By Professor Doom
Friend: “You’re an idiot. Inflation is only 1.5% according to the BLS, and that’s what it’s been for years.”
Me: “How would you know? You’ve been in med school in the Czech Republic for what, 4 years now?”
Friend: “Yeah, the tuition here is much cheaper. But I have the internet so I can see what the BLS is saying, you idiot.”
--recent conversation with a Liberal friend. I would have pressed the point, but trying to repair this level of cognitive disconnect can cause permanent brain damage, so I let it go.
The student loan scam has warped higher education. The skyrocketing tuition has created and debased our schools so that many of them are little more than money laundering schemes, funneling money into administrative pockets. This has resulted in millions of young people starting adult life deep in debt, forcing quite a few of them into prostitution, even the ones that manage to get those horribly expensive degrees.
The kids that escape higher education with no degree, and for whom prostitution is not an option, are even worse off. The last option? Flee the country.
Getting that student loan money back is a lot harder when the victim is not in the country, and has no intention of returning. Yes, leaving the country means you lose out on all the “benefits” of being an American, but if you have the average student loan debt (around $30,000 a in 2014, but it’s over $35,000 now, and Federal Marshals can pick you up if you don’t pay), nothing to show for it, no assets (like a typical 20 year old)…why not just emigrate to a land of opportunity?
Hmm, I seem to remember America being such a land, a land the hopeful came to instead of a land the hopeless flee. What happened? The student loan scam, of course.
Joshua R. I. Cohen, who calls himself The Student Loan Lawyer, tells me that this plan could work for some people, albeit only if the debt dodgers plan to never live in the US again. Students who move to a foreign country and stop paying off their loan debt "will only feel consequences if they're working for a US company on foreign soil," Cohen says.
Government policies to fix problems always have unintended consequences, and usually such consequences are so bad that it would have been better if government had not tried to help. The student loan scam is merely one more example of such a policy.
Student loans were supposed to help people get an education. In addition to the unintended consequence of warping higher education into a money-funneling system, it’s driving our young people into prostitution, or out of the country. I’ve covered the prostitution before, so it must be time to consider the other option.
The article I’m quoting from looks at a few of these victims who have fled the country thanks to the student loan scam. I want to add a few things.
“I received enough scholarship money at the time to cover half of the tuition and the loans covered the remainder.”
The above hints at a very common sucker play in higher education. The gentle reader should know that only about 5%, perhaps less, of the tuition money is needed to pay for the actual education of a typical student. Most faculty are paid low enough to qualify for welfare even if they work 40 hours a week, and most state schools get enough tax support that other overhead costs are minimal. Every faculty member that does that math realizes that 5% or less of the tuition money goes into faculty pay and other overhead.
Yes, 95% of tuition costs are pure profit, or at least have nothing to do with education. It’s why for-profit schools are willing to spend insane money on advertising, and why an accredited 4 year university that isn’t interested in ripping off students can charge $1,000 a year tuition and be fine (I’m serious, this university is open to anyone, and nearly tuition free).
So, the cost of tuition is arbitrary. A common ripoff is for a university to say “Hey, we’ll give you a scholarship that covers 50% of tuition, and we’ll help you get the loan to pay the rest!” The poor sucker thinks he’s getting a deal—50% of his tuition is paid!—while the reality is the university could give a 90% scholarship and still make a nice profit off the sucker who takes out a loan to pay “the rest” of tuition. It’s no different than a grocery store that marks up the price of apples to $20 apiece, and then has a”95% off” sale on apples.
The student continues his story:
I did not have a plan for paying them off, nor did I consider how I would make it work once I graduated. I needed to go to school and it was the only solution at the time.
Our kids come out of high school imprinted with the mythology of higher education. They are told they need to keep going to school. As a condition for our schools in higher education to receive accreditation (i.e., suck up student loan money), our schools promise, in writing, to act with integrity.
Instead, the vicious predators who run our schools immediately act to rip off our vulnerable kids as brutally as possible, robbing them of their future. If our schools acted with integrity, they wouldn’t “leave it to the kid” to figure out how to pay off the loan…the schools would realize there’s no way to pay back the loan with ridiculous crap being taught in the school…and lower their tuition accordingly, or refuse to take the loan money. Doing so would require integrity, however.
The student’s story continues:
I'm sure they will go after my parents soon, but that won't do much because they don't have any money either.
Often student loans are co-signed by parents and grandparents. It’s getting ever more common now for social security checks to be taken away to help pay off the student loans. The rulers of our higher education system are not just plundering the future of our next generation to further inflate their already golden parachutes, they’re unraveling the safety net of our elderly as well. Did I mention how vicious these guys are?
The student above incidentally points out an important detail: we’re collectively running out of money to continue supporting this huge scam. The kids don’t have the money, the parents don’t have the money, the grandparents don’t have the money.
I think at this point I owe about $40,000. I really, truly, honestly don't want to pay it back. Sure, I realize the responsibility I took on when I signed the papers and agreed to take out the loans, but I should have never had to do it in the first place. I feel some sort of civic duty not to pay them back, as if my small protest will make any kind of difference.
The student above does himself no favors by saying this. He’s obviously irresponsible, and if he really felt much in the way of “civic duty” he’d have joined the Peace Corps or something (and he still could!). It’s not a protest, he’s just inflating the fact that he’s been given nothing, not even a modicum of maturity, in exchange for that student debt…and he can’t become a prostitute to pay it off.
Even as I’m not impressed with his point of view, I again point out: an institution with integrity would not have taken advantage of such a shallow and irresponsible kid like this.
Next time around we’ll look at some more horror stories of what student loans are doing to our future.