Why the student debt crisis may hit home for Rep. Ellison

His son is making it “real”” credit=”MPR Photo / Alex Friedrich

When Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison spoke to a group of University of Minnesota students yesterday, he compared his son’s situation with the one he faced when he got out of law school.

Ellison said he himself bought his first home at 26.

And his son?

“He can’t — he lives at my home. (Laughter) Right? He can’t imagine going to buy a house. He can’t imagine going to finance a car. I think that’s a bad idea anyway, but he can’t even think about it.  … I was able to have him, and some of you guys are going to want to have kids and stuff by the time you start being 27-28-29-30. If (my son) had a partner who he wanted to start a family with, I don’t know what they would do. They’d live with me. We are doing something very damaging to our young people.”

Ellison said afterward his son got a bachelor’s degree political science and Chinese from Drake University and spent a year in China.

Ellison said he took out an $11,000 loan for his son’s education, and his son owes another $35,000 or so. He told me:

“He’d like to go to law school one day — but he’s worried about the expense of that. And I think he’s deferring that decision, because he wants to chop the debt down that before he goes.”

Ellison said his son’s situation makes the student-debt issue “real” for him.

  • Joe

    First mistake, majoring in Political Science

  • Alan

    Rep. Ellison makes $174,000 a year. If his son has student debt, it’s because dad chose not to help. I have no sympathy for families with the capacity to pay who simply let their kids get buried in debt.

  • Rebecca Bray

    I have not able to confirm this yet–it can just be angry gossip-senators and congress members children do not pay tuition to attend higher education. From the sounds of the Rep. frustration, this must not be true; however, I have become very cynical in the last few years and I seldom take anyone’s word for anything….especially politicians and those in for profit higher education.