Tag Archives | Student Loans

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

Continue Reading

Four Reasons Young Americans Should Burn Their Student Loan Papers

'Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it's a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.' (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

‘Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it’s a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.’ (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Paul Buchheit writes at Common Dreams:

‘Hell No, We Won’t Go’ — 1967
‘No Way, We Won’t Pay’ — 2015

Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it’s a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.

There are at least four good reasons why America’s young adults— and their parents—should take up the fight against financial firms who are holding high-interest student loans that total more than the nation’s credit card debt, and more than the total income of the poorer half of America.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Chilean Artist, Activist ‘Liberates’ $500 Million Dollars of Student Debt — By Burning It

PIC: Coyau (CC)

PIC: Coyau (CC)

Andrea Germanos writes at Common Dreams:

An artist and activist in Chile has “freed” university students from their student debt by burning $500 million dollars in debt notes.

The action was the work of visual artist Francisco “Papas Fritas” Tapia, who took the debt notes during a student takeover of the University del Mar, burned them to ashes, and put them on display as an exhibit.

“Authorities began shutting down” the university “last year for financial irregularities and encouraged students to seek out alternative universities,” the Santiago Times reported, but “the university is still collecting on its student loans.” It is slated to close at the end of this year.

Chile has been hit since 2011 by waves of student protests that have denounced the Pinochet-era education policies that have enabled ‘profiteering’ and privatization at the nation’s schools, and have prompted demands for education to be a public good, not a commodity.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Are American College Students The Coal Miners Of Today?

Via Counterpunch, Darwin Bond-Graham argues that students are positioned at a “choke point” in the debt economy:

Now that we know the debt situation is untenable for an entire generation, what are we going to do about it? UC Santa Cruz professor Bob Meister is advocating the university and the plight of the student as a starting point for a wider movement against debt. Historically students have been galvanizers, taking direct action at seemingly impossible moments. Will they do it now?

Meister compared the students of today to the coal miners of early industrial capitalism. Under that regime of production, coal miners had the power to shut down the economy because they labored away at the site of a singular choke point of value extraction upon which all the spinning looms and colonial plantations depended. Students now occupy a choke point, according to Meister. Student loans are assets in the books of banks and the personal fortunes of the wealthy 1%, used to leverage up debts throughout all other sectors of the economy, debts that penetrate into the social collective and reinforce financial servitude for the masses.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

US Debt Collection Agencies Salivating Over Trillion Dollars in Student Debt

Picture: F.W. Murnau (PD)

Unless you owe money yourself, it  may be hard to understand how quickly having outstanding student loan debt can become an almost unbearable situation. College is expensive, and many young people come to school with a fatal combination of financial naivete and unrealistic expectations of what the job market has to offer a college graduate.

There’s over a trillion dollars in US student loan debt, and it’s a growing industry. Families can on occasion escape from their commercial credit debt: They can foreclose on a home. They can file bankruptcy. Student loan debt is forever, a never-ending all-you-can-bleed buffet for those companies fortunate enough to land contracts from the government.

From RT:

Most US college students hope to land a good job with a high salary after graduation. But for some the reality is very different. Many find themselves faced with insurmountable debt – and a loan industry that’s happy to cash in on their misfortune.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

America’s Student Debt Crisis

Picture: j.o.h.n. walker (CC)

Student debt activists and education advocates Kyle McCarthy and Natalia Abrams are tired of the ‘silence and complacency’ that our elected (and duly bribed) officials exhibit in the face of overwhelming evidence of usury and millions of voices of the disaffected. At least two out of three of students take out loans for college and at least 1 out of 5 of those will default.

Via Huffington Post:

Since 1978, college tuition has skyrocketed by over 900%, while simultaneously, grants and scholarships continue to be slashed. The result? Students are forced to mortgage their futures with student debt, from which there is no escape. In 2010, student debt actually eclipsed credit card debt as the second largest consumer debt in the country (second only to mortgage debt, surpassing $1 trillionin total). The Atlantic recently reported that, since 1999, student debt has increased by 511%.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Grads Face Spectre Of Student Debt Related Suicide

A fatal peril of life in the 21st century? Via the Huffington Post, C. Cryn Johannsen says:

Suicide is the dark side of the student lending crisis and, despite all the media attention to the issue of student loans, it’s been severely under-reported. I can’t ignore it though, because I’m an advocate for people who are struggling to pay their student loans, and I’ve been receiving suicidal comments for over two years and occasionally hearing reports of actual suicides. More people are being forced into untenable financial circumstances as outstanding student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. Currently, 36 million Americans have outstanding federal loans.

I first started appreciating the depth of the problem of suicidal debtors a few years ago, with a post on my blog, All Education Matters, entitled, “Suicide Among Student Debtors: Who’s Thought About It?” I was stunned by the responses. In comment after comment, people confessed to feeling suicidal.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading