Students: You Are Exploited Debt-Serfs

LockeEducation1693Charles Hugh Smith writes on OfTwoMinds.com:

Students and parents, wake up: your only salvation lies in political engagement and action.

Of all the exploitative systems in the U.S., none is more rapacious than the Education Cartel. Like the proverbial frog that is unaware that it’s being boiled because the water temperature rises so gradually, college students and their parents are unable to recall what higher education was like before students were herded into debt-serfdom.

Apologists for the Education Cartel like to blame Corporate America or the banks, but the reality is that the Federal and State governments and the employees of the Cartel are willing partners in the exploitation and fraud. How did we get to the boiling-water point where students are expected to take on $100,000 or more in debt to attend college–even a mediocre one?

Answer: immensely profitable Government-backed loans. If the Central State wasn’t partnered with the Education Cartel, today’s debt-serfdom would be impossible.

The partnership plays out on multiple levels…

Article continues at OfTwoMinds.com

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  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I already figured that out…. Too little to late though….

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I already figured that out…. Too little to late though….

  • Grooveboss

    Thus one goes study abroad. But Americans are brainwashed into thinking the rest of the world sucks and don’t immigrate to place where they can get an education and actually be of some use. Sure don’t get me wrong USA is the greatest nation in the world no doubt, but one nation can’t stack up with the freedom of being able to go anywhere you want in the greatest planet in the universe. Go study abroad instead of trying to learn freakin spanish here.

    • Ironaddict06

      You don’t have to travel abroad to learn spanish. Just move to Texas.

  • Grooveboss

    Thus one goes study abroad. But Americans are brainwashed into thinking the rest of the world sucks and don’t immigrate to place where they can get an education and actually be of some use. Sure don’t get me wrong USA is the greatest nation in the world no doubt, but one nation can’t stack up with the freedom of being able to go anywhere you want in the greatest planet in the universe. Go study abroad instead of trying to learn freakin spanish here.

  • E.B. Wolf

    If you take on 100k in debt for anything other than law or medical school, you’re too stupid to be in college in the first place.

    • justagirl

      that may be true in my case, however, if you drop below half-time you have to start paying back your school loans. i had to take a bunch of classes i didn’t need in order to dodge paying back the loans while i waited for the classes i needed to become available. i graduated in december and now i owe $120K+ (that includes interest) and it’s not looking good for getting a job.

      • E.B. Wolf

        I know. I’m about 2/3 of the way to a BA, and so far I have just under 10k in loans. Barring any unforeseen catastrophe, I’ll graduate with around 15-20k in debt.
        I don’t know if it will help you or not, but I figure I’ll get a job that will allow me to start paying them off and still not starve when i get that paper, or I’ll still take two classes/semester towards a masters while I work. Otherwise, they can get in line behind Capitol One and wait for their money.

        • justagirl

          they’re asking for like $800/mo combined (lol). i’m going to send them each $20/mo until the tall men in sunglasses come knocking on my door.
          best of luck.

    • quartz99

      BS. If you’re coming from nothing and manage to get into a private college worth going to (which is hard if you’re not coming into it rich), and your parents don’t have any money to help you, you’re going to end up paying for most of it with loans. When you factor in books and room and board for four to five years, that’s well over 100K. It was well over 100K fifteen years ago when I did exactly that. I came out with over 80k in loans having paid the rest with scholarships and work; when you look at this with inflation of prices since then, that would be close to or more than 100k now.

      Unless you’ve already got something lined up or you’re living with your parents, I wouldn’t expect to get a job right out the door that pays enough to pay back your student loans and still cover rent/food/utilities/etc. You might, but it’s highly unlikely. If you find something it will most likely be minimum wage and that’s not a livable wage on its own.

      Watch to see when they’re applying your checks compared to when you send them. Both my husband and I were paying our loans two weeks before they were due and still getting gigantic late fees because the bank was holding the check until the day after it was due. The only way I found to get around it was to pay so that I was two bills ahead at all times so that even a “late” payment was before the next due date. You can avoid a lot of capitalized interest and spurious fees that way. If you instead tell them to “get in line behind Capital One”, then the amount you are behind has to all be paid back, with fees, before they stop adding fees to what you owe. After a certain point, it all gets capitalized into the loan and you end up paying interest on that too. At that point, your payment goes up, which makes it more likely you won’t be able to pay it, which makes it more likely you’ll have to pay even bigger fees…

      • E.B. Wolf

        I’ve heard the “extra fees and interest scare speech before, from C1. You can multiply zero by whatever number you want. It’s still zero. You just have to know where to hide your income and assets.

        Didn’t they teach you that at that fancy private school?

        • Bud Bundy

          I learned that in the Army.

          • Hadrian999

            one good thing about the army, got free school t the end.

        • quartz99

          It’s not a scare speech. It’s the way it works. I dare say, it’s how they make the most of their profits. And you will owe it for as long as it takes to pay it off. You don’t get out of it by claiming you have no income, you just end up with more capitalized interest and a bigger debt. If you don’t pay, you go to court. Then it doesn’t matter how well you think you’ve hidden things. Are you really that naive or are you just trolling?

          • E.B. Wolf

            No. I speak from experience. Sure they can take you to court, but the court’s ability to force compliance is quite limited. They can garnish your salary, but if you quit that job and go somewhere else the court order doesn’t follow and they have to start the process over again (as of 2007 anyway), they can’t take your house or car, they can go into any bank accounts with your name on it so keep your money in cash. Bounce around accounts to different banks if you absolutely need a checking account. Other than that, what the hell can they really do to you?

            Also, you don’t need a 100k degree from a private school to get a good education; you’re simply paying fro the school’s name and the privilege of rubbing elbows with rich kids. You can learn just as much going to a public university if you’re really eager to learn.

          • quartz99

            Actually, in several states, they can have you arrested now, and then your bail is set to the amount you owe. Minnesota, for one. And in some states, garnishment DOES follow you from job to job, along with penalties (which can land you in prison if you don’t pay them) for not informing them you’ve switched jobs or moved (personal experience with that in Wisconsin). And a judgement against you will be upheld if you move to a different state (though if you had money to move on you could have just paid the bill). AND you get all the legal fees added to the judgement against you in any of these cases. Student loans are exempt from bankruptcy in most cases, and they can in fact attach your car or house if it’s paid off. If it’s not paid off, they can still file a lien against it. What you’re advocating here about avoiding garnishment and switching accounts just to avoid a legal judgement is in some cases illegal and in any case borderline illegal. This is your financial plan for the future?

            Another advantage of private schools is student and faculty interaction. My largest class had twenty people. Most were five or less. Professors actually care about whether or not you, specifically, have learned what they’re teaching, and they have time to teach you in more detail because they’re not spread between a hundred impersonal students in a lecture hall. They can afford to pay professors more so they tend to attract better profs overall (though not always of course). Having worked with other people who came out of large public schools with the same degrees, I can say I got a much better overall education in things like critical thinking and depth of understanding about _why_ things are this way or that, not just in my fields (history and digital art and animation, respectively. Double bachelors.), but in how I approach any field or situation. You can learn by rote memorization just the same anywhere. That’s usually not the kind of “education” you’ll find in a private school.

            Not every private school is better, I’m sure. But my experience with the people coming out of both kinds of place (particularly when I was a manager) says that many are.

  • E.B. Wolf

    If you take on 100k in debt for anything other than law or medical school, you’re too stupid to be in college in the first place.

  • justagirl

    that may be true in my case, however, if you drop below half-time you have to start paying back your school loans. i had to take a bunch of classes i didn’t need in order to dodge paying back the loans while i waited for the classes i needed to become available. i graduated in december and now i owe $120K+ (that includes interest) and it’s not looking good for getting a job.

  • E.B. Wolf

    I know. I’m about 2/3 of the way to a BA, and so far I have just under 10k in loans. Barring any unforeseen catastrophe, I’ll graduate with around 15-20k in debt.
    I don’t know if it will help you or not, but I figure I’ll get a job that will allow me to start paying them off and still not starve when i get that paper, or I’ll still take two classes/semester towards a masters while I work. Otherwise, they can get in line behind Capitol One and wait for their money.

  • justagirl

    they’re asking for like $800/mo combined (lol). i’m going to send them each $20/mo until the tall men in sunglasses come knocking on my door.
    best of luck.

  • Anonymous

    BS. If you’re coming from nothing and manage to get into a private college worth going to (which is hard if you’re not coming into it rich), and your parents don’t have any money to help you, you’re going to end up paying for most of it with loans. When you factor in books and room and board for four to five years, that’s well over 100K. It was well over 100K fifteen years ago when I did exactly that. I came out with over 80k in loans having paid the rest with scholarships and work; when you look at this with inflation of prices since then, that would be close to or more than 100k now.

    Unless you’ve already got something lined up or you’re living with your parents, I wouldn’t expect to get a job right out the door that pays enough to pay back your student loans and still cover rent/food/utilities/etc. You might, but it’s highly unlikely. If you find something it will most likely be minimum wage and that’s not a livable wage on its own.

    Watch to see when they’re applying your checks compared to when you send them. Both my husband and I were paying our loans two weeks before they were due and still getting gigantic late fees because the bank was holding the check until the day after it was due. The only way I found to get around it was to pay so that I was two bills ahead at all times so that even a “late” payment was before the next due date. You can avoid a lot of capitalized interest and spurious fees that way. If you instead tell them to “get in line behind Capital One”, then the amount you are behind has to all be paid back, with fees, before they stop adding fees to what you owe. After a certain point, it all gets capitalized into the loan and you end up paying interest on that too. At that point, your payment goes up, which makes it more likely you won’t be able to pay it, which makes it more likely you’ll have to pay even bigger fees…

  • E.B. Wolf

    I’ve heard the “extra fees and interest scare speech before, from C1. You can multiply zero by whatever number you want. It’s still zero. You just have to know where to hide your income and assets.

    Didn’t they teach you that at that fancy private school?

  • JahLove63

    I was lured into the false expectations of higher pay with an overpriced BS Business Degree from the CSU system. Mind you, I am so grateful for the opportunity and I actually enjoy the “art of learning/knowledge” so I didn’t mind being on the 20-year college plan. Most of it spent working full-time so I can pay for my part-time attendance without student loans or grants. Even with the additional learning and skills received, it still seemed I couldn’t get a higher paying job because I didn’t have that almighty diploma. So I took the vow of further poverty and bit the bullet and as a 33 yo, single parent, I was able to easily qualify for a student loan, applied and received some grants and scholarships, continued to work 3 part-time jobs, attended the CSU system for 6 more years full-time (1 major, 2 minors) and finally graduated with that almighty, very expensive diploma. Now four years later, I’m still trying to get my ROI, making less money than I ever have and I’m still working three jobs (1 full-time, 1 seasonal, 1 part-time) and a debt that will take me until I retire to pay off. Gotta love the scam. At least they can’t take my knowledge away and I know how to read and write! Halleluiah!

    • Fabiandiaz72

      What happens if you dont pay ?

      Like, if you move to another state or to Canada and still mention your education in your CV or resumè ?

  • JahLove63

    I was lured into the false expectations of higher pay with an overpriced BS Business Degree from the CSU system. Mind you, I am so grateful for the opportunity and I actually enjoy the “art of learning/knowledge” so I didn’t mind being on the 20-year college plan. Most of it spent working full-time so I can pay for my part-time attendance without student loans or grants. Even with the additional learning and skills received, it still seemed I couldn’t get a higher paying job because I didn’t have that almighty diploma. So I took the vow of further poverty and bit the bullet and as a 33 yo, single parent, I was able to easily qualify for a student loan, applied and received some grants and scholarships, continued to work 3 part-time jobs, attended the CSU system for 6 more years full-time (1 major, 2 minors) and finally graduated with that almighty, very expensive diploma. Now four years later, I’m still trying to get my ROI, making less money than I ever have and I’m still working three jobs (1 full-time, 1 seasonal, 1 part-time) and a debt that will take me until I retire to pay off. Gotta love the scam. At least they can’t take my knowledge away and I know how to read and write! Halleluiah!

  • Bud Bundy

    I learned that in the Army.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not a scare speech. It’s the way it works. I dare say, it’s how they make the most of their profits. And you will owe it for as long as it takes to pay it off. You don’t get out of it by claiming you have no income, you just end up with more capitalized interest and a bigger debt. If you don’t pay, you go to court. Then it doesn’t matter how well you think you’ve hidden things. Are you really that naive or are you just trolling?

  • MoralDrift

    This whole system needs reform top to bottom. Problem is, those of us that have degrees and are “educated” are sweating these student loans while trying to navigate a dead-in-the water job market instead of being useful to society.

    I am truly saddened that in the UK, students were pissed enough to throw shit at the prince over tuition hikes, and we in the US stand idly by as the interest compiles. There is so much work to be done in this country, but the capital is tied up in all sorts of wasteful garbage like war.

    The ultimate bubble is the student loan/education bubble. And when it pops, so does the American dream.

  • Anonymous

    This whole system needs reform top to bottom. Problem is, those of us that have degrees and are “educated” are sweating these student loans while trying to navigate a dead-in-the water job market instead of being useful to society.

    I am truly saddened that in the UK, students were pissed enough to throw shit at the prince over tuition hikes, and we in the US stand idly by as the interest compiles. There is so much work to be done in this country, but the capital is tied up in all sorts of wasteful garbage like war.

    The ultimate bubble is the student loan/education bubble. And it when pops, so does the American dream.

  • loafofbread

    So what should I do as a senior in high school? One way or the other, we are going to face the same problem…

    • quartz99

      Go to college. Get as many scholarships and grants and as possible and apply for work study, or if that’s not available, get a job waiting tables or bagging groceries. Better to go to school part time and be making enough to cover your costs than to end up in debt. Whatever you do, don’t take out one of those credit cards directed at students. You’ll never get out from under it and the interest rate will quickly sky-rocket. But get a bachelors degree or better if you want to work in a field that isn’t either manual labor or factory work of some kind (not that there’s anything wrong with those fields, but a degree isn’t usually necessary for that). If you don’t have one, many managers will file your resume in the trash without even looking at the rest of it, unless literally no one else applies. I’ve seen it happen. The comment I heard most was that if you don’t have a four-year degree you must not have the dedication or ability to work hard that they’re looking for. It’s complete rubbish, I know, but it’s what a lot of managers think if there’s no degree on your resume.

    • E.B. Wolf

      Good advice from quartz, but I would add that if you can’t afford tuition at a prestigious university right out of HS, get an Associates from your local community college. If you complete the AA, all of the credits are transferable to most schools, but if you transfer to a university before completing it they start denying some of them. I knocked out all the basic skills classes (math, science, etc) at county for a fraction of the price that a university would charge. That way, by the time you get to a four year you’re mostly just taking your degree specific courses.

    • Ironaddict06

      My 2 cents. Go to a community college for your first two years or about 60 hours. Take all your basics such as English, History, and Math classes. Then learn a skill, that you have to market yourself and will set you apart from other people. Ex. there are many Engineer softwares:Autocad, Solidworks, Inventor. Digital Art-Maya, Photoshop, Mudbox. Or you can ago the manual labor route. You could learn how to work on air condition and cooling systems. If you live in the South, you would always have a job, and learn some basic business sense-you can have your own company.

  • loafofbread

    So what should I do as a senior in high school? One way or the other, we are going to face the same problem…

  • DeepCough

    See, this is why I stick to the library: you can learn as much as you want for absolutely free, provided, y’know, you can read shit.

    • mrtastycakes

      Reminds me of two great Zappa quotes:

      “If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library” and

      “Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute.”

  • DeepCough

    See, this is why I stick to the library: you can learn as much as you want for absolutely free, provided, y’know, you can read shit.

  • E.B. Wolf

    No. I speak from experience. Sure they can take you to court, but the court’s ability to force compliance is quite limited. They can garnish your salary, but if you quit that job and go somewhere else the court order doesn’t follow and they have to start the process over again (as of 2007 anyway), they can’t take your house or car, they can go into any bank accounts with your name on it so keep your money in cash. Bounce around accounts to different banks if you absolutely need a checking account. Other than that, what the hell can they really do to you?

    Also, you don’t need a 100k degree from a private school to get a good education; you’re simply paying fro the school’s name and the privilege of rubbing elbows with rich kids. You can learn just as much going to a public university if you’re really eager to learn.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, in several states, they can have you arrested now, and then your bail is set to the amount you owe. Minnesota, for one. And in some states, garnishment DOES follow you from job to job, along with penalties (which can land you in prison if you don’t pay them) for not informing them you’ve switched jobs or moved (personal experience with that in Wisconsin). And a judgement against you will be upheld if you move to a different state (though if you had money to move on you could have just paid the bill). AND you get all the legal fees added to the judgement against you in any of these cases. Student loans are exempt from bankruptcy in most cases, and they can in fact attach your car or house if it’s paid off. If it’s not paid off, they can still file a lien against it. What you’re advocating here about avoiding garnishment and switching accounts just to avoid a legal judgement is in some cases illegal and in any case borderline illegal. This is your financial plan for the future?

    Another advantage of private schools is student and faculty interaction. My largest class had twenty people. Most were five or less. Professors actually care about whether or not you, specifically, have learned what they’re teaching, and they have time to teach you in more detail because they’re not spread between a hundred impersonal students in a lecture hall. They can afford to pay professors more so they tend to attract better profs overall (though not always of course). Having worked with other people who came out of large public schools with the same degrees, I can say I got a much better overall education in things like critical thinking and depth of understanding about _why_ things are this way or that, not just in my fields (history and digital art and animation, respectively. Double bachelors.), but in how I approach any field or situation. You can learn by rote memorization just the same anywhere. That’s usually not the kind of “education” you’ll find in a private school.

    Not every private school is better, I’m sure. But my experience with the people coming out of both kinds of place (particularly when I was a manager) says that many are.

  • Anonymous

    Go to college. Get as many scholarships and grants and as possible and apply for work study, or if that’s not available, get a job waiting tables or bagging groceries. Better to go to school part time and be making enough to cover your costs than to end up in debt. Whatever you do, don’t take out one of those credit cards directed at students. You’ll never get out from under it and the interest rate will quickly sky-rocket. But get a bachelors degree or better if you want to work in a field that isn’t either manual labor or factory work of some kind (not that there’s anything wrong with those fields, but a degree isn’t usually necessary for that). If you don’t have one, many managers will file your resume in the trash without even looking at the rest of it, unless literally no one else applies. I’ve seen it happen. The comment I heard most was that if you don’t have a four-year degree you must not have the dedication or ability to work hard that they’re looking for. It’s complete rubbish, I know, but it’s what a lot of managers think if there’s no degree on your resume.

  • E.B. Wolf

    Good advice from quartz, but I would add that if you can’t afford tuition at a prestigious university right out of HS, get an Associates from your local community college. If you complete the AA, all of the credits are transferable to most schools, but if you transfer to a university before completing it they start denying some of them. I knocked out all the basic skills classes (math, science, etc) at county for a fraction of the price that a university would charge. That way, by the time you get to a four year you’re mostly just taking your degree specific courses.

  • mrtastycakes

    Reminds me of two great Zappa quotes:

    “If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library” and

    “Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute.”

  • Hadrian999

    one good thing about the army, got free school t the end.

  • Ironaddict06

    My 2 cents. Go to a community college for your first two years or about 60 hours. Take all your basics such as English, History, and Math classes. Then learn a skill, that you have to market yourself and will set you apart from other people. Ex. there are many Engineer softwares:Autocad, Solidworks, Inventor. Digital Art-Maya, Photoshop, Mudbox. Or you can ago the manual labor route. You could learn how to work on air condition and cooling systems. If you live in the South, you would always have a job, and learn some basic business sense-you can have your own company.

  • Ironaddict06

    My 2 cents. Go to a community college for your first two years or about 60 hours. Take all your basics such as English, History, and Math classes. Then learn a skill, that you have to market yourself and will set you apart from other people. Ex. there are many Engineer softwares:Autocad, Solidworks, Inventor. Digital Art-Maya, Photoshop, Mudbox. Or you can ago the manual labor route. You could learn how to work on air condition and cooling systems. If you live in the South, you would always have a job, and learn some basic business sense-you can have your own company.

  • Ironaddict06

    You don’t have to travel abroad to learn spanish. Just move to Texas.

  • Ironaddict06

    You don’t have to travel abroad to learn spanish. Just move to Texas.

  • Fabiandiaz72

    What happens if you dont pay ?

    Like, if you move to another state or to Canada and still mention your education in your CV or resumè ?

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