Sunday, March 13, 2016

Expatriate To Escape Student Debt?

By Professor Doom

     A recent article highlights yet another unintended consequence of the student loan scam: people fleeing the country to escape the incredible burden that our higher education system puts on them for an increasingly worthless “higher” education.

      It isn’t simply the high cost of tuition that’s the issue here. The “free money” that goes to any institution hawking college credits means we’re giving college credit for, well, crap that is neither educational nor particularly relevant to the workforce.

      Another student incidentally highlights so much of the fraud going on today:
I got my associate's degree and then transferred to a private university in New York. They didn't accept all of my credits, so I had to do about three years of study.

     Just one line there, and it says so much about higher education. We’re told community colleges are a cheap way to get a leg up on education. That’s why we built these boils on the face of higher education: “to save money.”

     This is a lie. 

     Beyond a few students that properly play the game, most students get robbed at community college much like the student above. Perhaps less money is stolen, but their precious early years, when their health is best and overhead is lowest, is taken away. They spend two or three years in community college, get that associate’s degree, then try to transfer and—oopsie!—turns out those community college credits don’t transfer the way admin said they would. In my over a decade at a community college, I saw countless students robbed this way, I made countless suggestions to admin about fixing their policies…and was told countless times that changing policy to help students would cut into growth. In the corrupt mind of an administrator, “it would hurt growth” is a perfect reason not to change policy. Many community colleges have such a low graduation rate (like 0.6%!) that the above student is actually lucky to only have been cheated as badly as she was…most get cheated even more abusively by community college.

      Accreditation, incidentally, was established to make transferring credits easier…I want to rant about the student loan scam today, so I’ll just gloss over how accreditation fails to help transfer students just as accreditation fails to make schools act with integrity. There are no penalties for violating the rules of accreditation, you see, and so the rules are meaningless in the face of those sweet student loan checks.

      So, the poor kids, after being suckered by community college, then move on to university, to get suckered some more:

I think it was $53,000 a year at the time. My mom and I applied for a loan through a private bank called Sallie Mae, among others. Every American knows that bank, the name Sallie Mae sounds so friendly; she's just your cute aunt making soup.
Within 48 hours I had $30,000 in my bank account. It was shocking because I had never had that much money in my bank account before. I remember that after paying my student stuff it was just gone, as if I never even had it. And I didn't live on it. I had a part-time job my entire education. 

      Because the school is legitimized by accreditation, it can charge whatever it wants and help students get the loan money…which it takes with gleeful abandon.

     Isn’t it nuts that these poor kids not only can destroy themselves financially, but also their parents? And it’s all fake—the kids never even see the money, it just transfers to the university, where it gets moved into an administrator’s checking account in short order. This kid was too young to buy a legally buy a $1 lottery ticket, a beer, or spin a slot in a casino…but can chain herself into $30,000 of debt in no time, thanks to accreditation’s failings.

      Before the student loan scam, you could work your way through school, much like she did, and have no debt. Now you work your way through school, and still get crushing debt. 

      She’s an exceptional student, so she actually managed to get a degree, unlike most students, who end up with nothing but deep debt and some worthless college credits. The kid flees the country, and what does her degree get her?

A year ago, I was working at a fancy restaurant in Berlin and made a lot of money in tips.

      I hate to sound like a broken record here but…her expensive degree? It lets her be a waitress. We have over 17 million waitresses (or the like) with college degrees…we really shouldn’t be charging so much for degrees.

Debt collectors haven't badgered me in Berlin. They haven't found me in Germany. But when I go home, my phone rings non-stop. I always think it's an old friend trying to hang out with me, but it's really Sallie Mae. It rings like every hour.

     We’re literally driving our kids out of the country with the student loan scam. I guess it makes more room for the refugees our foreign policy of “bomb everyone” is creating but…I don’t think that was an intended consequence of the student loans. 

    I’ve heard of many stories like this, but just one more. A student with over $160,000 in student debt explains it isn’t just he that’ll leave the country, since his parents co-signed:

To be honest, I just don't see myself living in America again—for reasons outside of student debt. My parents are moving back to El Salvador, where they're from, and then I'll have no ties to America. I don't really like America or the direction it's heading. For now, I don't need to care about going back there.

     Hey, more room for refugees…

     Bottom line, once again, is the student loan scam is doing incredible harm. Yes it’s enriching the administrative caste in higher education (and accreditors rake in sweet loot too!), but it’s destroying our kids, destroying the parents and grandparents of our kids, destroying (any remaining) integrity in higher education, impoverishing our educators, and forcing people into prostitution or out of the country.

      What would it take to get rid of the student loan scam?

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