Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Our government is obviously trying and succeeding in generating more income for itself. Last month students at hundreds of colleges and various universities started classes. One thing that is very clear is the fact that by the time they graduate, most students are going to be leaving with a lot more than just a tassel and cheap polyester robe. They will be leaving with the fact that 7 out of every 10 graduates will be leaving with outstanding debt. The total bill due for students in America tops 1 trillion dollars. Yes, student debt is now greater than money due from credit cards and auto loans and is second only to mortgages of which the government already succeeded to put most American homeowners into foreclosure.

Essentially student debt is like a disease. If you go to college you are almost certain to get it and if you do get it, most likely it will follow you for the rest of your life because legally student debt is a special kind of debt. It is the most collectable debt out there. It is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, they will garnish your wages, intercept your tax refunds and they will sue you in court. When did we vote to do this?

Student debt has tripled in the past 10 years. How did this happen? More than 90% of student loans is subsidized by the Federal Government. It all started with good intentions. President Lyndon B. Johnson said,   ” Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty. “ A higher education system offered to all was one of LBJ’s top priorities while in office. He should be steaming in his grave right now if he knew that education is causing the newest impoverished population in America now.

This mess happened because states have slashed funding for education in the past few years by 23%. The colleges have responded by raising tuition rates forcing students to take out ever larger loans. Another consequence from the lack of state funding is that community colleges have been forced to slash class sizes. It is a good thing that Americans want to get further education. The problem is with the for profit schools like the online universities like the University of Phoenix, DeVry University and ITT Technical School.

These schools are publically traded on Wall Street and run commercials constantly. They are businesses rather than just places for higher education. These for profit schools count for nearly 1/3 of all student loans despite having just 13% of all American students. They are the poorest of our college applicants. It is a staggering number and way out of proportion and part of why for profit schools account for much of our student debt. These schools are not cheap. They cost 5mtom6 times the cost of a Community College and as much as twice a 4 year State University. The poor kids don’t even get to hang out with other struggling college kids in dorm rooms.

Why do they charge so much? I do not believe that it has anything to do with the quality of education. They are spending at least 25% of their money on sales and marketing. Yes, self- promotion. In most cases they only spend 10 to 20% of money on faculty wages. They spend half the amount on teachers than they do on marketing. Is that fair?  Hell no. There was a time when the quality of the teaching proved a good school not clever advertising. Also, how good of an education are they getting if they spend all their time at home? A nursing program at CCI , Corinthian College, should at least visit a hospital to learn something.

It gets worse. Federal Law says that for profit schools can take in 90% of their money on loans the other 10% can also be taken from Veterans Benefits. So, let’s rob the Veterans too!! For profit schools have been seen visiting Veteran’s hospitals signing up brain dead guys for courses at their colleges to get some of that veteran loan money. This greed is beyond human dignity. Lobbying in Washington has changed the laws their way. APSCU@APSCU.ORG is the lobbying group still seeking to keep money flowing their way out of our pockets. Protest their activities.


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