“We were so young, so in love, and so in debt.”
Do we raise the interest rate on student loans or do we keep the interest rates down on on so-called student loans? In the past couple weeks, lots has been discussed–and it seems once again that those “the student loan issue” is being discretely brushed off.
Student debt is nearing one trillion dollars. 37 million Americans owe around $1,000,000,000, 000.00
I started college in the late 90’s. I had a scholarship that covered a more than half of my tuition, my parents assisted how they could– but wasn’t enough and so the dreaded FAFSA was filled out, submitted, and approved.
I was going to get student loans. It sounded…practical.
At 18 years old, taking out a loan was new thing. And it scared me. Sitting in on the first (required by the lenders) informational–well, hell, what do I call it? Class? Info session? Whatever you call it, those who get student lines have “counseling” (yes, the industry calls it that) sessions about student loans. I held on to every last word.
In my adulthood, this. Was. Serious. I remember learning that my loan payments would essentially be put on hold as long as I was in school–graduate school included. I entered college already assuming I would be attending grad school (although I admit I hadn’t thought how to pay for that), so I thought something along the lines of, “Okay, I’ll be a professional when I need to pay this back. That should be okay. It might delay buying a house or having a baby, but only for a year or two.”
I could just turn that into a sharing post–“How naive were you when you were 18?”
Really. Laugh. I am. It’s so sadly funny I seriously thought like that. I’m rather disappointed in my 18 year old self for not thinking things like:
- What if the economy crashes?
- What if you can’t find a job easily?
- What if you’re discrimated against?
Et cetera and so on.
I mean, I actually believed student loans were helpful to students. I didn’t realize how corrupt they are. How wrong it is to make people go into debt to go to school. The idea that universal education at the higher levels should be free hadn’t crossed my mind–yet.
“Making all public higher education free in the United States would cost between fifteen and thirty billion dollars.
That’s roughly what this country spent on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan last year.”
Many of the colonists (i.e., of British or European descent) came over to the “New World” as indentured servants. For the cost of the voyage over (which was approximately the equivalent of the 4-5 years pay), the servant was provided with food, accommodation, clothing and training as they worked for the next 2-7 years (depending on the contract) as they worked off their debt. For their work, the servant received not wages, but credit toward paying down the cost of the voyage over.
Don’t forget this was a time when debtor’s prisons were around, so it’s not hard to figure out what happened to those servants who didn’t uphold their part of the bargain.
Indentured servitude is often called “white slavery” and to much extent, the comparison is apt.
The Company clearly felt that [beaten workers running away] threatened the continued survival of their enterprise, for they reacted forcefully to this crime. In 1612, the colony’s governor dealt firmly with some recaptured laborers: ‘Some he apointed to be hanged. Some burned. Some to be broken upon wheles, others to be staked and some to be shott to death.’
[Don't you just love olde-tyme spelling?]
While this sort of physical torture is not occurring over student loans, (that I’m aware of), there remain multiple similiarities between historic indentured servitude and modern-day student loans, or “modern day indentured servitude.”
- Indentured servants fluxed in numbers, but up to 2/3 of (white, European) immigrants came to the New Land as such. Approximately 60% of American students any given year will rely on student loans to further their higher education.
- Indentured servants were predominately young and also of the working class or just plain ol’ poor.
Many students (but not all!) who receive student loans are young. And many are working class or poor. (But this is America, so we don’t like to talk about class.)
- Indentured servitude and student loans rely on the idea/myth of mobility. It seems this country was fed the lie of the boot straps from the very beginning!
- Given the nature of the debts, neither historic nor modern day indentured servitude were/are secured by property. Both were/are debt secured by personhood.
- Indentured servitude and student loans both take a small (relative to the lender) amount and augment it thanks to rounding error works some black magic to make this initial amount into a significant burden that will follow the person around for 30 year.
- Both have extremely limited legal recourse.
And let’s talk about the limited legal recourse, shall we? Most debt is dischargable or at least worked into a more suitable payment plan during a bankruptcy proceeding.
Sutdent loans? Nope. Or rather:
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
Student loans are immune to bankruptcy. You cannot discharge your modern indentured servitude by filing bankruptcy. This means that student loans don’t
“have a natural protection for the consumer receiving credit (a protection, the original synthetic put option, that our Founders were aware of enough to make sure it was provisioned for in the Constitution).”
Washington, we have a problem. A very serious problem that could break the economy (again).
It’s already (figuratively) killing the young.
- Student Debt Slave.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported data in April that confirms student debt is affecting homeownership.
- Your student loan isn’t really a loan.
- …the transference of risk from the lenders, who stand to reap immense profits from these loans, to the students.
- Just weeks after receiving their degrees, college graduates are now dealing with a dual dilemma: struggling to find good-paying jobs in the worst economy since the Great Depression and coping with mountains of student debt.
- Reforming the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to make student loans dischargeable, holding law schools accountable for tuition rates and re-evaluating government policy that allows nearly anyone admitted to law school to borrow money to cover attendance, regardless of the amount, are all necessary steps to build a sustainable model for legal education….
- The big needed change is to allow these borrowers to declare bankruptcy. Weirdly, policymakers appear obsessed with the idea that someone borrowed to go to college (presumably to party and get laid) and then stiffs his lender. The initial remedy was to bar bankruptcy filings for five years; that sort of compromise would force badly needed discipline on lenders.
- College is no longer a home for the mind; it is now a financial product for the one percent.
- The rising tide of student debt reinforces rather than dissolves the discriminations of class, counteracting the meritocracy.
- …we all benefit when education helps democratic citizens better evaluate debates and arguments under our system of self-governance.
- the demand for higher education in the years following World War II through the 1970s was proportionately the highest of any time, as student enrollments doubled and tripled, but the supply was cheap and largely state funded.
- We need an education model that emphasizes social justice and not merely an alteration of the indentured servitude college graduates are already forced into.
- The real story is about the slow dismantling of affordable public education – one of the last means of upward mobility in America – and the exclusion of a generation from the “American Dream.”
- 1947’s Report of the President’s Commission on Education maintained that “free and universal access to education must be a major goal in American education.
- When I talked to SallieMae before joining the Peace Corps they told me I would just have to pay $150 every 3 months to avoid fees. It wasn’t until a year into my service that they finally started explaining the terms of my forbearance and what it meant exactly.
- Education is a human right that should be accessible for all.
- Functionally, this debt is creating an economic underclass.
- We’re selling our children into a form of economic slavery, all because it’s become socially acceptable.