(Denver, Colorado 2 Jan 2013) — Many will think I am writing this column just to be contrary. After all, I have been a full-time college professor for the last dozen or so years. As many people have said about the Republican party, “I didn’t leave college, college left me.”
Here is the problem. For much of the history of America our nation has seen it as a benefit to educate our young people. We have free public education up to high school and college used to be encouraged through grants and low interest loans. Today, things are much different. President Reagan started the decline of education and President Bush finished it.
When I got my undergraduate degree I paid for it with a lot of federal grants and a few loans. I think my loan percentage was about 2.3% or something like that. When I took out loans they would tell me what the payment was going to be and how much I owed. They gave me that information on a statement every quarter.
My first teaching job was at a large for-profit college. (I won’t name them because they have 100 attorneys on staff and they could sue me, even though I am telling the truth.) Many times during my tenure at that school I took students down to the financial aid office to ask how much they owed, how much their payment would be and other questions relating to their school financing. Every time we did that the financial aid people lied straight faced and told us they had no way of figuring out how much the student could owe at graduation, what the loan percentage was or how much their payment would be.
All of those things are obvious and for most consumer debt the company loaning the money has to disclose it. Since student loans are in a whole separate class (defined legally by the banks that make them) no information is required. They let students who have never held a job and have no assets borrow $50,000, $100,000 or $200,000 with no collateral and no bother. Why? Because the banksters got laws passed that make it nearly impossible to get out of your student loans. No other loan in America is like a student loan. If you rack up $100,000 in student loan debt you can expect to be paying on it for decades. Before Obama passed a new law regarding student loads you could be required to pay more than $1000 per month. Your wages could be taken by the institution. There are almost no rules about how they can collect it. If you have the debt when you reach the age or 65, or if you become incapacitated, they can take your social security money.
College loans have essentially become a vast extortion scheme where the schools, the banks and the government collude to make slaves of America’s young people. It is disgusting. The only way to win is to avoid the game.
Unless your parents are rich and you can just write a check for your college expenses (all of them), avoid college like a disease. Get a job and learn a trade. Become an electrician’s assistant, work your way up the ladder in a grocery story, work for the post office or find a store that needs a sales person. The point is, the way the game is rigged right now, there is no up side to getting a college education. There are few jobs, the jobs that exist don’t pay much more than fast food jobs anyway and if you go to work out of high school, at least you don’t start life $100,000 in the hole.
Be smart, don’t start. Don’t start college that is. At most schools if you simply sign up for a semester you can run up as much as $5,000 in debt that you must pay off in full.
More on education as time goes by.
– Copyright Thomas Harrop, 2013