Would You Like Some Crippling Debt with that Degree?

Wall Street-style predatory capitalism has taken over our education system, and it’s absolutely devastating a whole generation of young people.

When Latonya Suggs enrolled at Everest College, a branch of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges system, she thought she was taking the first step towards realizing her American Dream. But tens of thousands of dollars later, she realized that Everest wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

As Suggs told Democracy Now! recently, Everest didn't do anything to help her find a job after she graduated and was more interested in making money off her student loans than it was in making sure her degree was put to good use.

Latonya Suggs now has around $63,000 in student loan debt to her name, which is why last week she joined fourteen other former Corinthian Colleges students in refusing to pay back her student loans.

This is the nation’s very first student loan strike, and it comes just as the government takes action against Corinthian Colleges for running what it calls “an illegal predatory lending scheme.”

According to the government, “Corinthian lured tens of thousands of students to take out private loans to cover expensive tuition costs by advertising bogus job prospects and career services. [It] then used illegal debt collection tactics to strong-arm students into paying back those loans while still in school.” In other words, Corinthian Colleges isn’t an education company as much as it’s a bloodsucking debt collection agency.

That, in a nutshell, is everything that’s wrong with the higher education system in this country. Education is supposed to be part of the commons, something we all invest in as a society to make sure that everyone has a fair shot at achieving their intellectual potential - and to keep moving innovation, invention, and the arts ahead in our country.

But since the introduction of Reaganomics, we’ve outsourced huge chunks of our education system to private for-profit corporations like Corinthian Colleges. And those private corporations have, in turn, morphed the education system into yet another arm of Wall Street-style predatory capitalism.

The dirty little secret, of course, is that the for-profit college industry is less about teaching anybody anything than it is about creating debt, debt that then be very profitably sold off in tranches - and even aggregated into derivatives - to banksters and wealthy investors. Like every other part of our economy these days, the education system has become financialized, and for-profit colleges like Corinthian are really just phony shells for the latest bankster get-rich-quick scheme.

This is insane.

In no other country in the developed world are financiers and scam artists entrusted with managing the education commons. Most developed nations actually make going to college free for all their citizens, so when it comes to how screwed up our higher education system is, America really is exceptional.

This needs to change and it needs to change now. A college education is more than just the ticket to finding a good job – it’s the foundation of our intellectual infrastructure. And if we continue to outsource that foundation to greedy private corporations who then provide our students with a crappy education and a lifetime of debt, our entire society suffers.

Not only will eager students lose out on a chance to actually improve their lives, but the rest of us also lose out on the all the long term national benefits that come with having a truly informed and educated society.

Higher education is a fundamental part of the commons. Let’s start acting like it and kick the banksters out of the classroom once and for all.


ChicagoMatt 8 years 13 weeks ago

You can't get rid of student loan debt in bankruptcy either. I don't know about private student loans, but if you do Federal loans, like most people do, they can and will garnish your wages, just like they would for back taxes or child support. The only way to get out of student loan debt is to pay them off, or die.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 13 weeks ago

Chi Matt -- One could also vote for democrats. If we had a majority of dems in the house and 67 dem senators, that student loan debt would be paid by all Americans. This seems just, since Americans, and not the students, will benefit the most from that strengthing of our intellectual infrastructure.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 8 years 13 weeks ago

Could this be described as mercenary?

It certainly appears to me that god will find it hard to bless america because it is unwilling to care for its' own

UK seems to be following your depraved greed in our educational system also

That is no coincidence I believe

Looks like it's a family affair

Very, very sad!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 8 years 13 weeks ago

We need to help those who will be the future for our children

Where do I send a donation to support these students?


johnbest's picture
johnbest 8 years 13 weeks ago

All public universities and community colleges must have no tuition. When I attended City College of San Francisco in 1954 there was no tuition. Then I attended and was graduated from UC Berkeley in 1959. Again there was no tuition only a $70 fee, My brother and I both were graduated from UC Berkeley. We wouldn't have gone to college if there was tuition because our parents couldn't afford it. Our father was a mail carrier and mother worked part time in a school cafeteria. I don't think student loans were available then. Both myself and my brother have had great, and very successful, careers as civil and electrical engineers respectively.

President Obama is on the right track with his push for no tuition. The neotards on the other hand are completely off their rockers. They want to let people set aside money, tax free, to pay for college. This is typical neotard thinking. What about promising students from the 47% who do not make enough money to even pay their bills. How the hell are they going to be able to afford to set aside money for their children's college. The neotards suggested the same thing for health care. They wanted to let people set aside money for health care. This stupid idea again leaves the 47% without health care.

When are these selfish bastards going to wake up. They must be the result of home schooling in pseudo-christian families or else their parents were second grade dropouts.

Let's clean house in 2016 and sweep them all out of office. If that doesn't work then I don't have much hope for the future of this country. I am just glad that I am 79 and won't be around much longer to put up with crap from these unAmerican, selfish, arrogant, ignorant morons.

My ancestors from my mother's family immigrated from Germany in the early 1800's. I now wish they had remained in Germany. They are gracious enough to provide free college tuition for all citizens and even provide free tuition for foreign students. that's my kind of country.

PFNELKAK 8 years 13 weeks ago

there is greed and power hungry people in every corner of this earth. Stay close to JESUS for this world is about to end. Remember Sodom & Gamorah: Those that kept their eyes on God lived. Even Lot's wife wanted to go back to her worldly life of riches; she perished.

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 8 years 13 weeks ago

Congress could always have a 25% cut in "defense" spending, which would still make America the highest "defense" spending country in the Universe, then use that money to make all state colleges free and subsidizes private colleges tuition as well, but that's just rational governing practices.

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 8 years 13 weeks ago

Separate the Universities and Colleges from their lucrative sports franchises and demand that tenured professors, not over worked graduate students and retired part time presenters, be returned to their former positions developing and presenting the courses that their lifetime of experience has prepared them to deliver.

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 8 years 13 weeks ago

Additional confirmation of the ever present Oligarchy re-establishing control over our society by, among other things, limiting access to a higher education by significantly raising the cost. Prior to Wold War II a college education was exclusively reserved for those families in the upper economic strata, the same family dynasties who had come through the Great Depression with their economic status virtually untouched. The G.I. Bill that provided a virtually free college education to Veterans returning from the war was seen by the wealthy as just another welfare program for the middle and low end riff raft that would be flooding into their previously exclusive temples of class ! The most visible evidence of this ongoing dismantling by the wealthy is the elimination of the Middle Class, an action that has rewarded them with the return of obscene levels of profit while young Americans are increasingly losing all hope of ever seeing what their grand parents had accumulated just four decades ago ! Are we now looking at a situation in this country like that of Greece where a large percentage of the young Greeks have left the country seeking living wage employment thus ending any chance that Greece has for a future restoration ?

Sojourner_Lisa's picture
Sojourner_Lisa 8 years 13 weeks ago

I am hoping that We the People push for a jubilee, debt forgiveness, for the young & not so young people that are struggling under the bondage of their student loans. The boost this would give to America's real economy and the middle class would be phenomenal. As John Lennon once sang, "You may think that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one".

johnbest's picture
johnbest 8 years 13 weeks ago

Return to the income tax rates before Saint Raygun and we would be alright. I heard this morning that that pissant judge judy is making $47,000,000 a year. That is obscene.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 13 weeks ago

Obama an d the Democrats have numerous times tried to ease the pronlem, e.g., preventing SL interest rates from doubling like Republicans were ready have happen - to give the banksters what they were salivating over.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 13 weeks ago

Hey ChicagoMatt, I forgot the name of the last thread we were arguing on so I couldn't find it for a couple of days.. Then I remembered and realized I was looking right at it on the message board list the whole time.

Anyway, we got some replies to your last posts on it, http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2015/01/america-failure-more-half-us-s...

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