Tag Archives | student debt

Revolutionary Potential: Default En Masse

$alt BlogAn op-ed in the New York Times from June, entitled “Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans,” features a picture of a bank-note burning like a draft-card in the Vietnam days. The story begins atomized as the author, Lee Siegel, recalls taking out his first student loan along with his parents at the age of 17, to be met with ‘congratulations,’ from the banker, “as if I had just won some kind of award rather than signed away my young life.”

Soon after, the author was faced with a decision. He could give up on his dreams of being a writer to pursue a life of quiet desperation, working a shit job for shit pay to pay off his massive student debt. Or he could default. The author says, “I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.”

They decided on the latter noting that “It struck me as absurd that one could amass crippling debt as a result, not of drug addiction or reckless borrowing and spending, but of going to college.” As a result of this absurdity “having opened a new life to me beyond my modest origins, the education system was now going to call in its chits and prevent me from pursuing that new life, simply because I had the misfortune of coming from modest origins.”

As a result, Siegel notes that “The banks that made them have all gone under.… Read the rest

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Citing Soaring Student Debt, Sanders to Pitch Tuition-Free Higher Education

The average class of 2015 borrower will graduate college with just over $35,000 in debt. (Photo: teofilo/flickr/cc)

The average class of 2015 borrower will graduate college with just over $35,000 in debt. (Photo: teofilo/flickr/cc)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Deirdre’s posts here.

With student debt figures continuing to climb, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to unveil legislation this week to provide tuition-free higher education for students at 4-year colleges and universities in the United States.

The proposal, which Sanders plans to introduce on Tuesday, would eliminate undergraduate tuition at public colleges and universities and expand work-study programs.

“Countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and many more are providing free or inexpensive higher education for their young people,” Sanders, who is running for president as a Democrat, said in a news release. “They understand how important it is to be investing in their youth.  We should be doing the same.”

Earlier this year, in a speech at Johnson State College in Vermont, Sanders called for a “revolution” in the way higher education is funded in the U.S.… Read the rest

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Cuba Part II: Ebola Solidarity & Castro’s Daughter on Gay Rights

On this special episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin highlights part II of BTS’ eight day trip to Havana, Cuba, starting with an interview with Cuban doctor, Katiel Llorente Izabelez, who explains how Cuba has managed to maintain such a high life expectancy rate, despite the lack of access to up to date medical supplies. BTS producer, Cody Snell, then speaks with students at the Latin American School of Medicine, an international medical school set up by the Cuban government that provides free tuition to low income individuals that want to become doctors. Abby then discusses how Cuba managed to send the largest contingent of doctors to fight the ebola crisis in West Africa, and how this is just the latest example of the country’s medical internationalism. Abby then goes over the US programs meant to encourage Cuban doctors to defect and how this undermines international health efforts. BTS wraps up the show with an exclusive interview with Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President, Raul Castro, and director of Cuba’s sexual education program CENESEX, about the biggest challenges facing Cuba’s gay community.… Read the rest

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America Comes Out With Student Debt


Picture by flickr user Jagz Mario (CC)

Student debt activist Kyle McCarthy details some of the latest news  and personal stories in the ongoing battle against usurious corporations like Sallie Mae.

via Kyle McCarthy at Armchair Advocates:

For many today, higher education is being pushed further out of reach due to skyrocketing tuition and overwhelming student debt. In fact, from 1978 to 2011, tuition increased more than 900%, 650 points above US inflation.

And as tuition has climbed, so has student debt. Over the past eight years, total educational debt has nearly tripled in size and the average monthly student loan payment is $500. Today, nearly 40 million Americans hold more than $1 Trillion in student loan debt, which is having drastic effects on individual student-borrowers, families, and the American economy. With the increase in borrowing, people have delayed major purchases such as houses and cars. In 2011, first-time home purchases decreased for the first time since 2006, and One Wisconsin Now estimates that the student debt crisis translates into over $6 billion in lost automotive sales each year.

Read the rest
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Street Politics And The Quebec Student Movement

A short dissection of the great success recently achieved by the student protest movement in Quebec:
For over 4 months, students and their allies, took over the streets of Montreal every day, to protest a tuition hike imposed by the liberal party in Quebec.On September 21st, the newly elected Premier of Quebec scrapped the tuition hike and repealed a controversial law that effectively banned public demonstrations.While this is being touted as a victory by many in the student movement, one element that made this success possible is already being overshadowed. How the the movement's militant street politics transformed the student strike from a single issue campaign to an uncompromising social insurrection.
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