day will come. Keep challenging unfairness in the world. I, for one, will be encouraging my own daughter to follow in your footsteps, not mine. "

What a moron. All the harm we did, surreeeee. I didn't realize getting an MBA was akin to being a mass murdered. All this anti business crap really makes me sick. Everyone hates banks until they want to buy something without saving for it. Banks are evil when they lend too much, evil when they don't lend, credit cards are evil and they are more evil when they cut balances and don't let people spend. Nothing business can do is right.

It is always the common man who gets taken advantage of. In thie age of limitless, free information no one can be bothered to do any research. Booooo Hoooooooooooooo

Get the baby a bottle.

As for the story at hand. I am really curious, why did this guy take private loans over federal loans? You get the federal first and if you need more you do a private loan. This might be one of those rare cases where bankruptcy might discharge the loans.

I guess this is illustrative of why people should get life insurance. I took out a pretty hefty policy on myself a year or so ago. Term insurance for someone his age is like 10 bucks a month for 100K. I am not going to blame the family, just hope people read the article and learn from it.

Aug 10, 2010
Anthony .:

That NYU chick is a pure fool. Did anyone see this comment:

"You did the right thing in choosing to pursue a liberal arts degree and it will pay dividends over your lifetime. I too spent a fortune on my Masters degree, an MBA from Harvard, one of the most lucrative degrees you can get. I make a nice living but despair at the destruction that people like me have wreaked on this planet with our failed philosophies and total disregard for liberal notions such as ethics.

On the eve of my 15th reunion, I find myself nervous at what I will find. Will my classmates and the institution of HBS take any responsibility at all for the destruction we have caused? I sincerely doubt it. If we lack such introspection, can we really be considered leaders and expected to find a way out of this mess? I doubt that as well (Obama please take note). The only people who can help us are people like you who went to school to learn and to think, not just earn a fast buck.

Hold your head up. Your day will come. Keep challenging unfairness in the world. I, for one, will be encouraging my own daughter to follow in your footsteps, not mine. "

Whoever wrote that crap never attended Harvard. Probably just another "populist" idiot. "Populist" being codeword for "waahhh! I'm a dumbass who bought a house I knew I couldn't afford but had the contingency plan of selling to make millions like a real estate baron! This is someone else's fault!"

Aug 7, 2010

what kind of dumb-ass bank appoves a 45k private student loan for a kid going to a state school? i want to know what the citibank underwiter was thinking when he approved that loan.

man made the money, money never made the man

Aug 7, 2010

Given that the rate of death for persons in their 20s who are college attendees/graduates is probably rather low, the overall risk and cost to the lending institution is small for implementing a policy that forgives a student loan to co-signers upon death of the borrower for the outstanding amount above the borrower's estate. Or the private lending institution could do what FHA does with mortgages--require a one-time fee up front (or one that can be rolled into the mortgage rate) for an insurance policy that covers death (with FHA mortgages, it covers default). This amount would probably be in the hundreds of dollars, which really isn't that big of a deal.

In sum, there are better--more humane--policies that the banks should implement going forward.

Aug 7, 2010

Whoa

45K for 4 years of school with living expenses is not the crazy. State schools are not THAT cheap. I think 50K in debt for a bachelors degree in something useful (accounting, engineering, etc) is a good investment.

The loan officer (I am sure it was just a computer) took into consideration that student loans are near impossible to get rid of, he had a cosigner with I am going to assume decent credit and 45K is within federal lending limits for an UG so it made sense.

Aug 7, 2010
Anthony .:

Whoa

45K for 4 years of school with living expenses is not the crazy. State schools are not THAT cheap. I think 50K in debt for a bachelors degree in something useful (accounting, engineering, etc) is a good investment.

The loan officer (I am sure it was just a computer) took into consideration that student loans are near impossible to get rid of, he had a cosigner with I am going to assume decent credit and 45K is within federal lending limits for an UG so it made sense.

wow, youre right. i just checked ucla's cost of attendance. its about 29k/yr. cal is 27-31k/yr. i remember when uc tution was like 6k/yr.

still, i think bank underwirting standards were too loose for private student loans. not every acct/eng/fin/bus major gets a job after graduating. especialy in this job mkt and especially for kids who dont graduate from great schools (which is the majority).

man made the money, money never made the man

Aug 7, 2010

The prices at which schools these days are charging students are ridiculous. They have no right to increase prices by more than inflation each year. Show me another industry in which the players are allowed to do so in both up and down economies, and I'll die a rich man.

Aug 7, 2010
ccmonopolies:

The prices at which schools these days are charging students are ridiculous. They have no right to increase prices by more than inflation each year.

hi tution is driven by demand, demand is driven by loans that are easy to get.

basically, if underwiriting standards were more strict, there would be less money available for borrowers and the cost for tution would probably decrease.

man made the money, money never made the man

Aug 8, 2010
mr1234:
ccmonopolies:

The prices at which schools these days are charging students are ridiculous. They have no right to increase prices by more than inflation each year.

hi tution is driven by demand, demand is driven by loans that are easy to get.

basically, if underwiriting standards were more strict, there would be less money available for borrowers and the cost for tution would probably decrease.

Way oversimplified. State schools wouldn't have to increase tuition at such a high rate if the states pulled their weight in supporting schools' budgets. Look up what the state government contributes to the budget of schools like UVA or Berkeley - it's become a negligible amount over time. Large endowments are the only way some of these schools keep tuition costs from spiraling out of control. It's only going to get worse once the shit hits the fan with state pensions.

Aug 8, 2010

Once you factor in housing, food, etc, the total cost of attending a state school is quite a bit. What I don't understand is why he only took $5K in federal loans (sounds like the maximum Stafford amount for one year) and $45K in private loans. Either based on his and his family's income he didn't qualify for more financial aid and they (in theory) should have been able to pay for more things without a loan or he for some unknown reason though it was a better idea to take out a private loan when federal aid was sitting there waiting. If you read the promissory note for one of those private loans, they really have you by the balls, like really have you by the balls. Which is why private lenders are more willing to make these loans; even in bankruptcy or death it's near impossible to get out of them.

Aug 8, 2010

This is such a poorly written post. Connecting the dots for a kid dying a tragic death to immaturity, binge drinking, etc. is such a huge leap. Even though its not directly targeted at kid there is an underlying tone. If you read the article there is no mention of how he was as a person, just rather how he died from climbing a tree. The extrapolation of his life is disrespectful to him and his family. Not to mention the family isn't even saying they shouldn't or aren't going to pay the debt. They are saying they wish the bank had been more upfront with them over two years ago with this tragedy began. All the follow up posts about state schools are just as ignorant and display an immense lack of maturity.

Aug 8, 2010
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