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A diploma mill (also known as a degree mill) is an organization that awards academic degrees and diplomas with substandard or no academic study and/or without recognition by official educational accrediting bodies. The purchaser can then claim to hold an academic degree, and the organization is motivated almost exclusively by a profit.

This fast-growing American industry has become a conspicuous beneficiary of the recession: shady for-profit colleges and trade schools that are mostly oriented getting government funding and pushing loans, not so much in providing education. Most of them have IT programs. One problem is the cost which is often several times (yes times) higher that in a typical community college while the level is the same of worse.  Prerequisites for enrolling are usually minimal, if exist at all. Like in subprime housing loans industry that main incentive in not education but growth of enrollment (and profit) at all costs. As one NYT poster noted:

This is a replica of the subprime fraud. Government guaranteed loans, with the tease of temporarily low interest rates, attract profit-making "capitalists" to the public trough. The school recruiters are the real estate agents, the financial aid department is the mortgage broker, and dream sold to the poor is the same: middle class living.

Some of the them are pretty close to racket:

Vinaya Saijwani, Princeton Junction NJ March 14th, 2010

Another racket: the massage therapist school, which requires you to buy a massage table at over $300. Yet another racket: the English as a Second Language School which charges $3500 and up for 8 weeks. The latter is favored by East Europeans, Russians and South Americans as an easy student visa into the US. The "student" can continue on the F1 visa, allegedly "studying" English, while working illegally to meet living expenses.

This shady industry can be called "subprime education industry" but not educational institutions. In essence along with legit institutions we have another army of con artists praying on the gullible and hunting for Pell grants and like.  You should not cast all "for profits" into the same category. Some for-profit, like vendor training (Sun, Oracle, IBM, etc),  provide pretty high quality. For example, for IT I can mentions Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) courses; they are very expensive  ($5K per week, but you can get a discount, if you order a package of 4 or more courses), but they do provide knowledge necessary for, say, Unix sysadmin job. Sun certification and Red Hat certification are pretty highly valued on marketplace. At the same time Sun (now Oracle) does provide some free high quality online training (see Oracle Open Learning Center)

In 2009 the average yearly tuition in "for profit" private colleges was about $14,000, compared with $2,500 at a community college.  Quality of education in private colleges is the same or lower.  Unless you are getting education assistance from you employee think twice before enrolling into more expensive school.

That does not mean that classic state colleges are paradises. They have their problems and quality of education deteriorated recently, but still they are educational institutions not "diploma mills".  In any case education only addresses the "supply side" of the employment equation. The problem is a lack of transparency of the "demand side." What degrees will actually be required by tomorrow's economy?  For example IT was in demand ten years ago. Not so much now. What about 10 years from now ?  It is difficult to see "employment prospectus" for any degree program without spending some time in the industry. This is a Catch 22 situation. Watch out for regular colleges  false advertisement too. It can be in reality a huge surplus in particular specialty, like now in IT, but college will gladly take your tuition money. You need carefully analyze trends and wait your chances before jumping into water. 

One of the US's advantages is the community college system.  There is nothing quite like it elsewhere. It allows inexpensive education for every citizen. Also it helps to train yourself for a new job.

While I dislike the profiteering prevalent in a subprime private education, to suggest that conventional schools don't have similar problems is, in my experience, simply hypocrisy! But any state university cannot raise tuition without the consent of the legislature.

 In any case recession is a typical 'blood in the water' environment, and the little fish are being gobbled up by the subprime education sharks. There are several signs that a particular school belongs to "subprime education industry". Among them:

The key idea is to bury the student in as much debt as he/she can bear. That can be achieved in two ways: to give education in the area where there is no jobs or to give subprime education in the  area with some job prospects. The key problem that  after graduation most students have crushing debt and no job.  While they might be an OK way to get an education if your company pay for it and degree improves you job prospect, paying out of the pocket often has disastrous consequences (average debt after two years of education is $50K).

A rule of thumb for prospective borrowers : the total $$ value of loans that you can reasonably be able to pay back should be equal to the yearly income you can reasonably expect to make at prevaling entry level wages for the position (not promised wages). Do your homework!

In almost all such cases community colleges and/or local state university are a much better deal (up to 80% chaper). They also have an additional discount for in-state students. They have their warts too, but still they less of a hunters for other people money. 

There is a traditional relationship between matching means and cost in education. Typically, families of lesser financial means seek lower cost colleges in order to maximize the available Title IV loans and grants — thereby getting the most out of every dollar and minimizing debt burdens.

The for-profit model seeks to recruit those with the greatest financial need and put them in high cost institutions. This formula maximizes the amount of Title IV loans and grants that these students receive.

With billboards lining the poorest neighborhoods in America and recruiters trolling casinos and homeless shelters (and I mean that literally), the for-profits have become increasingly adept at pitching the dream of a better life and higher earnings to the most vulnerable of society.

If the industry in fact educated its students and got them good jobs that enabled them to receive higher incomes and to pay off their student loans, everything I’ve just said would be irrelevant.

So the key question to ask is — what do these students get for their education? In many cases, NOT much, not much at all.

At one Corinthian Colleges-owned Everest College campus in California, students paid $16,000 for an eight-month course in medical assisting. Upon nearing completion, the students learned that not only would their credits not transfer to any community or four-year college, but also that their degree is not recognized by the American Association for Medical Assistants. Hospitals refuse to even interview graduates.

And look at drop-out rates. Companies don’t fully disclose graduation rates, but using both DOE data and company-provided information, I calculate drop out rates of most schools are 50%-plus per year.

Default rates on student loans are already starting to skyrocket. It’s just like subprime — which grew at any cost and kept weakening its underwriting standards to grow.

Many of those institutions are in reality do have decent teachers and do not provide the knowledge necessary for the position or are put in a situation when no matter how they teach they will fail (for example, how you can teach a meaningful class in software testing, if half of your class needs help with Windows). Small private courses often take anybody from the street and do not check for any eligibility requirements. That reminds that approach used in subprime marketing schemes ("high education for anybody with pulse"). 

Here are a couple of quotes from Wikipedia about discovered controversies that provide some useful input in the decision making process. Again you need to understand that this is not black and white situation. Individual circumstances differ (for example already employed in the given specialty people vs. unemployed just out of high school)  and what is poison of one can be a cure for another: 

ITT Technical Institute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


ITT Technical Institute has been involved in several controversies over its business and academic practices, the most famous of which are listed below.

University of Phoenix - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The University of Phoenix has been the subject of legal and regulatory controversies as a result of its student recruitment practices and accelerated academic schedule. There has also been concern expressed by former students, employees, and academics that in its quest for higher profits, the university has compromised academic quality.[26][27][28][60]

Its reputation is fraying as prominent educators, students and some of its own former administrators say the relentless pressure for higher profits, at a university that gets more federal student financial aid than any other, has eroded academic quality.[27]

The student-led learning teams that abbreviate class schedules and substitute for direct instruction time, the use of part-time faculty, high-pressure sales techniques, coupled with minimal acceptance standards to degree programs and low graduation rates as measured by Department of Education standards are some of the sources of this perception.[26][27][28]

The concern that its quality of education is too basic is echoed by its collegiate peers.

'[Its] business degree is an M.B.A. Lite,' said Henry M. Levin, a professor of higher education at Teachers College at Columbia University. “I’ve looked at [its] course materials. It’s a very low level of instruction.”[27]

An instructor at the university explained that he could only cover a fraction of the syllabus because he said that the university required him to cram too much information into too few sessions.[27]

[edit] Legal and regulatory actions

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education provided a preliminary report to the university that cited untimely return of unearned Title IV funds for more than 10 percent of sampled students. The report also expressed a concern that some students enroll and begin attending classes before completely understanding the implications of enrollment, including their eligibility for student financial aid. As a result, in January 2010, its parent company, Apollo Group Inc., was required to post a letter of credit for $125 million by January 30 of the same year.[61]

A 2003 federal whistle-blower/false-claims lawsuit filed by two former UOPX admission counselors alleged that the university improperly obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid by paying its admission counselors solely based on the number of students they enrolled in violation of the Higher Education Act.[26][27][62][63][64] The school counters that the lawsuit is a legal manipulation by two former university employees over a matter previously resolved with the U.S. Department of Education,[65] however the Department does not share that view.[66] UOPX's position was rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its 2006 published opinion, which reversed the Eastern California U.S. District Court's 2004 decision dismissing the lawsuit.[67][68] The lawsuit was set for trial on March 9, 2010.[69] In December 2009, Apollo agreed to settle the dispute by paying the United States $67.5 million, without acknowledging any wrongdoing. In addition, Apollo will pay the plaintiff's attorneys $11 million.[60][70]

In 2004, as a result of the filing of the false-claims lawsuit, the Department of Education performed a program review and alleged that UOPX had violated Higher Education Act provisions that prohibit distributing financial incentives to admission representatives, had pressured its recruiters to enroll students, and had concealed the practices from the Department.[71] UOPX disputed the findings but paid a record $9.8 million dollar fine as part of a settlement where it admitted no wrongdoing and was not required to return any financial aid funds.[72][73][74][75] UOPX's President states that though recruiters are paid a commission based on the number of students enrolled, their compensation is not based solely on that criteria, which makes the practice legal.[28]

In January 2008, the university’s parent company, Apollo Group Inc., was found guilty of misleading stockholders when it withheld the results of the 2004 Program Review cited above. A jury awarded $280 million to shareholders.[76][77] However, U.S. District Judge James Teilborg overturned the verdict in August 2008, ruling that though UOPX misled the market, investors failed to prove that they were damaged by UOPX's actions.[78][79] The plaintiffs have appealed the judges' decision,[80] and the verdict requiring the payment was reinstated on June 23, 2010.[81]

In 2000, government auditors found UOPX did not meet conditions for including study-group meetings as instructional hours, thus its courses fell short of the minimum time required for federal aid programs. The university paid a $6 million fine as part of a settlement wherein it admitted no wrongdoing. However, in 2002, the Department of Education relaxed requirements covering instructional hours.[26][27][82]

The U.S. Department of Education ordered the university to pay $650,000 for failing to promptly refund loans and grants for students who withdrew.[26]

In December 2008, three former University of Phoenix students filed a class-action complaint against UOPX, alleging that when the students withdrew, UOPX returned their entire loan money to the lender and then sought repayment from them.[83] The alleged motivation was to "artificially deflate the cohort default rates", which impact a school's eligibility to receive Title IV funding.[84][85] Apollo asserts that the students claim is that Apollo "improperly returned the entire amount of the students' federal loan funds to the lender."[86] On January 21, 2009, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice to refiling.[87] That suit was refiled in the Central District of California and is currently pending (Case No. 2:09cv00904-Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank).

The university has had various labor and discrimination issues. It paid $3.5 million to settle alleged violation of overtime compensation provision with the Department of Labor.[88][89] In November 2008 it agreed to pay $1.89 million to settle allegations by the EEOC for alleged religious discrimination favoring Mormon enrollment counselors.[90] In settling these matters, University of Phoenix did not admit any liability or wrongdoing.

DeVry University - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In 1995, DeVry was suspended from Ontario's student loan program after a large number of its students misreported their income. DeVry was reinstated after paying fines of CAD$1.7 million and putting up a bond of CAD$2 million.[21]

In 1996, students of DeVry's Toronto campus filed a class-action suit claiming poor educational quality and job preparation; the suit was dismissed on technical grounds.[22][23][24]

In November 2000, Afshin Zarinebaf, Ali Mousavi and another graduate of one of DeVry University’s Chicago-area campuses filed a class-action lawsuit accusing DeVry of widespread deception, unlawful business practices and false advertising and alleging that students were not being prepared for high tech jobs.[25] The lawsuit contributed to a 20% slide in the company's stock.[26] The class was not certified and the case was resolved for less than $25,000 in June 2006.[27]

In 2001, DeVry obtained permission from the Alberta government to grant degrees, on recommendation by the Private Colleges Accreditation Board.[28] This decision was opposed by the Alberta New Democratic Party (sitting in opposition), the University of Calgary Faculty Association, the Canadian Federation of Students, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. (The concerns raised are similar to those about other private institutions).[29] The NDP claimed conflict of interest as John Ballheim served as both the president of DeVry's Calgary campus and a member of the Premier of Alberta's special advisory council on postsecondary education.[30]

In January 2002, Royal Gardner, a graduate of one of DeVry University’s Los Angeles-area campuses, filed a class-action complaint against DeVry Inc. and DeVry University, Inc. on behalf of students in the post-baccalaureate degree program in Information Technology. The suit alleged that the nature of the program was misrepresented by the advertising. The lawsuit was dismissed and refiled. During the first quarter of 2004, a new complaint was filed in the same court by Gavino Teanio with the same general allegations. This action was stayed pending the outcome of the Gardner lawsuit. The lawsuits were being settled in late 2006.[27]

In April 2007 the State of New York settled with three schools that were participating in questionable student loan practices. DeVry, Career Education Corporation, & Washington University in St. Louis were involved with the settlement. DeVry agreed to refund $88,122 back to students.[31]

Here is a typical scenario when after "education" you have nothing but a huge debt: 

Yasmine Issa, a single mother of twins from Yonkers, N.Y., testified how the Sanford Brown Institute in White Plains made several promises and actively pursued her until she enrolled in its ultrasound technician’s program.

She borrowed $15,000 of the $32,000 she paid to attend the school but did not discover until after graduation that the program is not accredited although the school is and that she would not be able to find a job in that field. Issa later found a local community college that offers an accredited ultrasound program at half the cost. When she inquired about enrolling there, Issa was told the school would not accept a transfer of credits from Sanford Brown.

“The closest that I have come to a real ultrasound job was the two months when I worked as a temp for a private doctor while his ultrasound tech was on vacation,” she told lawmakers. “It’s hard to find any work without a marketable skill, but going to Sanford Brown to get one has left my family and me worse off than if I had never gone back to school.”

Another example:

Placing the Blame as Students Are Buried in Debt.

Like many middle-class families, Cortney Munna and her mother began the college selection process with a grim determination. They would do whatever they could to get Cortney into the best possible college, and they maintained a blind faith that the investment would be worth it.

Today, however, Ms. Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University, has nearly $100,000 in student loan debt from her four years in college, and affording the full monthly payments would be a struggle. For much of the time since her 2005 graduation, she's been enrolled in night school, which allows her to defer loan payments.

This is not a long-term solution, because the interest on the loans continues to pile up. So in an eerie echo of the mortgage crisis, tens of thousands of people like Ms. Munna are facing a reckoning. They and their families made borrowing decisions based more on emotion than reason, much as subprime borrowers assumed the value of their houses would always go up.

The Project on Student Debt, a research and advocacy organization in Oakland, Calif., used federal data to estimate that 206,000 people graduated from college (including many from for-profit universities) with more than $40,000 in student loan debt in that same period. That's a ninefold increase over the number of people in 1996, using 2008 dollars.

No one forces borrowers to take out these loans, and Ms. Munna and her mother, Cathryn, have spent the years since her graduation trying to understand where they went wrong.

She started college at age 17 and borrowed as much money as she could under the federal loan program. To make up the difference between her grants and work study money and the total cost of attending, her mother co-signed two private loans with Sallie Mae totaling about $20,000.

When they applied for a third loan, however, Sallie Mae rejected the application, citing Cathryn's credit history. She had returned to college herself to finish her bachelor's degree and was also borrowing money. N.Y.U. suggested a federal Plus loan for parents, but that would have required immediate payments, something the mother couldn't afford. So before Cortney's junior year, N.Y.U. recommended that she apply for a private student loan on her own with Citibank.

Over the course of the next two years, starting when she was still a teenager, she borrowed about $40,000 from Citibank without thinking much about how she would pay it back. How could her mother have let her run up that debt, and why didn't she try to make her daughter transfer to, say, the best school in the much cheaper state university system in New York?

The balance on Cortney Munna's loans is about $97,000, including all of her federal loans and her private debt from Sallie Mae and Citibank. What are her options for digging out?

At the same time Internet created many genuine opportunities for self-education. I hope that includes Softpanorama my humble effort in CS education ;-) See for example Apr 25, 2009 post at Baseline scenario blog Why Pay Tuition?

with 14 comments

One of our goals here at The Baseline Scenario is to explain basic economics, finance, and business concepts and how they apply to the things you read about in the newspaper. I think I’m pretty good at this. But if you prefer video and diagrams, I may have found something much better (thanks to a reader suggestion).

Salman Khan has created dozens of YouTube videos covering the basics of banking, finance, and the credit crisis. (There is also a series on the Geithner Plan that doesn’t seem to be on the main index page yet.) I’ve only watched a few, but they are very clear and from what I can see everything looks accurate.

But what’s really exciting is that he also has many, many more videos on math - from pre-algebra through linear algebra and differential equations - and physics. My wife and I watched the one on the chain rule and implicit differentiation and she gave it two thumbs up. (My wife is an economics and statistics professor.) So the next time you - or your child - needs to derive the quadratic formula, just head on over to his web site. Hours and hours of fun.

Warren Buffett remarked that, "It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked.” It is the receding tide of employment that has exposed the next likely financial bubble: college debt.

Is It Worth It? One of the biggest expenses impacting the resources for your retirement is saving for your children’s college education. So, one of the important questions to ask is, is it worth it?

Much like housing, a college education has been considered a valuable asset whose worth should continue to rise. The economic value of a college education has been documented relative to a high school diploma. According to the Pew Research Center, the typical college graduate earns approximately $650,000 more than a high school graduate.

Harder Look: However, this is somewhat a disingenuous calculation. Let’s say you were to offer two potential C+ college students the following opportunity: 1) full financing of a private college education ($40,476 annually); or, 2) the equivalent lump sum of the college cost as an investment in lieu of a four year degree.

Let’s Assume the Following: 1) initial annual earnings of 25-to-29 college graduate $50,000 and $31,000 for a non-graduate; 2) annual earnings growth of 3% and 2% respectively; 3) a lump sum college cost investment growing at 5% annually. Based on a 40 year career window, this potential college student would be financially indifferent as each would generate a sum total of approximately $3.0 million over that period.

Sub-Optimal Circumstances: However, since 2000, the real cost of college is up by 23% while the real earnings of college graduates is down 11%. At the height of the economic cycle in 2006 and 2007, a college graduate had a 90% chance of being gainfully employed by the following spring. In 2010, the same odds were reduced to 56%, approximately a 40% decline. This inability to procure gainful employment has resulted in over 30% of the graduates living at home with an average of $27,000 in student loans which has translated into a rising loan default rate of 8.9%

Why It’s Personal: While we may shrug this off as too bad for them, it has financial implications for the taxpayers. U.S. student loan balances are now approaching $1 trillion with almost 40% being added since 2006. It now surpasses credit card debt totals and is second only to mortgages as consumer liabilities. Given 70% of student loans are government sponsored, this means like the banks, taxpayers are on the hook for non-payment — although, student loans aren’t forgiven in a personal bankruptcy … try collecting.

Is There a Bubble? The classic definition of a bubble is steadily increasing price in the face of declining values where the underlying assets are heavily leveraged — in this case with government supported loans. This certainly sounds very similar to conditions that pre-existed the housing collapse.

Leading Indicator: If you want to look at a good leading indicator, you can look at the for-profit college sector. Almost half of the federal student loans made to such institutions such as Apollo (APOL), DeVry (DV), Strayer (STRA), etc., will end up in default. This has generated the “gainful employment rule” by the Department of Education regarding the ability to repay loans. In many cases the student loans couldn’t be justified relative to compensation received once graduated.

The following is a chart of the S&P Education Service Sub Industry Index (S15EDSV-IND) versus the S&P 500 ETF (SPY).

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[Jun 03, 2015] Why the Government Is Struggling to Shut Down Corinthian Colleges - Businessweek By Karen Weise

It's Hard to Shut Down a Poorly Performing For-Profit College. California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the filing of a lawsuit against the for-profit Corinthian Colleges on Oct. 10, 2013 in San Francisco

Cutting off access to the student aid spigot is probably the most important way the Department of Education can clamp down on poorly performing for-profit colleges, but doing so isn't easy-as the ongoing saga of Corinthian Colleges (COCO) shows. Today, Corinthian announced that it missed a deadline to reach an agreement with the government to wind down and sell its programs, although both it and the department expressed optimism that a plan is coming soon.

Corinthian Colleges owns 107 campuses under several for-profit chains, including the Everest Institute, Everest College, WyoTech, and Heald brands, most of them located in California. Questions about the quality of Corinthian's education have dogged the company for about a decade, and students at several of its schools have had among the highest loan-default rates in the country. California Attorney General Kamala Harris sued Corinthian in October for allegedly targeting vulnerable, low-income students with deceptive marketing that misrepresented job placement rates. Other state AGs have followed suit.

... ... ...

In January, the department began formally requesting information from Corinthian about its practices, including more details on its job placement results and responses to allegations of altered grades and attendance records. Not happy with the answers it was getting, in mid-June the Department put Corinthian on notice that it was temporarily withholding student aid money for Corinthian. Federal student aid, largely via Pell Grants and student loans, can make up to 90 percent of the revenues for for-profit colleges. Corinthian said without the government disbursement, it would run out of cash and that its existing lenders wouldn't loan it any more money.

About a week later, the Education Department reached an agreement that gave Corinthian a short-term disbursement of $16 million and a July 1 deadline to create a plan to sell off or unwind its programs by the end of the year. That deadline came and went yesterday with no official agreement.

... ... ...

The Education Department is also in the midst of a multiyear effort to formalize its process of determining which colleges provide such poor education that they should lose federal aid. For-profit colleges are fighting the department's current proposal. Whatever version of the new rules is ultimately put in place, Corinthian's example indicates the path

[May 27, 2015] The Art of the Gouge NYU as a Model for Predatory Higher Education

" a mind-numbing and degrading set of scams perpetrated on students, including the bait and switch of hitting them with extra charges they can't possibly find out about before they have committed to the school, to the tune of an estimated $10,000 per year; providing mediocre education" That's the essence of neoliberal university. Be careful and check facts before getting into "predatory neoliberal university". The list of scams they're running is impressive, but you can avoid them. Just go to your in-state public University, kids, you'll be glad you did (or at least glad you didn't go to NYU).
Under Chairman of the Board Martin Lipton and President John Sexton, New York University has been operating as a real estate development/management business with a predatory higher-education side venture. A group of 400 faculty members at NYU, Faculty Against the Sexton Plan (FASP), have been working for years against what Pam Martens has called "running NYU as a tyrannical slush fund for privileged interests." FASP just published a devastating document, The Art of the Gouge, which describes how NYU engages in a mind-numbing range of tricks and traps to extract as much in fees as possible from students, while at the same time failing to invest in and often degrading the educational "product".

The first part of the report goes through a mind-numbing and degrading set of scams perpetrated on students, including the bait and switch of hitting them with extra charges they can't possibly find out about before they have committed to the school, to the tune of an estimated $10,000 per year; providing mediocre education in programs that require "study abroad" while also requiring them to stay in grossly overpriced university housing; admitting a high proportion of foreign students, precisely because they pay higher fees (and predictably, NYU's premiums are even higher than that of other schools), and offering shamelessly overpriced, narrow, and not very good health services.

Mind you, that list only scratches the surface.

The second part, which describes how the funds are used, describes in gory detail how the school throws money at real estate empire-building, disproportionately for administrative space and housing when teaching facilities are in short supply. The third document describes how NYU is an even more extreme practitioner of squeezing the incomes of faculty while gold-plating administrator pay and perks. Consider one famous example that we discussed in 2013, Jacob Lew, who was then the presumed incoming Treasury Secretary:

Remember, Lew came from a job at NYU where he already looks to have been considerably overpaid. He received over $840,000 for the academic year 2002-2003, which had him earning more than most university presidents, including NYU's president. And on top of that, as Pam Martens ferreted out, he was apparently given a $1.3 million house. I'm not making that up, go read her piece. The mechanism was that NYU lent the $1.3 million to buy the house to Lew and then forgave it over five years. Oh, and they paid him the money to pay the interest too. We will assume that the forgiveness of debt was reported properly to the IRS.

Pam Martens has long been bird-dogging the grifting at NYU. As she wrote later in 2013:

In September 2009, the New York Times published a remarkable exercise in inanity, profiling John Sexton, President of NYU..

We don't, for example, learn from the interview that his home on Fire Island has been financed since 1994 by several million dollars in loans from the NYU School of Law Foundation and NYU itself…

This is not the only residence that NYU has made possible for its President. He has the use of two well appointed apartments owned by NYU in Manhattan. Sexton, who turned 70 in September, is also set to receive a length of service bonus of $2.5 million in 2015 and an annual pension of $800,000 when he retires. That pension is the equivalent of NYU taking $10 million of its assets and placing them in an immediate annuity for Sexton.

Sexton has plenty of company when it comes to getting out of the city in the summer through the generosity of NYU. Richard Tsien, Director of the NYU Neuroscience Institute, bought a house in East Fishkill, New York, 76 miles from the university, for $1,125,000 in February 2012 with $500,000 in financing from NYU. According to an online description, it's a stone house on 7 park-like acres with a flowing stream and a functioning 12-foot water wheel.

Numerous other NYU professors have country homes financed by the NYU School of Law Foundation or NYU. Between primary residences and vacation homes, NYU and its affiliated nonprofits have an estimated $72 million to $96 million outstanding in loans to faculty and administrators. The university has acknowledged 168 loans.

So the sort of conduct documented in these three reports is no surprise if you've been following this story, but having them documented in so much detail is devastating. I hope you'll read them and circulate them widely, above all to parents whose children might be considering applying to NYU.

Elizabeth, May 22, 2015 at 7:54 am

I'm an NYU grad and my son started there a few years ago. In that 30 years, the cost of housing roughly doubled, while the cost of tuition roughly quadrupled. So, Forbes' "pocketbook demands of living in New York" rationale doesn't really fly. The cost of educating a student there must be less now, in the era of faculty serfdom. I wonder if one reason the tuition has skyrocketed is because student loans are so easy to get – often "guaranteed." Maybe the university charges as much as the families can borrow?

sufferin'succotash, May 22, 2015 at 8:12 am

It's known as preparing students for the wider world.

hemeantwell, May 22, 2015 at 8:26 am

Here's another link to a Doug Henwood KPFA interview, this time with Christy Thornton, a grad student at NYU who was part of a recent successful organizing drive among teaching assistants. It's particularly good on NYU's corporate-mimicking multinational strategy, funded by jacking up student fees. The Thornton interview is the second half.

Jim Haygood, May 22, 2015 at 9:45 am

Higher education, comrades: as with options, the big profits accrue to the seller, not the buyer. Is anyone surprised that, like our Dear Leader, NYU's John Sexton is a Harvard Law grad? It's not the musty old tomes on torts and trusts, but the lifelong networking with fellow toffs and racketeers that pays off big time.

An NYT article just revealed the biz model:

Seen from the Internet [sic], it is a vast education empire: hundreds of universities and high schools, with elegant names and smiling professors at sun-dappled American campuses.

Their websites, glossy and assured, offer online degrees in dozens of disciplines, like nursing and civil engineering.

Yet on closer examination, this picture shimmers like a mirage. The news reports are fabricated. The professors are paid actors. The university campuses exist only as stock photos on computer servers. The degrees have no true accreditation.

What other kind of biz gets customers lined up and pounding on the door to get in? I love it!

So I'm starting my own educational empire: Harward, Yates and Princetown. They're all members of the prestigious Hanseatic League, and are accredited by IATA (the International Academic Transcript Authority).

Don't miss our summer sale, at only $995 a credit hour. We accept Paypal and Bitcoin. Enter to win a free PhD Econ degree if you sign up by June 30th!

washunate, May 22, 2015 at 5:33 pm

His bio really is a fantastic who's who of what's wrong with our leadership class. He's a banker lawyer professor extraordinaire. And he's got quite a doctor running the med center.

President Sexton is Chair of the Independent Colleges and Universities of New York, Chair of the New York Academy of Sciences, and Vice Chair of the American Council on Education. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of both the Association of American University Presidents and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served as the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (2003-2006) and Chair of the Federal Reserve Systems Council of Chairs (2006). He served as a Board Member for the National Association of Securities Dealers (1996-1998), and was Founding Chair of the Board of NASD Dispute Resolution (2000-2002). He also serves on the Boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Institute of International Education and the Association for a Better New York. While Dean of the Law School he was President of the Association of American Law Schools.

sd, May 22, 2015 at 10:05 am

NYU had a scam going with student loans back in the 1980s that finally got exposed in the 1990s. It's almost impossible to find anything about it now. The story never seemed to grow legs.

Michael Hudson, May 22, 2015 at 10:18 am

NYU is to education what Scientology is to religion.

Remember a generation ago, when NYU bought a spaghetti factory and claimed tax deductibility for its profits because the spaghetti was part of a tax-exempt "educational institution."

There's a metaphor here.

diptherio, May 22, 2015 at 10:29 am

But, but…they're in New York City and everybody knows that whatever happens in NYC is better, and more advanced and more important–and just more real–than things that happen anywhere else in the country! Everybody knows that. NYU may have it's share of problems, but at least it's not located in some lame city in Missouri….jeesh!

Jim Haygood, May 22, 2015 at 11:00 am

"NYU bought a spaghetti factory"

How else are you gonna learn to write C code?

Plus it served as a case study for vertical integration of campus food services.

Got my doctorate in Motorcycle Mechanics there, based on lifetime experience in benching and wrenching.

diptherio, May 22, 2015 at 10:26 am

I'll just note that "non-refundable deposit" is an oxymoron.

The list of scams they're running is impressive, but in a bad way…go to your in-state public University, kids, you'll be glad you did (or at least glad you didn't go to NYU).

George Phillies, May 22, 2015 at 11:04 am

Readers may find of some interest

The high salaries sometimes percolate down the ladder.

Rosario, May 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Today's universities only offer potentially three valuable opportunities for students: facilities (at huge cost covered by tuition), faculty (sometimes), and peers (the best of the three, think students as laborers versus employer with the potential for unionizing).

Students no longer attend universities as hubs of knowledge or information. They are hubs of opportunity. By analogy, it is like paying for the opportunity to get an interview at some high paying job.

Thus why attending NYU, Harvard, MIT, etc. is a must for any social climber, and what a dream in NYC with cocktail parties and beautiful people abound in the midst of perpetual fantasy.


May 22, 2015 at 4:17 pm

The top 10 reasons why NYU bureaucrats get pay and perks worth millions . . .

Reason $10. You gotta show the kids how da woiled woiks

Reason $9. When you hire the students as hookers, you can afford to pay an internationally competitive fee

Reason $8. They want their own rung in Dante's inferno! Whoa!

Reason $7. Take a look at Raphael's School at Athens then think about all the marble and pillars. That's not a low rent operation.

Reason $6. They're too old to have their toga parties in a frat house.

Reason $5. When you live and work in NYU mansions, you're always on the job! Isn't that worth overtime pay?

Reason $4. They say they're salesmen and salesmen make a lot of money. OK bucko?

Reason $3. Buildings are taller in New York than most other places. So there's more to administer

Reason $2. They say they don't need a reason.

and Reason $1 why NYU bureaucrats get pay and perks worth millions . . . drum roll please . . . They're not really sure, but they've hired themselves as high-priced consultants to figure it out!!! . . whoa! ka-ching!

ginnie nyc, May 22, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Wow, Yves, thanks for posting this report. I made the very expensive mistake of enrolling in grad school at NYU in the early '90's – the degree of fraud and shaving, simply in the academic sense, was astonishing. My advisor was nowhere to be found after classes began for the entire first year; they lied about who headed my department (no one), and when someone was finally hired at year's end, he was an administrative hack from within who had absolutely no foundation in the department, the division, or any related discipline. All my 'professors' except one were much-abused adjuncts.

The main library, Bobst, is a fitting monument to its pederast donor (look it up). A good deal of the collection was 'missing' or heavily vandalized; the NY Public Libraries books in circulation are in much better shape with far more users. There were no carrells for masters candidates in the library, for love or money. Most of the library's cubic footage is occupied by a vast, central atrium that travels the height of the building, with the book collection squeezed around the periphery. This atrium is a favorite place for stressed students to end it all.

I decided to take some courses at their IFA (Institute of Fine Arts), which is near the Metropolitan Museum. The administrator there refused to let me enroll as I was not "in the school". I thought about this, called the professors directly, got signed letters from them (naturally), and happily returned to give the admin apoplexy. None of this crap took place when I was an undergrad at Penn – I never had a problem enrolling in PhD classes, administratively, whether inside or outside my school.

New York University is not a university, it's a random collection of isolated departments and special institutes created around famous, very expensive names, who usually do not stay beyond 4 or 5 years. It costs more than Columbia, which is Ivy League, for what that's worth, and took me 15 years to pay off. Even after I had to go on SSDI, which was helluva lot of fun.

Michael Fiorillo, May 22, 2015 at 8:40 pm

As a lifelong Villager, NYU has always been The Enemy, and it has been a stock phrase of mine for a generation that it's a real estate development company with a higher education subsidiary.

The university is a classic example of how geography is destiny, since for years it was a second-tier commuter school that happened to be located in a globally-hyped youth ghetto (which it then institutionalized). In many respects, it's still a second-tier school (worse, given their extreme grabbiness) tarted up with some celebrity academics that students, treated like rubes, will never see.

From personal experience, I know that most departments are profit centers. Twenty years ago, I got a Master's degree in education (and, to be fair, they gave me a fairly generous financial aid package). I had young children, so it was mostly a matter of convenience. Of the dozen classes I took, apart from student teaching and observations, only three were taught by full-time, tenured faculty. The others were taught by adjuncts and TAs who ranged from OK to really terrible.

That was graduate school; I hate to think of the poor, deluded kids who can't afford the extortionate hustle of attending this school, indebting themselves for many years to do so.

Fool, May 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm

You're not alone. NYU ruined New York City for all of us.

lord koos, May 24, 2015 at 12:03 am

Universities are now just another institution to loot. This piece reminds me of a scene in the 2014 documentary "Ivory Tower", which if people haven't seen, they really need to. Although I'm sure many readers here are familiar with the story of Cooper Union, there is an interview with the University president that is a priceless peek at the looting class.

He basically squandered Cooper Union's legacy by taking the college's money and gambling it in the stock market a little before the crash of 2008 and by spending $170,000,000 of the college's money on a building that was not really needed. A school that had been pretty much funded in perpetuity (Cooper Union owns the land under the Chrysler building), became indebted for millions of dollars and they now must charge students to attend, as well as having to sell off assets. I can't believe the guy is still president of the school.

Lambert Strether, May 24, 2015 at 12:41 am

NC: "How Is It Possible That the Trustees at Cooper Union Have Not Resigned in Shame?"

[Oct 27, 2011] dysfunctional-system-bankrupts-generation

By Wolf Richter

Tuition has done it again: up by 8.3% for universities and by 8.7% for community colleges, according to the College Board. Here in California, tuition increases are outright ridiculous. Much of it will be paid for with student loans (though grants, scholarships, other aid, and tax credits will cover some of it). Student loan debt will exceed $1 trillion by the end of the year-a stunning amount. But unlike other debt, it cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy.

The skyrocketing costs of higher education add to the strains already weighing down the middle class whose median household income has fallen 9.8% between December 2007 and June 2011 (Sentier Research) and whose real wages have declined 1.8% over last year (BLS) and around 9% since their peak in 1999.

We all support education; we want the next generation to be productive. So now, under increased pressure to "do something," the Obama administration has come up with a Band-Aid, which includes income-based payment limits and ultimate debt forgiveness in certain cases-an accelerated implementation of program improvements that would have taken effect in 2014. Looking forward, it is likely that more taxpayer funded relief is on the way.

But the system itself is dysfunctional. The cause: a misalignment of interests within the complex relationships between students, universities, the student-loan industry, and the federal government.

Universities are businesses, and businesses have the natural purpose to charge the maximum price the market will bear. But unlike Walmart or the shop down the street, universities operate in a system that has become devoid of market forces, and when they demand higher tuition, the whole system falls in line to support those increases:

As a consequence, university budgets have become huge. Administrator salaries, bonuses, benefits, golden parachutes, and pensions have shocked the public when they're exposed in the media. Programs that have little or nothing to do with education swallow up more and more money. And sure, everybody loves to have well-equipped labs.


Tuition is high in part because people are lazy. Instead of going to a junior college, working while they do it, then move up to a better paying job and then continuing their education as they can pay for it, they go for the fulltime 4-10 yrs of college to get a big degree while they party. Then when they get out of college they expect to be made CEO of some company. 'Cause they don't like real work.

in other words it is the same old credit-based society and the inflation that goes with it. Don't blame anyone but the participants. gh

blindman MONEY: Before Ron Paul, was Merrill M.E. Jenkins Sr. (M.R.) . MONEY: Before Ron Paul, was Merrill Jenkins (M.R.) 2 . MONEY: Before Ron Paul, was Merrill Jenkins (M.R.) 3 . MONEY: Before Ron Paul, was Merrill Jenkins (M.R.) 4 . ...etc.


What do you call it again when cheap subisidized credit is chasing a modestly constrained resource (a degree) produced by a tax subsidized entity? a bubble? hell yeah. time to eliminate the exemptions for nonprofits education...


Missing in the "income-based" student loan repayment is that if the government "discovers" cost savings 15 years from now by not allowing the debt to be forgiven, it becomes a permanent 10% income tax increase. It's how you sneak in an income tax increase to a generation of debt slaves.


It seems to me that education has been very slow to adopt technology. I mean attending lectures is just a waste of everyone's time when the subject matter could be better covered online. By adopting online study programs, courses could be shorter, especially for students who are prepared to work harder, and staff numbers could be reduced. But, of course...........

Mark Pappa .

..Colleges have the most bloated administrative staffs I have ever seen. Who would ever quit when their kids gets to attend the college for free. In CT, they are giving in state tuition to illegal immigrants, squeezing out the in state tax payers. System is insane.


I had always planned for my kids to be able to go to harvard or some other expensive private school. However i wont qualify for financial aid.

I now think they are much better off skipping harvard and me just giving them a couple hundred thousand.

Being born in the mid sixties I was part of the last group that could benefit from getting as much of the most expensive education possible. That strategy for success is no longer valid.


I had always planned for my kids to be able to go to harvard or some other expensive private school. However i wont qualify for financial aid.

I now think they are much better off skipping harvard and me just giving them a couple hundred thousand.

Being born in the mid sixties I was part of the last group that could benefit from getting as much of the most expensive education possible. That strategy for success is no longer valid.

Your biggest mistake was working hard and making a large income, as well as being white. I'll bet you feel pretty damn stoopid. Here, I'll help you improve your plans for your kids; convert your 'couple a hundred thousand' into shiny PMs, then give them to them...

...and why go to Harvard now? Would be terrible to graduate into the 'elite' just when people start hanging them from lampposts by the thousands, right?

| AldousHuxley

Employee name Job title Campus Overtime pay Gross payDescending Tedford, Jeff Head Coach-Intercolg Athletics Berkeley $0 $2,342,315 Howland, Benjamin Clark Coach, Intercol Athletics,Head Los Angeles $0 $2,058,475 Busuttil, Ronald W Professor-Medcomp-A Los Angeles $0 $1,776,404 Leboit, Philip E Prof Of Clin___-Medcomp-A San Francisco $0 $1,574,392 Mccalmont, Timothy H Prof Of Clin___-Medcomp-A San Francisco $0 $1,573,494 Shemin, Richard J Professor-Medcomp-A Los Angeles $0 $1,400,000 Neuheisel, Richard Gerald Coach, Intercol Athletics,Head Los Angeles $0 $1,290,136 Azakie, Anthony Assoc Prof In Res-Medcomp-A San Francisco $0 $1,098,588 Ames, Christopher P Aso Prof Of Clin___-Medcomp-A San Francisco $0 $945,407 Montgomery, Michael J. Head Coach-Intercolg Athletics Berkeley $0 $918,562 Weinreb, Robert N. Professor-Medcomp-A San Diego $0 $869,436 Lawton, Michael T Prof In Res-Medcomp-A San Francisco $0 $821,468 Esmailian, Fardad Hs Clin Prof-Medcomp-A Los Angeles $0 $815,958 Reemtsen, Brian L Hs Asst Clin Prof-Medcomp-A Los Angeles $0 $813,937 Berggren, Marie N Treasurer Of The Regents Office of the President $0 $810,341 Jamieson, Stuart W Professor-Medcomp-A San Diego $0 $807,500 Gershwin, Merrill E Professor-Medcomp-A Davis $0 $796,135 Prusiner, Stanley B Professor-Medcomp-A San Francisco $0 $795,574 Schanzlin, David J. Prof Of Clin___-Medcomp-A San Diego $0 $793,000 Vail, Thomas P Professor-Medcomp-A San Francisco $0 $780,000

Read more:

Read more:


Internet exposes educational system's corruption.

Six figure salaries for teachers in OHIO:

Check out AXNER DAVID's $180k/year salary while working only 260 days a year!

Year Name District Building Salary Days Worked 2007 ABEGGLEN JOHN W. West Clermont Local West Clermont Local $121,034.00 218 2008 ABEGGLEN JOHN W. West Clermont Local West Clermont Local $123,454.00 218 2010 ACKERMAN JILL A. Lima City Lima City $102,000.00 260 2011 ACKERMAN JILL A. Lima City Lima City SD $104,040.00 260 2011 ACKERMANN TIMOTHY A. Milford Exempted Village Milford Ex Vill SD $102,375.00 223 2010 Acomb Michael J. Solon City Orchard Middle School $104,252.00 227 2011 Acomb Michael J. Solon City Orchard Middle School $104,252.00 227 2011 ACTON JAMES F. Finneytown Local Finneytown Local SD $104,981.00 265 2007 AdamsJohn Willoughby-Eastlake City Willoughby-Eastlake City $117,147.00 261 2008 AdamsJohn Willoughby-Eastlake City Willoughby-Eastlake City $117,147.00 261 2008 AdamsJennie Berea City Berea City $104,864.00 260 2009 AdamsJohn Willoughby-Eastlake City Willoughby-Eastlake City $123,675.00 261 2009 AdamsJennie Berea City Berea City $107,333.00 260 2010 AdamsJohn Willoughby-Eastlake City Willoughby-Eastlake City $123,675.00 261 2010 AdamsJennie Berea City Berea City $109,451.00 260 2011 ADAMS NATASHA L. Forest Hills Local Nagel Middle School $103,384.00 232 2011 ADAMS WILLIAM J. Revere Local Revere High School $100,410.00 248 2011 AdamsJohn Willoughby-Eastlake City Willoughby-Eastlake City SD $123,675.00 261 2011 AdamsJennie Berea City Berea City SD $113,573.00 260 2011 ADEN MARC E Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Cleveland Heights High School $101,914.00 220 2010 ADKINS MARY-ANNE Aurora City Craddock/Miller Elementary School $101,004.00 185 2011 ADKINS MARY-ANNE Aurora City Craddock/Miller Elementary School $101,004.00 185 2011 ADKINS PATRICK D. Port Clinton City Port Clinton City SD $100,587.00 260 2007 ADREAN ANGELA A. Gahanna-Jefferson City Gahanna South Middle School $105,209.00 220 2008 ADREAN ANGELA A. Gahanna-Jefferson City Gahanna South Middle School $109,646.00 220 2009 ADREAN ANGELA A. Gahanna-Jefferson City Gahanna South Middle School $114,254.00 220 2010 ADREAN ANGELA A. Gahanna-Jefferson City Gahanna South Middle School $119,039.00 220 2011 ADREAN ANGELA A. Gahanna-Jefferson City Gahanna South Middle School $120,397.00 220 2007 AERNI KENNETH H. Maumee City Maumee City $110,626.00 223 2008 AERNI KENNETH H. Maumee City Maumee City $114,461.00 224 2009 AERNI KENNETH H. Maumee City Maumee City $118,430.00 224 2010 AERNI KENNETH H. Maumee City Maumee City $118,430.00 224 2011 AERNI KENNETH H. Maumee City Maumee City SD $120,759.00 223 2010 AHO MARTIN H. Twinsburg City Twinsburg City $106,446.00 260 2011 AHO MARTIN H. Twinsburg City Twinsburg City SD $108,166.00 260 2011 Aker Jeffrey C. Solon City Solon High School $102,694.00 186 2007 ALEXANDER GLENN C. Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr $121,550.00 261 2007 ALEXANDER GLENN C. Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr $121,550.00 132 2008 ALEXANDER GLENN C. Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr $121,550.00 261 2009 ALEXANDER GLENN C. Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr $121,550.00 261 2010 ALEXANDER GLENN C. Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr $121,550.00 261 2011 ALEXANDER GLENN C. Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr Clermont County Educ Serv Cntr $121,550.00 261 2007 ALEXANDER RAMI CAROLINE J. Olmsted Falls City Olmsted Falls City $112,054.00 227 2008 ALEXANDER RAMI CAROLINE J. Olmsted Falls City Olmsted Falls High School $112,718.00 227 2009 ALEXANDER RAMI CAROLINE J. Olmsted Falls City Olmsted Falls High School $112,718.00 227 2011 ALEXANDER-JONES SHIRLEY L Columbus City School District Columbus City Schools City SD $103,332.06 260 2010 ALIG JANA M. Reynoldsburg City French Run Elementary School $101,674.00 232 2011 ALIG JANA M. Reynoldsburg City Herbert Mills Elementary School $101,674.00 232 2007 ALLEN DAVID L. Mason City School District William Mason High School $111,330.00 261 2007 ALLEN DENNIS L. Rocky River City Rocky River City $134,780.00 261 2007 ALLEN DONALD S. London City London City $105,400.00 260 2007 ALLEN ALFRED Gahanna-Jefferson City Lincoln High School $102,310.00 220 2008 ALLEN ALFRED Gahanna-Jefferson City Lincoln High School $111,097.00 261 2008 ALLEN NANCY S. Centerville City Centerville City $109,930.00 224 2008 ALLEN DAVID L. Mason City School District William Mason High School $116,238.00 262 2008 ALLEN DONALD S. London City London City $107,400.00 260 2009 ALLEN DONALD S. London City London City $111,588.00 260 2009 ALLEN ALFRED Gahanna-Jefferson City Lincoln High School $111,097.00 261 2009 ALLEN DAVID L. Mason City School District William Mason High School $121,331.00 261 2009 ALLEN NANCY S. Centerville City Centerville City $113,357.00 261 2010 ALLEN DAVID L. Mason City School District William Mason High School $121,331.00 261 2010 ALLEN DONALD S. London City London City $114,500.00 260 2010 ALLEN NANCY S. Centerville City Centerville City $113,656.00 260 2010 ALLEN DAVID L. Mason City School District Mason City School District $125,123.00 261 2011 AllenAmy R. Kettering City J F Kennedy Elementary School $101,403.00 220 2011 ALLEN MARY C Columbus City School District Oakland Park Alternative Elementary $100,022.00 260 2011 ALLEN DAVID L. Mason City School District Mason City City SD $130,194.00 260 2011 ALLEN DONALD S. London City London City SD $114,500.00 260 2009 ALLENICK DAVID S. South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Brush High School $101,120.00 215 2010 ALLENICK DAVID S. South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Brush High School $106,074.00 215 2011 ALLENICK DAVID S. South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Brush High School $106,074.00 215 2011 ALSTON ANTHONY E Columbus City School District Beechcroft High School $104,562.12 260 2007 ALTHERR EVELYN E. Middletown City Middletown City $115,781.00 225 2008 ALTHERR EVELYN E. Middletown City Middletown City $118,652.00 225 2009 ALTHERR EVELYN E. Middletown City Middletown City $118,652.00 225 2008 AMES JOHN A. Loveland City Loveland City $102,677.00 222 2009 AMES JOHN A. Loveland City Loveland City $104,637.00 222 2010 AMES JOHN A. Loveland City Loveland City $107,954.00 222 2011 AMES JOHN A. Loveland City Loveland City SD $110,560.00 222 2008 AMODIO ROBERT M. Fairfield City Fairfield City $101,499.00 228 2009 AMODIO ROBERT M. Fairfield City Fairfield City $101,499.00 228 2010 AMODIO ROBERT M. Norwood City Norwood City $105,000.00 260 2011 AMODIO ROBERT M. Norwood City Norwood City Schools City SD $105,000.00 260 2007 AMOS MICHAEL J. Oak Hills Local Oak Hills Local $107,234.00 260 2008 AMOS MICHAEL J. Oak Hills Local Oak Hills Local $107,234.00 260 2009 AMOS MICHAEL J. Oak Hills Local Oak Hills Local $117,561.00 260 2010 AMOS MICHAEL J. Oak Hills Local Oak Hills Local $117,561.00 260 2011 AMOS MICHAEL J. Oak Hills Local Oak Hills Local SD $122,310.00 260 2007 ANDERSON STEPHEN P. Jackson City Jackson City $112,255.00 260 2007 ANDERSON BART G. ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv $139,500.00 255 2008 AndersonLarry D Bellefontaine City Bellefontaine City $104,738.00 262 2008 ANDERSON STEPHEN P. Jackson City Jackson City $126,309.00 260 2008 ANDERSON BART G. ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv $145,000.00 255 2008 ANDERSON EDNA S. Columbiana County JVSD Columbiana County JVSD $101,057.00 260 2008 Anderson Dennis P. Solon City Solon City $100,288.00 260 2009 ANDERSON ELIZABETH A. Rocky River City Rocky River City $118,994.00 260 2009 ANDERSON STEPHEN P. Jackson City Jackson City $128,252.00 264 2009 ANDERSON BART G. ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv $149,350.00 255 2009 AndersonLarry D Bellefontaine City Bellefontaine City $109,975.00 261 2009 ANDERSON EDNA S. Columbiana County JVSD Columbiana County JVSD $104,594.00 260 2009 Anderson Dennis P. Solon City Solon City $104,211.00 260 2009 ANDERSON RONALD W. Greene Educ Serv Cntr Greene Educ Serv Cntr $102,870.00 190 2010 ANDERSON ELIZABETH A. Rocky River City Rocky River City $121,739.00 261 2010 ANDERSON BART G. ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv $151,590.00 212 2010 ANDERSON EDNA S. Columbiana County JVSD Columbiana County JVSD $108,046.00 260 2010 ANDERSON RONALD W. Greene Educ Serv Cntr Greene Educ Serv Cntr $106,598.00 190 2010 AndersonLarry D Bellefontaine City Bellefontaine City $109,975.00 261 2010 ANDERSON MICHAEL D. East Cleveland City School District East Cleveland City School District $100,202.00 260 2011 ANDERSON ELIZABETH A. Rocky River City Rocky River City SD $129,192.00 261 2011 ANDERSON BART G. ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv $155,590.00 212 2011 AndersonLarry D Bellefontaine City Bellefontaine City SD $109,975.00 261 2011 ANDERSON MICHAEL D. East Cleveland City School District East Cleveland City Schools Ci $109,492.00 260 2011 ANDERSON RONALD W. Greene Educ Serv Cntr Greene Educ Serv Cntr $111,750.00 190 2011 ANDERSON EDNA S. Columbiana County JVSD Columbiana County JVSD $111,612.00 260 2011 ANDRE CHARLES M. ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv ESC of Central Ohio Educ Serv $103,083.00 200 2007 ANDREWS GEOFFREY G. Polaris JVSD Polaris Career Center JVSD $106,279.00 215 2008 ANDREWS GEOFFREY G. Oberlin City Schools Oberlin City Schools $101,416.00 260 2009 ANDREWS GEOFFREY G. Oberlin City Schools Oberlin City Schools $110,950.00 260 2010 ANDREWS GEOFFREY G. Oberlin City Schools Oberlin City Schools $113,085.00 260 2011 ANDREWS GEOFFREY G. Oberlin City Schools Oberlin City SD $113,085.00 260 2009 ANDRZEJEWSKI JANINE M. Parma City Valley Forge High School $103,713.00 230 2010 ANDRZEJEWSKI JANINE M. Parma City Valley Forge High School $105,780.00 230 2011 ANDRZEJEWSKI JANINE M. Parma City Valley Forge High School $105,780.00 230 2007 ANGELLO MARTHA J. Sycamore Community City Sycamore Community City $107,734.00 260 2008 ANGELLO MARTHA J. Sycamore Community City Sycamore Community City $110,966.00 260 2009 ANGELLO MARTHA J. Sycamore Community City Sycamore Community City $110,966.00 260 2010 ANGELLO MARTHA J. Sycamore Community City Sycamore Community City $115,740.00 260 2011 ANGELLO MARTHA J. Sycamore Community City Sycamore Community City SD $117,740.00 260 2011 ANTEL SHIRLEY A. Amherst Exempted Village Amherst Ex Vill SD $108,397.00 260 2008 APOLITO ELIZABETH A. Montgomery Educ Serv Cntr Montgomery Educ Serv Cntr $103,646.00 200 2009 APOLITO ELIZABETH A. Montgomery Educ Serv Cntr Montgomery Educ Serv Cntr $100,339.00 180 2010 APOLITO ELIZABETH A. Montgomery Educ Serv Cntr Montgomery Educ Serv Cntr $102,446.00 229 2011 APOLITO ELIZABETH A. Montgomery Educ Serv Cntr Montgomery Educ Serv Cntr $103,572.00 229 2011 APPLEBAUM ROBERT J. Maple Heights City Maple Heights City SD $100,981.00 260 2011 ARBAUGH JAY G. Keystone Local Keystone Local SD $106,000.00 260 2009 ARCHER RUTH Cleveland Metropolitan Cleveland Metropolitan $100,785.50 260 2010 ARCHER RUTH Cleveland Metropolitan Cleveland Metropolitan $100,785.50 260 2011 AREND LOIS E Columbus City School District Columbus City Schools City SD $103,093.12 260 2010 Argalas Roger Northwest Local Northwest Local $107,482.00 251 2011 Argalas Roger Northwest Local Northwest Local SD $110,643.00 251 2011 ARGENTI KAREN M. Amherst Exempted Village Marion L Steele High School $108,603.00 184 2009 ARLEDGE JR ROBERT L. Greene Educ Serv Cntr Greene Educ Serv Cntr $103,179.00 260 2010 ARLEDGE JR ROBERT L. Greene Educ Serv Cntr Greene Educ Serv Cntr $103,179.00 260 2011 ARLEDGE JR ROBERT L. Greene Educ Serv Cntr Greene Educ Serv Cntr $106,274.00 260 2007 ARMOCIDA ANTHONY M. Yellow Springs Exempted Village Yellow Springs Exempted Village $109,496.00 248 2008 ARMOCIDA ANTHONY M. Yellow Springs Exempted Village Yellow Springs Exempted Village $109,496.00 248 2009 ARMOCIDA ANTHONY M. Yellow Springs Exempted Village Yellow Springs Exempted Village $109,496.00 248 2007 ARMSTRONG BRUCE W. Highland Local Highland Local $128,048.00 260 2008 ARMSTRONG BRUCE W. Highland Local Highland Local $128,048.00 260 2009 ARMSTRONG BRUCE W. Highland Local Highland Local $128,048.00 260 2011 Arnoff Gail Solon City Grace L Roxbury Elementary School $102,694.00 186 2011 ARNOLD MATTHEW D. Beavercreek City Ferguson Middle School $103,965.00 213 2007 ASHWORTH MARY ANNE Delaware City Delaware City $111,427.00 261 2007 ASHWORTH DENNIS D. West Clermont Local Glen Este High School $102,630.00 260 2008 ASHWORTH MARY ANNE Delaware City Delaware City $115,210.00 262 2008 ASHWORTH DENNIS D. West Clermont Local Glen Este High School $104,683.00 260 2009 ASHWORTH MARY ANNE Delaware City Delaware City $121,757.00 261 2009 ASHWORTH DENNIS D. West Clermont Local Glen Este High School $112,456.00 260 2010 ASHWORTH DENNIS D. West Clermont Local Glen Este High School $114,704.00 260 2010 ASHWORTH MARY ANNE Delaware City Delaware City $121,290.00 260 2011 ASHWORTH MARY ANNE Delaware City Delaware City SD $121,290.00 260 2008 ATCHLEY JAMES R. Ansonia Local Ansonia Local $100,060.00 254 2009 ATCHLEY JAMES R. Ansonia Local Ansonia Local $103,062.00 260 2010 ATCHLEY JAMES R. Ansonia Local Ansonia Local $103,062.00 260 2011 ATCHLEY JAMES R. Ansonia Local Ansonia Local SD $103,062.00 260 2008 ATKINSON CHERYL L. Lorain City Lorain City $175,000.00 260 2009 ATKINSON CHERYL L. Lorain City Lorain City $175,000.00 260 2010 ATKINSON CHERYL L. Lorain City Lorain City $210,058.00 260 2011 ATKINSON CHERYL Lorain City Lorain City SD $210,058.00 260 2007 AUBUCHON WILLIAM R. Parma City Parma City $102,457.00 230 2008 AUBUCHON WILLIAM R. Lorain County JVS JVSD Lorain County JVS JVSD $113,000.00 260 2008 AUBUCHON WILLIAM R. Parma City Parma City $102,457.00 230 2009 AUBUCHON WILLIAM R. Lorain County JVS JVSD Lorain County JVS JVSD $113,000.00 260 2010 AUBUCHON WILLIAM R. Lorain County JVS JVSD Lorain County JVS JVSD $113,000.00 260 2009 AUGINAS CHRISTINE M. Shaker Heights City Shaker Heights City $113,626.00 250 2010 AUGINAS CHRISTINE M. Shaker Heights City Shaker Heights City $113,626.00 250 2011 AUGINAS CHRISTINE M. Shaker Heights City Shaker Heights City SD $113,626.00 250 2007 AukermanCatherine Berea City Berea City $101,862.00 260 2008 AukermanCatherine Berea City Berea City $107,685.00 260 2009 Aukerman Catherine Highland Local Highland Local $120,000.00 260 2009 Aukerman Catherine Berea City Berea City $107,685.00 260 2010 AUKERMAN CATHERINE L. Highland Local Highland Local $122,100.00 260 2011 AUKERMAN CATHERINE L. Highland Local Highland Local SD $122,100.00 260 2007 AULT MARK C. Indian Hill Exempted Village Indian Hill Exempted Village $109,000.00 260 2008 AULT MARK C. Indian Hill Exempted Village Indian Hill Exempted Village $116,480.00 260 2009 AULT MARK C. Indian Hill Exempted Village Indian Hill Exempted Village $120,557.00 260 2010 AULT MARK C. Indian Hill Exempted Village Indian Hill Exempted Village $122,667.00 260 2011 AULT MARK C. Indian Hill Exempted Village Indian Hill Ex Vill SD $124,813.00 260 2010 AUSTIN SHENISHA D Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Frank L Wiley Middle School $118,000.00 190 2008 AXNER DAVID E. Dublin City Dublin City $170,000.00 260 2008 AXNER DAVID E. Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Chagrin Falls Exempted Village $135,990.00 260 2009 AXNER DAVID E. Dublin City Dublin City $175,100.00 260 2010 AXNER DAVID E. Dublin City Dublin City $180,353.00 260 2011 AXNER DAVID E. Dublin City Dublin City SD $182,157.00 259 2007 BABCANEC WAYNE Norwalk City Norwalk City $101,113.00 260 2008 BABCANEC WAYNE Norwalk City Norwalk City $105,195.00 260 2009 BABCANEC WAYNE Norwalk City Norwalk City $105,195.00 260 2010 BABCANEC WAYNE Norwalk City Norwalk City $108,877.00 260 2011 BABCANEC WAYNE Norwalk City Norwalk City SD $108,877.00 260 2010 BACHO ALAN A. Sylvania City Sylvania City $102,827.00


But But But what happened to letting people make as much as they possibly can and keeping every cent without even income taxes to worry about?

I see, it is OK when it is YOUR money but a total bitch kitty when it is other people.

I have a brother whom I have nothing to do with for personal reasons, he grew up in the same grinding poverty I did, real poverty, went to college in 1973 after high school, took a LOT of drugs and became a hippie, dropped out of school. I went back to college late and got a degree in Finance, by then he was burned out on planting trees in mountain country in all weather and smoking weed for minimum wage, he went back to school the following year for an accounting degree. I graduated 1996, he in 1997.

I faced my own set of issues after graduation, he went to work for the county auditor/controller. Thirteen years he did the best work and when the auditor/controller died or retired or whatever he was appointed or elected into that position, I am not sure which because I still think he is a flaming asshole and we do not speak, but California lists all elected officials salary ranges ( ) and there is his name, $125,000 -167,000, and I assume he makes the low end of the range.

The job description you can skip over if you like but I post it for a reason, because the responsibility and liability is huge, and a lot of the time it is out of your control. Serves as chief accounting officer in the County; records the financial transactions of the County and other related agencies; audits and processes claims for payment; issues receipts for all monies received by the County; prepares financial reports; compiles the County budget; audits and issues payroll checks; maintains personnel earning and benefit records; accounts for property tax monies; oversees the divisions of Payroll, Accounting, Accounts Receivable, Audit and Cost Accounting and Property Tax.

He was 56 yesterday. $125,000 now for a CPA and elected auditor controller is just about equal to $12 grand a year when we were kids in the sixties. MIDDLE CLASS. It is anything but rich. People try to better themselves and a few like myself and my brother succeed in upward mobility from true poverty (you know true poverty when you have to go to school with nothing to eat in a couple days and wearing a blouse your sister outgrew last year, and you are a boy) to just middle class. The vast majority of people doing what we did find they did it for nothing, they can get no job no less a middle class or better job.

And you all who say take any job, if illegal Mexicans are willing to break the law and work under the table for less than minimum wages then you should be too, eat my feces and die, employers who hire such people do so because they are nameless and faceless, seen as subhuman, and I would have worked for them at points of desperation but they would not hire me because it is one thing to use illegal aliens as slaves, it is far worse to use Americans with an education for such work. They will not hire you. They go from a fine to a prison sentence if they do.

I had to take out a student loan in 1988 when I originally went back to college. Only $2,400, I also had $1,200 in California Board of Governors grant, $1,400 in Pell grant, a veteran disability of $62 per month, and old GI bill that paid $365 a month. Not enough, I had to work 20 hours a week in the hospital on top of that. I was still eating and living with mom. Our rent on the duplex we lived in was $850 a month. Cheapest place we could get.

All vets had a different office from the financial aid office, because of our GI Bill issues we all had one guy assigned just to take care of veterans. He went on vacation during semester break and while he was gone some fat cunt in the regular financial aid office took it upon herself to recalculate all the Pell Grants for veterans using their VA disability as income even though it was bold capitalized in black letters on the application form that VA disability was not to be counted. The result was when I went to collect my pay the next first of the month I was told I had been found to be $20 over the limit for Pell Grant and thus it was canceled.

When the vet rep came back from vacation he said don't worry about it I will fix it. Three days later I was told once a Pell Grant is voided it cannot be "fixed." I had to drop a class and take more hours at work to adjust for the loss of the Pell Grant. But when I did the VA and BOG Grant were also reduced by half forcing me to drop all classes and go to work full time just to eat. Now I owed the VA money for the payments in the semester I dropped out, with the intention of going back in the fall once the mess (that I had no part in creating) was cleared up.

No go. Once you have an overpayment from the VA you can't qualify for any federal financial aid, period till it is satisfied. I appealed but it took months and by the time they found in my favor the six months was up on the student loan, now I had to repay that before I could get any financial aid. Jesus fucking Key rist!

I lost my vehicle, I lost my job because it was 1984. I had no place to turn and was essentially homeless for years. No credit, part time jobs with no benefits, minimum wage or close to it jobs. Many of them. Moved every few months because I could not pay and nothing ever worked out the way it was supposed to. Broken promises, crooked employers that looked to take advantage of willing people. One employer was deducting SS and FICA but when I looked at my statement later they had no record I ever worked there, the boss was just pocketing the money they were supposed to pay into the government.

I finally gave up and asked the VA to reexamine my disability. They did and a couple years later they said OK we will up it to 40%. Why does it take years? But it qualified me to go back to college under Chapter 31 benefits for disabled vets. It was still only $800 a month plus tuition and books, with free medical care. I could not go back to school in 1993 on that, not in California, so I had a friend in New York that said I could live at his place free of charge if I wanted to go to school at UCON in Danbury. I agreed and went there, but the VA messed up the paperwork and my tuition was not paid. I had to go back to California and start over again.

I had to drive a car for a transport company because I could not afford to fly or take a train. I drove to Santa Cruz in less than 72 hours non stop. Most states were still 55 MPH speed limit then too. Talk about an intrusion into our daily lives.

They fixed the problem and I went to Columbus Ohio for their program in business at Ohio state. When I got there I was told that the annual $20,000 tuition was only for Ohio residents, my tuition would be $40,000. The VA would not pay it. But, they said that there was a private business university in town called Franklin University that they would pay for. I took it. I still had to work full time plus, and go to school in the evenings for almost four years, because we all know you can't get a four year degree in four years these days.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck! It never ends for people born to parents that are not wealthy. All the promises made by America are broken unless you are rich to start with. At one point my debit card to access my VA money did not work. It had expired. The money was in my account but I could not access it. There were no BAC branches in Ohio, and they would not even talk to me on the phone. They did say they would send a new ATM card in the mail. Two days later my mother called an said she got a letter from Bank of America. They sent my card to her address. I had not eaten in three days by then. I had my mother send it via overnight mail so I could get something to eat. Two days later no card. I called the post office and bitched them out royally and all they could say was if I wanted to file a complaint or track overnight mail I could come into their main office. Total bottom. I had not eaten in five days. At that point I was actually and really ready to die killing fat pigs rather than one more night without eating. When my card would not work all I had in the house was the sugar in the a little sugar bowl. I searched the place for fallen tidbits, found a small bag of wallpaper paste powder. Ate some of it before I read that it had insecticide in it to kill silverfish. I was hallucinating when someone knocked on the door and said she was from the post office. A black woman with like a three foot tall hair tower and six inch nails in a smoking beat up old Camaro aks me if I am Mark. I said yes, and was so embarrassed because I think I had a big diarea stain, I was so horrified. She had the mail from mother, mom had spelled the street name wrong, instead of Elesmere Street she had printed Elsmere Street. For that dropped letter I had to deal with bureaucracy that can only be deemed evil, and I ended up going 6 days with no food.

Trust me when I say that is only a small taste of the abuse our society has given me. No wonder people give up and go criminal. And I am supposed to lick the boots of the wealthy because the GOP says that your human worth is equal to your net cash worth?

Call me a terrorist, call me a commy, call me anything you want to call me but I am an honest, loving, educated man who happens to be gay. A citizen first, a man second, yet I am full to overflowing with the shit the rich and their boot licking GOP have given us. DONE! Wall Street resists with violence now. Get ready for more. Login or register to post comments Wed, 10/26/2011 - 21:27 | Schmuck Raker AH, are you familiar with the terms 'Proportion', or 'Link'? Login or register to post comments Wed, 10/26/2011 - 19:46 | falun bong Depends what a country wants to spend its money on. America decided to spend all the money on great new ways to kill goat herders on the other side of the world. Educating its citizens? not so much...


America has no choice.

They squandered the generations of wealth gambling it away on wall st. Since 1980, America took the position of colonizing oil rich countries to support the gambling habits. WAR-OIL-FED is all part of the Petro dollar system.

Everything else takes a backseat.


Could Wal Mart start a college. it sounds funny however with the success they have had with their business they could do something like this. Also there could be an alternate to college which essentialy gets people some basic skills they need.

Education for the 21st century is also something that should be addressed at the high school level. I am under the impression that in the 30's and 40's someone with a high school education was very highly educated up to the current level of an associates degree. What has happened in the last 50 years?

Don Smith

Acacia, thanks for your service. Now, about Wal-Mart - they are a huge part of the problem. They have destroyed more jobs in America than I would have to guess any other company.

1) They lure Americans into buying cheap crap from China.

2) They squeeze the vendors for lower-cost goods, keeping those vendors profits down.

3) Jobs are shifted overseas through wage and tax arbitrage.

4) People take lower-paying jobs, and now need to shop at Wal-Mart to survive.

5) Their competitive advantage bankrupts smaller stores, forcing out more jobs.

6) Rinse and Repeat.

Were it not for wage arbitration and our ridiculous tax policies, Wal-Mart would compete fairly and we wouldn't have the behemoth we have now. I applaud Wal-Mart for its model and how it got where it got, but for the last 15 or so years, its effect on our economy is now irreversible and wholly negative.

Who cares about a $30 DVD player if the only job you can get is at Wal-Mart?


Not just Wal-Mart. Globalisation has been very kind to all US Corporations but not so kind on the masses. Manufacturing has been systematically shifted to the lowest cost locations, whilst Transfer pricing has systematically shifted profits to offshore tax havens such that most US Corporations pay little, if any, taxes. They also wholly own Congress, which therefore does nothing to change the totally corrupt system.

This is, or should be, at the heart of the Occupy Wall Street (And DC) movement. Unless the system changes, the future is bleak for the citizens of The United Corporatocracy of America.


My education took place in the military and the schools I attended there and the field work I did. It shocked me when I would come back to my hometown and chat with the kids who had gone to college instead. I was out there learning about radios and Law enforcement and they were taking remedial english. In the mean while I have gone back to college and recieved my bachelors, much of my military experience came in handy. Login or register to post comments Wed, 10/26/2011 - 19:40 | acaciapuffin My education took place in the military and the schools I attended there and the field work I did. It shocked me when I would come back to my hometown and chat with the kids who had gone to college instead. I was out there learning about radios and Law enforcement and they were taking remedial english. In the mean while I have gone back to college and recieved my bachelors, much of my military experience came in handy.


"The ultimate but innocent and well-meaning enabler: the setup of government guaranteed student loans."

Are you referring to the government as innocent and well-meaning in this sentence? Login or register to post comments Wed, 10/26/2011 - 19:19 | rlouis We're from the government and we're here to help you....


American ideal (used to be):

You pay for yourself, and I pay for myself. If you can't afford it, you can't buy it; and me neither. If I drive my cab twice as many hours as you do, then I should make twice the money. If I make money then it is my money. I don't owe you anything, and you don't owe me anything. If you watch TV all day, that's your wife's problem.


Yeah, unlike insurance companies and the health care system. That is working great.

Realize that the reason schools are expensive is because of the banks lending money to own students for life.

Take banks out of the picture and schools will have to function within a budget. Unlike the federal gov't, states can't print money.

When Joe from the ghetto can't get a $100,000 loan from sallie mae, all bets are off on tuition increases.

This is exactly what Milton Freidman wanted, indentured-servant students. Look it up.


The REAL problem at base is a debt problem just exactly as it was in the 1920's. I keep saying, and people keep ignoring me, when you live in an economy with a debt based fiat currency - which does not have to be a bad thing if properly controlled - anybody who borrows/lends is in essence creating more debt based money, that is counterfeiting. When there were strict standards and accounting rules and enforcement long ago this was fine, the money supply was exactly adequate most of the time to deal with transfers to service debt, but we have had a 40 year run up in borrowing and lending, mostly in the top elite 1%, without a concominent run up in cash money supply to service this debt, the result is borrowing to pay bills on all levels.

The day you borrow a dime to pay a debt you are toast. And that is as true for government as it is for me. The same laws that prevented this long ago are still mostly on the books because it is fraud, but they are no longer enforced because business has bribed government - also illegal - up the money supply, send every American adult a packet of cash, say $100,000, and then enforce the laws that are on the books and guess what? The fallout will be far less than you think and a whole lot better than poverty and class warfare and blood and death, the road we are on leads to the end of America. Login or register to post comments Wed, 10/26/2011 - 19:00 | navy62802 So the government is going to step in and try to fix a problem that it created. Wonderful. And by the way, this student debt problem has been around for several years now. It's only getting attention because it has been allowed to grow so incredibly large.

Mark my words, this is a debt bomb that is just waiting to explode. Students graduating with such incredible debt loads (sometimes in the six figures) are entering a collapsing job market. This story does not end well for anyone involved ... neither the students nor the taxpayers. Login or register to post comments


This crap will end quickly when the next credit crunch comes. Parents and students are both unemployed and no credit results in unpaid tuition. No students.


At this pace, the US is going to be a nation of tootheless vagabonds roaming the dust-covered ruins of a once-powerful nation. And all the profit that was squeezed out of the American Dream will be absolutely worthless.

[Jul 07, 2011] Obama Offers to Cut Social Security

While Bama is a sellout, the whole political wchene is a variation of political Jonestown. The Grand Old Party, so named when it really did evoke America, has so narrowed its base that it has become a political cult.
Economist's View

Michael Zoran:

I have a disability with epilepsy where I cannot drive. This is responsible for my lack of employment, since I live in a small town without public transportation. There is nothing within walking distance of where I live. My only source of income is from Social Security.

I placed myself $30,000 in debt with student loans because I listened to lying counselors who said it would be easy to find a job online if I attended college online. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Process Management. I also earned certifications in Time Management and Human Resources. I even am a Microsoft Office User Specialist in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

However, I cannot find work online. The online colleges told lies about finding employment online. All they want is your business. I've even tried to start entrepreneurial businesses online, but they have failed.

I'm very disappointed to hear that my #1 man -- President Obama -- would even consider cutting Social Security income. Social Security represents the only source of income for disabled people and hard-working retirees who worked hard their entire lives as dedicated tax payers in the American economy.

But we need to be realistic. The one and only reason why President Obama would suggest cutting Social Security and Medicare is because those wealthy Republicans are forcing him to do this because they refuse to negotiate with him. The Republicans have the selfish belief that if they receive higher taxes for earning higher levels of income, it means they are being penalized for doing their job as successful capitalists.

Wealthy Republicans do not realize the full scope of what they are doing by cutting Social Security. If my disability income from Social Security is reduced, I may need to get a part-time job at a local restaurant or grocery story in order to receive extra income. The problem is, it is illegal for me to drive and threatens the life of others on the road. Think about what would happen if I had a seizure while driving and ended up killing one of those wealthy Republican families. The wealthy Republicans are too 5th-dimensionally near-sighted and selfish to think of things like that.

The simple fact of the matter is that the wealthy Republicans earning more than $250,000 per year can in fact afford to pay higher taxes in order to help our country get out of debt. Another simple fact of the matter is that those receiving Social Security income absolutely cannot afford to have that income reduced.

When wealthy Republicans receive a higher tax level, it means they may be forced to attend a smaller number of professional sports games each year. It means they may be forced to buy a 35' boat instead of a 40' boat. It means they may be forced to buy a $400,000 house instead of a $500,000 house. It means their children may be forced to attend a community college for a couple years instead of an incredibly overpriced Ivy League school.

When those receiving Social Security receive any form of cut, it means they will no longer be able to afford basic things such as food! It means they will no longer be able to afford basic things such as transportation!

We cannot allow anyone, Democrat or Republican, to allow any form of reduction in Social Security to occur. President Obama has done an excellent job as President so far -- he saved the auto industry; he restored the stock market; he revived the banking industry; he even invaded Pakistan without permission in order to successfully kill the most wanted terrorist in history! President Obama has even won the Nobel Peace Prize, and rightfully so since he was able to do things like keep Pakistan as an ally and continue killing off those terrorist leaders.

The solution to this problem with Social Security cuts is to take the focus off of President Obama and make it 100% clear to all senators and representatives that anyone who votes in favor of reduction of Social Security will not be reelected at the next election!

Now is the time to start writing to senators and representatives in order to let them know they will not be receiving votes if they decide to support a reduction in Social Security! Remember, tomorrow is the devil's favorite word! Take action today!

Do not just "pray" to God and ask Him to keep Social Security the way it is. Remember, 1 Corinthians chapter 15 talks about how God does things through the natural, and then the spiritual. In other words, don't pray to God for something unless you plan on doing your part to acquire what you are praying for.

If you want God to answer your prayers to maintain Social Security, you need to take action today by contacting your local senators and congressmen. Make sure you point out the fact that your vote represents a form of political violence that you will take against them if they are willing to selfishly take income you desperately need to survive!

For the record, I have recently written a very successful article I am very proud of on my blog. This article is titled: "Boycott of Casey Anthony Starts Here – Sign Up Now!" The article asks you to write a pledge to boycott any product or TV show that attempts to generate any form of financial gain from the death of innocent little Caylee Anthony.

As an act of faith to confirm your loyalty, please write a Comment as a pledge to confirm your desire to boycott anything associated with a financial gain from the death of Caylee.

Here is a hyperlink to that article:

Lot's of people have already taken this pledge to boycott anything associated with a financial gain from the death of Caylee Anthony. This has already helped Caylee receive the justice she deserves. Today I learned that a pornographic company has officially withdrawn their offer for Casey Anthony to star in an XXX-rated movie. The pornographic company specifically said that they "Now realize people want nothing to do with her and that includes an XXX movie."

This means the plan for a large number of people pledging to boycott products, retailers, and distributors who try to financially gain from the death of Caylee Anthony is working. By grouping your personal pledge to boycott in the same place as everyone else, it gives us bargaining power to threaten publishers, retailers, and TV companies if they try to gain financially from the death of sweet Caylee Anthony.

Please take the time to write your personal pledge to boycott. Just visit the website URL listed above. Thank you very much for helping Caylee Anthony gain justice in this way. Nobody should be allowed to gain financially from her death, and if we work together as a team we can make that happen. But each of us needs to do our part as an individual. Thank you again for doing your part.

[Mar 13, 2011] For Profit or For Students " The Baseline Scenario

Bruce E. Woych:

The University without Borders:

    The Philosophy of Education
    Background on University & distinctive links to relative ideas (reference portal) (global index) (***complete index: key link)

    The greatest cultural tradition and the greatest tradition of culture: and ironically these days…
    …it all comes down to finance!

  • Gaelen

    What you seem to miss is that these for profit schools are able to charge such exorbitant fees because of federal loan assistance. They really are extracting a rent from a positive government program.

    I agree that we need to offer a larger chunk of our population access to higher education, but the way to achieve that is through the community college system and regional campuses of State universities. The demographics that are served by CC's and for profit schools are very similar, and everyone I know that has gone to a for profit would go to CC if there was space.

    In closing, this is an incredibly distorted market that these institutions are taking advantage of. If the gov. was not supporting the education of students these institutions would not exist.

    Bruce E. Woych

    PEOPLE do not go to college because of (debt creation) easy money from loose credit standards. Loose credit standards arrive because the lenders and the sellers want to make it easy to bring people into their gaming plan. What I have seen across the board is that easy credit pushes a false price structure upwards when there is a pooled source of disconnected money fueling incentives. The incentives are all on profiteering, getting maximum gains from the public pool, and sustaining the system of feeding into the pool.

    When chimpanzees were being studied it was easier to attract them to one place all at once by providing a central source of bananas at a base camp. the plan was innocent and it clearly facilitated the process of study. The chimps loved the easy access, the course of least resistance (of course!). What began as an easy street soon became a competition for dominance over the central feeding supply.

    In addition, because it was a prolonged study over time, it soon became apparent that an unanticipated "dependence" had developed over the supply and the less dominant chimps had trouble going back to loose nit foraging in the original seasonal pattern of territorial feeding strategies. The behavior changed to re-approaching the central supply which ended up increasing aggression over all. An attempt to withdraw the bananas slowly ended up in a classic complex of feeding frenzy aggression and defensive territoriality. Pooled money markets of credit is an abstract banana center and it has multiple dimensions.

    The Universtiy without Borders! Teach your children well!

    Bruce E. Woych

    I saw, first hand, the transition to professional administrators in the university system (very similar to the business model in hospitals as well). Tenured professors were seen as a problem and adjunct professors were utilized to fill the gap. Part time adjuncts were and have been exploited at a starvation level (and most of these are heavily in debt from the system that allowed them the privilege of becoming adjuncts …)

    Departments were downsized or not financed at all. Survival that is interpreted as profit is OK but not when that profit margin is covering "other than" education as its central "product" and traditional educational priorities become marginalized.

    The truth of market education is that the university system holds leverage over license and credentials over professional careers and has become brokers to a state system that is captured by class interests. Power brokering becomes the primary purpose of college administration and the social construct of class prestige is more important than the discovery and dissemination of "Universal" knowledge.


    Places like the Heritage Foundation, are having their "intellectuals" deride and decry any need for a public education at the university level, arguing the masses of middle class students are ill-prepared, and do not benefit from the experience.

    Thus, It seems to me that my children ought to start preparing for a career in motorcycle mechanics, and tile-floor installation, because the "rich" are sick and tired of underwriting the costs of these places, via taxation. They just don't want to pay any taxes, period. Let the slaves pay is their motto.

    Well, lookie here…..we all are not going to sit idly by, while your Nihilism and Reactionary stunts go unchallenged.

    This is class warfare, and you bast*rds are going to see levels of arousal you never dreamed possible, here, and everywhere.

    We're tired of getting screwed, got it?

    [Mar 09, 2011] Can For-Profit Tech Colleges Be Trusted? by CmdrTaco

    March 07 2011 | Slashdot

    snydeq found a story questioning "the quality of education on offer at institutions such as University of Phoenix, DeVry, ITT Tech, and Kaplan in the wake of increasing scrutiny for alleged deceptive practices [PDF] that leave students in high debt for jobs that pay little.

    'For-profit schools carry a stigma in some eyes because of their reputation for hard sales pitches, aggressive marketing tactics, and saddling students with big loans for dubious degrees or certificates,' Robert Scheier writes. 'Should IT pros looking to increase their skills, or people seeking to enter the IT profession, consider such for-profit schools? And should employers trust their graduates' skills?'"


    I'm doing hiring for my team. I don't care too much about the education: if the candidate can do a decent job on the coding quiz

    When you have a thousand resumes for two positions, how do you choose which ones even get to take the coding quiz?


    I've known people on both sides of the spectrum, but I can definitely say that if you come out of a University of Phoenix or DeVry program you're going to face a hiring stigma.

    Deservedly or undeservedly, these programs have a reputation that ranks decidedly below basically any traditional four year institution. They don't seem like a great deal considering the high cost, but when you compare that to what a candidates other options are (or lack thereof), it still might be a good plan.

    It sure would suck to have to pay back those loans on a desktop support kind of job salary.


    I can definitely say that if you come out of a University of Phoenix or DeVry program you're going to face a hiring stigma. "

    Mod Parent UP!

    That's the real problem. UoP and DeVry turned themselves into diploma mills. They accepted everyone and gave everyone a degree if you paid $80,000+.

    Of course every student is different, but the ones that end up at UofP or DeVry are usually the less desirable type.

    Before you decide on any college call (or email) the places you want to work and see if they hire those graduates! But you have to word it right, if you say "Do you hire University of Phoenix students?" and they say "NO" that could open them up to a lawsuit so HR will never say a direct "no" to any college.

    So you have to say "I would like to work for XXXXX after graduating from college. I am considering XXXXXX, XXXXXX and UofP. Which of these schools would be the best to attend when I apply to XXXXX?" Hopefully they'll be honest, and if they don't directly say UofP then don't bother going. Also call the accreditation board to make sure where you're going is accredited. -- my karma will be here long after I'm gone


    Having attended DeVry (I stopped because I ran out of money 3/4 through) and seeing what passed as senior level students, I wouldn't hire a DeVry graduate unless they had other credentials. I gained some knowledge there, but only because I actively sought additional information from professors and helped with several extra-curricular activities revolving around more advanced topics.

    For example: one of my classmates was stumped that she couldn't get her Java project to compile. Instead of a .java text file, she had a MSWord document in the solution. When I told her she'd need to convert it to a plain text file, she couldn't figure out the "invalid character at line Y, position X" errors from the MSWord quotes and hyphens left in the text. And she was a CS major on her last term.


    For example: one of my classmates was stumped that she couldn't get her Java project to compile. Instead of a .java text file, she had a MSWord document in the solution. When I told her she'd need to convert it to a plain text file, she couldn't figure out the "invalid character at line Y, position X" errors from the MSWord quotes and hyphens left in the text. And she was a CS major on her last term.

    To be fair, I saw some of that sort of thing at my traditional, not-for-profit, state-run school.


    It can be a foot in the door (albiet a rather expensive one). We have a pre-sales support engineer from DeVry. He did not have the grades/money to go to GA Tech, so he worked as a test technican while he went to DeVry. He is very good at what he does but I mostly attribute that to his intelligence rather than anything he learned at DeVry.

    His degree allowed HR to "check the box" for college education and thus his manager was allowed to interview him and find out that he could be trained as well as tie his own shoes. The customers love him and he often finds very creative solutions to difficult problems. Had he not attended DeVry then he never would have made it past HR or, if he had gotten a job here, it would have been on the production floor.


    So you're saying his degree was worthless and he got $5k-$10k a year pre-tax for it? Man the last 2 years of a 4 year degree costs me as much as a decent sports car, and my salary hike after cutting taxes off for it would be... enough to pay it off in a decade.

    By then, the sheer volume of experience I have makes up for the gap, and my degree is so old it's worthless in the job market. Not to mention the quality of living drop; the cost is too high, I can't live like that without the ability to actually have a life and afford things (I live alone, no room mates, in a small 1br; a 2br costs twice as much, plus the heating bill, never mind a house). Buying a used car off a dealer lot was a mistake enough. -- All civilized men should study Geometry, Philosophy, and the game of Go.


    Any open admissions institutions has the problem of accepting students and then not delivering a product. It is the nature of beast, Ethically, open admission institutions have the obligation of insuring that the student can succeed within the parameters of the school. This is even the case a good private K-12 schools. Students are asked to leave if they do achieve success.

    What has traditionally been the case is beyond this. ITT has been in trouble for at least 15 years because it appeared that they aggressively recruited students, encouraged the students to maximize student loans, without any regard to the ability of the student to enjoy any level of success in the program. It seems that University of Phoenix merely expanded this model of student loan harvesting from the technical school to the University. I am sure that ITT and U of Phoenix both provide a valuable educational experience. What I am not so sure of is if they should be allowed to use federal student loans to provide such services.

    Here is the thing that I am sure is never told the incoming student at ITT or U of Phoenix or any of the private diploma mills. A federal student loan never goes away. The student has to pay it back. No bankruptcy, no forgiveness. And the loans are relatively high interests rates, which accrues always, even if one has a delay in payment. The 50K many of these instituions charge can easily become 100K. It is easy to argue that such institution exist solely to transfer money from the federal tax payers purse to the coffers of private corporations. I would not do so. I would only say that in a free market in which these private for-profit institutions are competing, why would we need a federal loan program if they were in fact providing value. Sure, for non profit school such things can keep things fair and allow all qualified students to get an education. But if we are not talking qualified student, and any student, I think the private market would make much more reliable decisions. At least the student would be able to declare bankruptcy, and institutions with a high rate of bankruptcies would not longer receive loans. The free market, in this case, would work.

    The world is sacred..God made it expression of mathematical playfulness-Galileo's Dream-KSR

    "otherwise we'll be like europe where if you don't do well on the high school tests they give you will never go to college and never have a chance to change your life in the future"

    When I first moved to France, it was the season when test results were just coming out. A major paper ran a story about 'What do do if your kid doesn't get into a Top 10 school?' The answer: enroll them in an IT program, or ship them to America.

    Kinda took the wind outta my sails a bit to read that what I'd considered a good career choice (Ok, I went to a Canadian school but still) was the second rate choice here.

    After spending two more years here, I've realized that it was only partly a jab. While it's true that IT careers are not typically highly regarded over here, it's also true that in both North America, and IT worldwide, your test scores are not considered a primary qualifier for success.

    larry bagina:

    Harvard is a private non-profit. Colleges are either public (state run, taxpayer subsidized) or private (no state funding, money comes from tuition, donations, endowments). Private colleges can either be for-profit or non-profit, which is a tax designation. non-profit colleges will gladly help you rack up 6 figures of debt for a completely useless degree.


    ... is that for-profit colleges have a particularly bad track record of ripping off their students. Some of the horror stories include continuing to auto-register students for classes after they've announced their intent to withdraw, and charging them for it - even though they've long since stopped attending the school. Then the student gets hit with a gigantic bill for an education they haven't even received.

    Can non-profit schools rip off students? Sure. But it seems that many for-profit institutions are particularly egregious and horrible about this.

    There is an entire new class of educational institution that Wall Street has dreamed up. They basically use college students to suck up government and private loans. The money from the loans get deposited into the university. The students get an online degree that probably doesn't get them a job. But the student in 100% liable for the loan. You cannot even escape with bankruptcy. But the investors who never gave the student nothing more than a worthless sheet of paper is protected. This scam artist like Phoenix University are mere doppelgangers, they lack the substance of a reputable University like Harvard.

    A UNIX admin must be root. A Windows Admin must reboot.

    eepok: []
    THIS. Where are my mod points? The entire point of a college is to make money; even for state schools. This has become particularly bad in recent years where college has become less about higher learning and more about getting that piece of paper that shows that you payed and are now eligible to do anything beyond grunt work.

    I, for one, welcome these "for profit" schools: They are like a parody of the existing system, showing how a diploma is really just about paying the money and playing the game.

    I am cautiously optimistic that the weakness of their 'shovelware' degrees will wake people up to the fact that every other institution is fundamentally the same.


    The entire point of a college is to make money; even for state schools.

    I don't know which college you went to, but the college I went to (Washington State University []) is a research college as are all the universities in the Pac-10 (soon to be Pac-12). They don't tend to make money to do anything other than educate and do more research. You don't see a lot of this research as an undergrad unless you ask, or have a professor who talked about it. I fortunately had both.

    Also, a lot of people are talking about how expensive college is. I will say that Washington and Oregon are raising tuition, I know that it's about $9k per year for tuition for the state/public schools in both states. Sure it was only $3k when I started college in 1995, but it's still a great deal for a top-quality education.

    Meanwhile, It's not like ITT or DeVry are cheap alternatives, they are at about $20k per year for tuition. If money is really a problem, you can always go to a community college for the first 2 (or less if you are smart and driven) and then on to a university for the remainder. Even with student loans, you could probably get out of there with less than $20k of debt and a degree from a respected institution.

    -- "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" - Patrick Henry

    Liberal Arts programs aren't there to help people make money. In fact, most university degrees weren't (and shouldn't be) designed to create workforce-ready individuals. They exist to create intelligent, educated people who are capable of learning even more after they graduate and putting that knowledge to use in improving life on Earth. (Mileage varies.). The modern Liberal Arts (History, Language, Literature, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, etc.) are there to explore humanity for what it was, what it is, and in an effort to prevent past mistakes from repeating themselves.

    Ya, that sounds "high fa-lootin'", but that's why universities exist and that's why the curriculum is as it is. It's idealist in that its purpose is to make a better (interpretable) world just by giving people information and teaching them how to analyze and act on it.

    Vocational training is completely different. DeVry and ITT Tech (for-profit, vocational colleges) may genuinely offer more reliable, quicker means to getting a well-paying position than a State University liberal arts degree, but they, again, do to different things. DeVry can teach you how to become an electrician's apprentice after which you learn a bunch of skills and make money in the future. Cool. The liberal arts degree can help you understand the world around you. It all depends who you are and what you want from life.

    It's also worth noting that there are some very close overlaps between vocational schooling and university training. For example, nursing schools train their students along very similar lines of master's degrees in biology, but just with less expectation of in-depth knowledge and a greater focus on responsibility and accountability. A program in electrical engineering will have very similar concepts taught to a vocational series on becoming an electrician, but the two final products (the more-educated individual) are competent in two very different fields.

    There are even certain fields where subjects outright overlap in their academic and vocational training: Teacher training vs. academic studies in Education, Business, Accounting vs. Economics, etc.

    Your prospects for salary are based on how rare your skillset is multiplied by how useful it is to a private firm that exists to make money. A doctorate in philosophy might be rare, but it isn't useful to a lot of software companies. A software company might need secretaries, but there are many millions of people who have that skill set. Having one of the two doesn't mean you deserve a great starting salary, you have to have both things going for you, and as people try to achieve that, salary structures change in some industries over time. They only remain the same for jobs where entry barriers are always relatively high or relatively low.

    Rob the Bold :

    There are problems in how they recruited students, so the skills of the students who finish are in question? How does one lead to the other?

    Surely you've noticed that some schools recruit and admit students primarily on their belief in their academic abilities and potential (grades, test scores, previous educational institutions, . . .).

    Other schools -- in particular the for-profit-tech schools in question here -- recruit and admit on a different basis. In the case of the for-profit-techs, that basis is the prospective student's ability to qualify for student loans.

    My sister-in-law works for one of these institutions in the recruiting department. Her job is a quota-based sales position. Salespeople who meet their quota are retained, those who don't get put on "probation" and are eventually cut. Her motivation is to get as many candidates to enroll as possible. Her employee evaluation is based solely on body count.

    I would say, therefore, that the skills of graduates of programs where students are recruited in such a system as employed by the for-profit-techs might be lacking compared to graduates of more selective institutions, if for no other reason than the "quality" of the incoming students.

    -- I am not a crackpot.


    Our hiring practices generally exclude anyone not coming from a "real" accredited college.

    I'd rather hire somebody from a community college than anyone that went and sold their soul to ITT Tech or Devry--it shows a profound lack of common sense and planning ability.

    It's right up there with hiring somebody that lists "Geek Squad" on their resume. Pass...


    Our hiring practices generally exclude anyone not coming from a "real" accredited college. I'd rather hire somebody from a community college than anyone that went and sold their soul to ITT Tech or Devry--it shows a profound lack of common sense and planning ability.

    It's right up there with hiring somebody that lists "Geek Squad" on their resume. Pass...

    As a graduate of ITT Tech I understand the sentiment but submit you might be missing some diamonds in the rough with that attitude. I have worked with individuals with CS degrees from "real" accredited colleges I wouldn't let program my DVR let alone my mission critical application. I also had a classmate who had been attending different vocational schools for many, many years because he got government assistance as long as he was a student. The point is it is not the school but the individual who really matters in the equation.

    My AAS degree got my foot in the door on the ground floor making very little. It also gave me the opportunity to discover I was more happy working on the service side than I was the programming side ( I liked the Mountain Dew and cheesy poofs but not the hours and lack of human interaction).

    Now my degree is little more than a foot note in my resume and my service skills are sought out because I understand the hardware the software and the people using them.

    BTW It was actually common sense that led me to choose ITT. I knew I wanted to go tech and ITT had a program that would put me there in two years instead of four or more. That made perfect sense to me. Of course I didn't know what I was in for and I might have done it differently if I had but that's the way hindsight works doesn't it?

    -- "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K


    DeVry is STEEP for an ABET-T accredited program. One could go to a State school and obtain an ABET-E Engineering degree for a LOT less than the cost of DeVry.

    What these colleges have over the State schools; however, is the complete lack of selectivity. They will let just about anyone in, and it'll be up to them to sink or swim. Most of them sink, and some of them swim, and I have no doubt that a very small percentage of bright people, who are otherwise inadmissible to a State School due to circumstances not related to their academic performance, do very well for themselves. That's a tiny tiny percentage though.

    It's not all bad, but the lack of selectivity means most students will fail, and do so owing a lot of money. It's not entirely the school's fault. They should, however, raise the admission standards at least a little bit.


    ...Inaction is very expensive and just showing up isn't good enough.

    Most discussions about failure in education fails to note the student's own failure to DO THE WORK.

    About 1/3rd of my students fail, not because I'm tough or the material is hard or whatever the usual excuses are - they fail because they just don't do the work! Online quizzes not even opened/started, online discussions not participated in, homework assignments not submitted (not even a "I'm confused" text file as I recommend)...I am very sensitive and responsive to even slight attempts at effort, but if they don't do anywhere close to enough work - and I mean if I gave a 100% on every assignment they did do it still wouldn't hit 60% for the course - then there is nothing anyone else can do for them.

    If you are willing to do the work, you can get a fine education at any school at any price. If you are not willing to do the work, you will fail and lose a lot of money in the process.

    And yes, for-profit tech colleges can be trusted. If their product (education) sucked as bad as is implied by the question, they would soon fail because (hey, get this) they didn't do the work.

    -- Can we get a "-1 Wrong" moderation option?


    As someone who taught programming (advanced C++, Java) part-time at the community college level for years, I can tell you that the lack of selectivity you talk about has a far more pernicious effect than simply allowing unqualified students to sign up for courses they are destined to fail. Allowing unqualified students into a classroom simply because they can pay for it has the reverse effect of "a rising tide raises all ships" - 2 or 3 (or 8 or 10) students in a classroom of 25 who don't have the prerequisite knowledge to be there causes NO END of distractions and problems for both the teacher AND the qualified students in the room.

    I got out of teaching because unqualified students who didn't (and never could have) understand what I was talking about expected me to somehow pour knowledge into their heads without any effort on their parts - because, after all, they were PAYING for it, by god. Meanwhile, they were forcing me to present a dumber course to the people who really DID "get it". And the better students were frustrated by the dumber (and slower) level of instruction. Truly a lose/lose situation for all.

    -- No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism. - Winston Churchill

    gad_zuki! :

    I think its unethical marketing leading this craze. There's a whole lot of people out there that are just floundering at some crummy job, or never went to college, etc who see all these ads like "Be a game developer in 18 months!" or "Be a computer animator in 6 months!"

    What they don't understand is that going from having zero programming experience to hacking C++ takes a lot longer than 18 months at a diploma mill. The materials are hard because the subject is hard. Even dumbed down a lot of these people fail because it turns out that these non-traditional students are crappy students in general.

    I see this shit pretty often on tech sites with "Full Sail University" ads. Yet another expensive "private university" that markets directly to the general public with promises that I'm skeptical work out in the real world. 21 month Bachelor's in Software Dev/Game dev/Animation/Graphic Design? Right.

    -- Imagine no religion.


    In the United States at least, if you have no college degree but are interested in putting in the time, money, and effort needed to get one, you will get the biggest bang for your buck at your local community college, possibly followed by some time spent at a nearby branch of your state university system. It's not MIT, RIT, Caltech, Stanford, etc, but it's going to be a pretty solid college education at a very reasonable price, and cost considerably less than the clowns at ITT or DeVry or University of Phoenix will charge you.

    The only real exception to this rule is if you qualify for significant financial aid that allows you to attend a fantastic technical school at the same or lower cost than your government-run schools.

    -- The box of animal crackers said "Do not eat if the seal is broken." I opened it up, and sure enough . . .


    One BIG problem with the for-profits is that once you start with them, you're stuck. As ITT-Tech [] puts it: It is unlikely that any credits earned at an ITT Technical Institute will be transferable to or accepted by any institution other than an ITT Technical Institute.

    At least with even a community college, there's a good chance that many or most of your earned credits, especially at the 100 or 200 level, will transfer.


    Even a community college is hard when you're working full time. Most of the degrees that'll lead to a good salary need full time schooling. The classes are in the day and you have to attend classes.

    There's some knowledge based jobs out there that don't fall in that category, but there was a story today about those going away to computers and outsourcing...

    School isn't as easy as everything thinks. People always point to guys that work two jobs and go through school, ignoring the fact those guys are genetic freaks that get by just fine on 4 hours of sleep a night. If you can't physically do that you're SOL.

    -- Hi! I make Firefox Plug-ins. Check 'em out @


    you will get the biggest bang for your buck at your local community college

    But don't underestimate the value of being in a really smart peer-group at a high-quality university.

    I might have covered the same material if I'd gone to a community college, but man, finally being with people who were both really smart and really motivated academically was an awesome change and an awesome challenge.


    TCP: Why the Internet is full of SYN.

    emagery :

    Probably ~not~ but I would argue that the university system isn't immune to monetary temptations either; I went to a state university system, came from a working class family that could not afford to help me out... though the compsci and physics programs were challenging and rewarding (and well respected), the financial aide department was apparently (for lack of any rational alternative probability) offended at a 'poor' boy coming to their school. They raked me over the coals, lied through their teeth, and set me up for a lot of unnecessary pain including myriad courses audited due to their shinanigans preventing me from being able to afford the textbooks!

    This may sound like whining, but compare this to my wealthy ex-girlfriend at the time who came from out of state (re: triple tuition costs) who, in spite of a much more shallow and far less lustrous academic background, got a free ride through school. To her credit, she maintained it well... I'm not blaming her.

    But the school played serious favorites with what their fiscal equations must have indicated that she was better odds in terms of alumni donations to the school. They rewarded her and punished me based on equations and assumptions, best as I can figure. Well, now she's working in a department store and I'm writing code that empowers a million plus people, and that school's behavior has taken on something of a self-fulfilling prophecy; they'll never get a donated cent out of me.


    That's bureaucracy. I couldn't get work study in college, which was the only viable means of having employment during the school year, because I hadn't had it the first year I was in school. I had a friend whose father received several promotions in one year and as a result couldn't qualify for financial aid even though his parents didn't have the money. And another whose parents weren't well off, but had grandparents who were loaded and paid for everything, she got financial aid. Nothing against her, that's just the way that t he system is set up around here.

    Around here there are calculations about how much your parents are supposed to pitch in, good luck if they can't or won't do it.


    Ivies are costing 50-60K per year now a days. Met an alum of U-Chicago who was shocked to learn his alma mater charges 55K per year.

    The most refined form of socialism practiced in USA in the admission/financial aid policies of the Ivies. It is all, "If you have the money pay the full price even if you are the top student being admitted. If you don't have money you a get a full free ride, even if you are at the bottom of the admitted students".

    The really rich don't care. The poor don't care they get benefited. It is the frugal middle who did all the right things, who took sensible size mortgage, squirreled away the money, took less expensive vacations and cheaper cars and did everything your grandma told you to do, are being punished for good behavior. With incentive system so warped, is there any surprise America is on the decline?

    If you think the whole world revolves around you, quit staring at the GPS display while driving.

    GodfatherofSoul :

    Ever heard of early admissions or legacy? We've had 2 recent Presidents who lucked up into Ivy enrollments and gentleman-C'd their ways to big fat Golden Ticket that is an Ivy league degree. The Ivy League schools are still powered by privilege. I'm also assuming that never had to worry about paying for college if you think that people without the money for tuition magically get a free ride.

    College aid for poor students is so that kids with parents either unblessed with wealth or too financially incompetent to assure college education for their children still have a chance in life. And, unlike the odd impression you've got about paying for college, it's not easy by any means for the financially limited. Ask around, you'd be surprised at the people who've come up thanks to our government's investment in people at all social levels.

    I'll share an anecdote about a roommate from college. She was overall pretty cool, attractive, worked really hard, and unlike the average dingbat keg-standing through college, she had her head together.

    If you asked her, she'd tell you she paid her own way through college. Now keep in mind:

    ■She didn't pay her own rent ■She didnt pay her own utilities ■She didn't buy her own books ■She didn't pay for her own car

    Who knows where her tuition money came from considering she only worked about 10 hours a week in the sorority.

    Now, in her mind she probably did make "sacrifices" by not being able to go on that Cancun Spring Break trip with the rest of the sorority sisters. These are all the little things that some of us who had more opportunities seem to forget.

    Call it "socialism" if you want, but it's worked for the past 50 years.


    That is a pretty uninformed rant.

    Perhaps, it is you who is uninformed. I am going to be writing checks totalling 240K to one of the top 10 schools over the next four years, and I am pretty well informed.

    The legacies have a relaxed admission standards, but they pay full price, usually these legacies are loaded. They might get a "scholarship", but that would essentially a tax dodging "non-profit" set up by a grand-uncle, administered by Aunt Agatha, benefiting just that clan. Since they full price I do not care.

    I do not resent any one poorer than me getting aid. They deserve it.

    Nor do I resent anyone with better grades/scores getting aid, they earned it.

    It is those who earned as much as I did, and then gamed the system, used income management, etc so that they can claim "low net worth" and get aid. I resent that. Those who earned spectacularly more than I did, and burnt it all off in expensive vacations, hobbies, homes etc can now get assistance.

    But I saved diligently, lived reasonably, squirreled away the earnings, ... now I am asked to pay full price as if I am some loaded millionaire.

    And these kids are masters in gaming the system. Their actual SAT scores puts them in the bottom quartile of the admitted students, and they get full aid? Their parents earned more than I did. The kids scored less than my child. And I pay full price and they don't? That is not fair.

    I immigrated with a 5000$ loan for airfare. Ended grad school with $18000 in total debt just in 1994. Now the top schools are saying that my 17 year savings puts me in the same bracket as Bushes and Kerrys and Kennedys and I need to pay full price?


    Sure, elite colleges are quite expensive, and the cost-benefit relationship in a lot of cases is way out of whack. But at least with an elite college you can 1) be reasonably sure you're at least going to get a top-quality education out of the deal, and 2) not worry too much that the university is actively trying to steal from you. The quality of education you get out of, say, ITT Tech or Kaplan is sometimes dubious, and such institutions have been known to use shady tactics like continuing to auto-register you for courses (and charging you for them) after you've withdrawn from the school. In some cases this went on for mulitple semesters before they finally "expelled" the student for non-attendence and then hit them with a giant tuition bill for instruction that they never even received.

    So, yes, in a lot of cases elite colleges are not the best value. But they're probably not actively ripping you off.


    The socialist aspect of Ivy tuition doesn't bother me; but I wonder if the implementation needs some work.

    A while ago, it was big news when Stanford announced that any undergrad from a family earning less than $100k/yr would get free tuition (and maybe board, I don't recall).

    The first thought running through my head was, "Wow, I bet there are some people turning down some nice raises, or selling some dividend-earning stocks to make sure they make high 90s instead of $100k"

    It's the same problem as "bracket creep" in taxation, and I would expect a bunch of smart guys from Stanford to know that. Did they do it right though? I don't know.

    -- For all intensive purposes, "whom" is no longer a word. That begs the question, "who cares"?


    I attended a state college as well as Capella. They were both hard, in different ways. I'm not really happy with what I learned in either one of them. Both were generally a complete waste of time and money, with the exception of a small handful of classes.

    I generally recommend that anyone who is smart at all should avoid the college trap. If you already have the ability to learn things on your own, it's just going to be a massive and frustrating waste of some of the best years of your life. We have the Internet now. If you want to learn things, you don't need to listen to some egotistical asshole talk about it for 50 minutes three times a week. You can just type some things into Google and start learning and creating.

    -- I've had enough abrasive sigs. Kittens are cute and fuzzy.


    The quality of the many recent graduates I interview from traditional colleges and universities is atrocious. They have no analytical skills what so ever and expect to come in making big bucks and leading projects. The ones that I did hire sit around all day worrying about how they could have used super duper new programming paradigm X and take forever to complete what should be simple development tasks. They shut down if a design spec given by a customer is not perfect rather than working with the customer to clarify or work through the issue.

    Argh! You kids get off my lawn!

    -- load "linux",8,1

    Computer Learning Center (Score:2) by Bigbutt (65939) writes: Alter Relationship on Monday March 07, @11:44AM (#35406928) Journal Ok, so this is a few years ago and anecdotal but there you go.

    I got out of the Army in 82, spent a year doing odd jobs before landing a part time programming position in BASIC. In 1985 I went to Computer Learning Center to get better. Better training than the hobby and part time stuff I'd been doing and a chance at a better paying, full time job. The FORTRAN instructor was very good in teaching programming. The COBOL instructor was a screw-up who threw up on the grade book after a night of partying (the staff had to look at the grades from the reverse side) and lost several projects when they blew away in the parking lot (the affected folks had to redo their projects). In general I thought it was a pretty good set of training and even taught the COBOL Report Writer in class for extra credit.

    Anyway, when I started looking for a full time position, I couldn't get past HR. This went on for several weeks until one HR woman said I should remove Computer Learning Center from my resume as they generally punted the resume once they see that.

    I took it off and the next position I applied to offered me a programming position on an IBM System/23 and on the IBM PC AT programming Funeral Home and Point of Sales programs.


    -- Shit better not happen! Reply to This I know someone who teaches at one of these... (Score:2) by Rooked_One (591287) writes: Alter Relationship on Monday March 07, @11:46AM (#35406978) Journal "...institutions."

    They say it is a very sad state of affairs because the practice of taking advantage of poor and undereducated people is all too common. This particular person teaches English and states that they are blown away by the lack of fundamental grammar and even spelling skills. That being said, if you don't have a command over language, how will you ever understand that these schools are in fact, *for* profit (for someone at least) and they do not have people's best interests in mind?

    The best suggestion I give when I come across someone who goes to one of these is "STAY AWAY AND GO TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE WHERE YOU CAN TRANSFER CREDITS IF NEEDED!!!" I don't say it in all caps but make it very obvious that it is not only the cheaper way to go, you will also become more educated, and of course, the fact you can transfer creds, which you cannot from many of these schools stated in the article. Reply to This Herzing grad... (Score:2) by RingDev (879105) writes: Alter Relationship on Monday March 07, @11:48AM (#35407002) Homepage Journal I went to Herzing. It was on par with UW:Madison tuition. After ~$25,000 in debt I had an associate degree and two bachelor degrees, although I maxed out my transfers/test outs.

    At the time, their associates CS program was, IMO, one of the BEST systems to produce entry level programmers/consultants I've seen. I've gone to a number of other universities and public schools (while in the military, including military CS training), and I would have had no qualms hiring any of the recent grads from their assoc CS program for entry level positions.

    Their Bachelor programs seemed a bit more hit or miss. They had some really amazing profs and teachers, and a couple of really bad seeds. They were usually pretty good about getting bad teachers out in short order (usually 2-symesters and they would be gone). Really though, the Bachelor programs were 100% dependent on how much you were willing to put in. If you did the bare minimums, you could have still passed, but it would have been a waste. If you were really dedicated to the topic though, there was a lot they offered.

    That said, towards the end of my time there, they started to go in the wrong direction as far as profitability over education, IMO. They introduced some new degree programs (including a couple of video-game design programs) that were really designed, IMO, to get kids to part with their money, and not with future career in mind.

    They also merged books into the tuition cost, so students couldn't re-use books to save money.

    And the thing that really chapped my hyde was when Renee Herzing (the President) became a board member on a PAC that opposed a recent Dept of Education rule change on capping schools' tuition rates for low-employment and low-pay fields (ie: no running up $25,000 debt for a IT support desk assoc degree) and she used her position to make the faculty send students completely one sided arguments about how this rule was the worst thing ever and it would destroy their education. When in reality, Herzing wouldn't have been significantly impacted, and even then, it would have capped their tuition rates only on specific programs. Their IT and Nursing programs would have been completely uneffected.


    -- "Most people in the U.S. wouldn't know they live in a tyrannical state if it walked up and grabbed their junk." - MyFirs


    I graduated from a good private university, went off to get a tech job in the finance sector and make very good money. Having been down that road now, I realize what all colleges do -- "for profit" or not. They are businesses out to make money.

    First, they steer you towards bad loans. For example in New Jersey, the financial aid office steers you towards "NJClass" loans that have a 7% interest rate. You can do better if you go down to your local bank, or even shop around online. But the college gets a cut from this, so they offer you the NJClass loan. The prices you pay, especially for private schools, don't come NEAR what you will be worth in any amount of time. If you assume no scholarships (and I had a half scholarship -- more on that later), a good school can run you anywhere from $15k to $40k a year -- the former for a public state school, and the latter for a private school. Things are variable of course, whether you commute or dorm, but the minimum you can look at nowadays is about $15k, even commuting.

    I commuted to a private university with a half scholarship, and 5 years and a major change later, I graduated 65k in debt from school. I however, am one of the luckier ones as I have a real skill and work in an industry that while full of bad ethics, pays really well. I still pay about $450 a month on my loans, and that's after consolidating and everything else. If you figure that a college graduate that comes out of school will make less than a six figure salary, that $450 is going to be debilitating to pay back. And odds are, it will be even higher just because financial firms have gotten more twisted and turned over the years. Remember how the sub prime mortgages got bundled up and sold off as good loans to other people? It happens with school loans TOO. The bank has no reason to keep the loans, and in the 10 years I've been paying back my loans, I have had six different lenders.

    The only thing we can do as parents (if you are one, as I am), is to steer your kids to making good choices and spend less money on their education. The return simply doesn't work out well in their favor, especially with the debt load they will likely have to carry. Community college for two years, then a decent school for another two, and graduate with as little debt as possible. I am one of the lucky ones as I said; I have a six figure salary, I have a really good resume, I am good at what I do and I enjoy it to boot. Not everybody is that lucky, and the really unfortunate part is that it will affect their lives in a profound way, while Wall Street (and the industry I work for) will profit handsomely as they help shrink the middle class even more than they already are.

    If you want to take a real stand, write your senator and get the allowance for federal student loans raised to a higher level. It's easier to repay a 1.5 or 2% loan than a 7% with variable interest and lots of legalese you can't follow.

    -- The price is always right if someone else is paying.


    I have been offered three positions with different tech institutes/training centers to be an instructor and in the end turned all of them down. I can only speak from the prospective employee side but the experience was very similar at all three and it was slimy/dirty feeling from every angle. Some of the outrageous things that were said or demanded of the instructors as well as how the "students" were regarded and spoken about put me off completely. Years later I now hire tech candidates and see many resumes and get calls from these places, the signal to noise ratio is so high it is often not worth my effort to go through 10-20 candidates to find 1 good one (which is roughly what I have found to be the case). Go to a decent community college for an associates, if you want to further it then transfer to a solid state school. You will be far better off.

    -- - A little spot of tea


    I learned the hard way that Certification Mills are not worth a damn. I made the choice to go to CEI years ago. They got me Pell, and Stafford Sub/Unsub loans, and I had to round out with a nice 19% interest Sallie Mae loan. In all about $15K just to get an A+, MCP, Network+ and some other cabling cert that I'd never heard of and have never heard about since. About 3 weeks into the first class, I decided I'd made a mistake, and decided to drop out so as not to incur major debt. they tried to talk me into staying, but relented. They returned the Pell Grant, and all of the Stafford loans, leaving me with about $3K in 19% interest Sallie Mae as a thanks.

    Had I had my druthers, I would've just spent the money on a few books and study guides to brush up on what I didn't know, and taken the A+ and MCP tests on my own for a grand total of maybe $1K and avoided the debt altogether. Hindsight and all..


    The amount of my loan at DeVry doesn't seem like much now as it was in late-70's dollars, but it took me until 1991 to pay it off at punishing interest. And then a collection agency called me a year later and said I still owed money (a few hundred). So I paid it. And then a different collection agency called me a year and a half after that and said I still owed money (a smaller amount, but still in the hundreds). After fighting with them for some time, I ate the cost and paid it. I lived in some anxiety for the next decade expecting yet another call.

    My BSET from DeVry qualified me for a engineering assistant position at about 50% above what was minimum wage at the time. The ads show you working in the space industry or military electronics and you can get those jobs (I did) but what they don't tell you is that stringing wires is still stringing wires, whether it's a PBX or a command module.

    My financial situation didn't turn around until I taught myself programming and system integration, which positioned me to ride the internet / dot com wave. DeVry had little to do with that -- their few programming classes were still on punch cards when I was there.

    -- George Lucas (Verb) Lucasing, Lucased (a) The act of committing graphics overkill.

    Cracking Down On Diploma Mills, Fake University Degrees Widely Available On Internet - CBS News

    If there's one thing University of Illinois physics professor George Gollin values as much as his students, it's the degrees that made him a professor, reports CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan.

    So when he found out prestigious degrees like his were for sale on the Internet, he decided to investigate.

    "I got pissed off, basically," says Gollin. "There were people committing fraud who were putting at risk innocent victims."

    His research uncovered hundreds of sham universities – diploma mills – offering fake degrees in everything from oncology to emergency surgery.

    There are no lectures, no staff, no faculty, yet some people will pass off these phony documents as legitimate degrees.

    Take London's Strassford University. Its Web site claims this impressive looking institution was founded during the reign of Queen Victoria. But an attempt to find those ivy-covered halls of learning turned up no grand building, no ivy, not even a sign.

    "It may have a beautiful brochure, it may have a picture of a gorgeous building on it, but it's not theirs," says former FBI investigator Allen Ezell.

    Fake degrees are nothing new to Ezell. What is new is the level of sophistication.

    "They offer you lifetime verification, lifetime backup to your employer if you're going for a job interview," Ezell says.

    That means buyers not only get a fake diploma, they get a bogus transcript with grades for courses never taken – and even letters of recommendation.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me., is a not-too-grateful graduate. During her investigation, she applied for two masters – one in medical technology, the other in biology.

    And what does she know about medical technology and biology? "Zero, nothing," Collins says. "In fact I never took a college level biology course in my life."

    But she really got mad when she discovered that a woman named Laura Callahan boasted a doctorate in computer information systems from one of the phantom universities.

    And Callahan landed a job at the Department of Homeland Security.

    "It raises questions, particularly if the individual has a security clearance," says Collins. "That's very troubling to me."

    Troubling also, Collins says, because many of these fake degrees can also be used to get student visas – just like two of the Sept. 11 hijackers used to get into the country in the first place.

    All reasons, says Gollin, to double-check fact against fiction and make sure that virtual degree is indeed from a virtuous institution.

    Subprime Goes to College; Students Buried in Debt; Who is to Blame?

    Students fresh out of college, six-figures deep in debt, face decades of debt slavery. Both parents and students are wondering what went wrong. Please consider Placing the Blame as Students Are Buried in Debt.
    Like many middle-class families, Cortney Munna and her mother began the college selection process with a grim determination. They would do whatever they could to get Cortney into the best possible college, and they maintained a blind faith that the investment would be worth it.

    Today, however, Ms. Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University, has nearly $100,000 in student loan debt from her four years in college, and affording the full monthly payments would be a struggle. For much of the time since her 2005 graduation, she's been enrolled in night school, which allows her to defer loan payments.

    This is not a long-term solution, because the interest on the loans continues to pile up. So in an eerie echo of the mortgage crisis, tens of thousands of people like Ms. Munna are facing a reckoning. They and their families made borrowing decisions based more on emotion than reason, much as subprime borrowers assumed the value of their houses would always go up.

    The Project on Student Debt, a research and advocacy organization in Oakland, Calif., used federal data to estimate that 206,000 people graduated from college (including many from for-profit universities) with more than $40,000 in student loan debt in that same period. That's a ninefold increase over the number of people in 1996, using 2008 dollars.

    No one forces borrowers to take out these loans, and Ms. Munna and her mother, Cathryn, have spent the years since her graduation trying to understand where they went wrong.

    She started college at age 17 and borrowed as much money as she could under the federal loan program. To make up the difference between her grants and work study money and the total cost of attending, her mother co-signed two private loans with Sallie Mae totaling about $20,000.

    When they applied for a third loan, however, Sallie Mae rejected the application, citing Cathryn's credit history. She had returned to college herself to finish her bachelor's degree and was also borrowing money. N.Y.U. suggested a federal Plus loan for parents, but that would have required immediate payments, something the mother couldn't afford. So before Cortney's junior year, N.Y.U. recommended that she apply for a private student loan on her own with Citibank.

    Over the course of the next two years, starting when she was still a teenager, she borrowed about $40,000 from Citibank without thinking much about how she would pay it back. How could her mother have let her run up that debt, and why didn't she try to make her daughter transfer to, say, the best school in the much cheaper state university system in New York?

    The balance on Cortney Munna's loans is about $97,000, including all of her federal loans and her private debt from Sallie Mae and Citibank. What are her options for digging out?

    Her mother can't help without selling her bed and breakfast, and then she'd have no home. She could take her daughter in, but there aren't good ways for her to earn a living in Alexandria Bay, in upstate New York.

    Cortney could move someplace cheaper than her current home city of San Francisco, but she worries about her job prospects, even with her N.Y.U. diploma.

    She recently received a raise and now makes $22 an hour working for a photographer. It's the highest salary she's earned since graduating with an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women's studies. After taxes, she takes home about $2,300 a month. Rent runs $750, and the full monthly payments on her student loans would be about $700 if they weren't being deferred, which would not leave a lot left over.

    "I don't want to spend the rest of my life slaving away to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back," she said. "It feels wrong to me."

    What Went Wrong?

    Supposedly "Ms. Munna and her mother, Cathryn, have spent the years since her graduation trying to understand where they went wrong."

    It should take seconds. Going $100,000 in debt to get an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women's studies seem rather foolish to say the least. Exactly what kind of job did Ms. Munna expect to get with that degree?

    Now she is working for a photographer and it is plain to see her degree is totally useless. Kill the Pell Grant Program

    I have written about this many times before, most recently in For Profit Schools Turn Students Into Debt Zombies; It's Time To Kill The Entire Pell Grant Program.

    Rather than throwing hard earned taxpayer dollars at programs that invite fraud and make debt zombies out of students, it's time to kill the program entirely. Instead, Obama wants to expand the fraud, even indexing the fraud to inflation.
    Education is not the answer when the cost is $100,000 for totally useless degrees.

    Inquiring minds might also be interested in Debt for Diploma Schemes and the Cookie Monster Principle

    Government meddling enabled this mess, and the best cure (although it will do nothing for Ms. Munna) is to shut off all student aid programs, offer more online programs at low cost, fire needless administrators, and get rid of bloated pension plans for teachers.

    Instead, Obama is compounding the failures of the disastrous Bush administration "No Child Left Behind" program.

    The president wants to throw still more money at the problem. This will do nothing but increase the profits at questionable schools, jack up the pay of administrators, and make more student debt zombies.

    The student vote turned out overwhelmingly for Obama and his policies are helping make them debt slaves for life.

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    "Until recently, I thought that there would never again be an opportunity to be involved with an industry as socially destructive and morally bankrupt as the subprime mortgage industry. I was wrong," Eisman said. "The for-profit education industry has proven equal to the task."

    Steve Eisman's

    [Mar 03, 2011] For Profit or For Students " The Baseline Scenario

    "...despite only having 12% of total enrollments, for-profit schools disproportionally account for 48% of total student debt defaults."

    with 55 comments

    This guest post is contributed by Mark Paul and Anastasia Wilson. Both are members of the class of 2011 at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

    For-profit colleges are expanding enrollments at a rapid pace, but it is questionable whether these revenue-seeking universities give adequate consideration to students' welfare, retention/graduation rates, and overall economic well-being alongside their bottom line profits.

    A new post by Judith Scott-Clayton, a professor at Columbia Teachers College and new weekly contributor to the New York Times Economix blog, explores the merits of for-profit colleges, arguing that in many ways these schools are more efficient at seeking funding opportunities for students and adopting new teaching technologies. These schools procure more Federal dollars per student and employ more cost-saving technologies, in the classroom and online, than their non-profit public and private competitors.

    However, the real question is not a matter of efficiency, but instead concerns students and the taxpayers funding Federal loans and grants consumed by for-profits. Are the relative merits of profit-oriented schools, including their comparative advantage in securing Federal funding, being used to improve the return on investment for students or for their shareholders? On the macro level, does the growth of for-profit higher education promote new risks in the economy, as drop-out and loan default rates continue to increase?

    The relative efficiency or effectiveness of for-profit schools is not necessarily what has been driving record enrollment rates, which were up 25% just over the past year. The Great Recession has pushed many students and unemployed folk towards higher education, as better credentials often mean better job prospects. With the unemployment rate for those holding a bachelors degree at 4.2%, there are incentives to enroll. In fact, applications and enrollments for colleges are up across the board, perhaps meaning the overflow from more selective schools is being crowded into the fast-growing for-profit institutions.

    Though increased enrollment appears to imply increased opportunity, many students are in higher risk of drop-out and loan default when choosing a for-profit college. The for-profit education sector is in large part to blame for the sharp rise in student loan defaults, accounting for almost half of total defaulters. In the graph below, the Department of Education has concluded that despite only having 12% of total enrollments, for-profit schools disproportionally account for 48% of total student debt defaults. Since for-profits are so effective in securing Federal loans and grants for their students, this means that the schools are in essence receiving an indirect subsidy from the government and taxpayers, while leaving students in the red.

    While an increasing number of students enroll in for-profits and take on large amounts of student debt, they also increase their risk of drop-out. A report published last year by the Education Trust shows how devastating dropout rates are, with only 22% of students enrolled at for-profit four-year universities graduating within six years, as compared to 55% and 65% at public and private non-profit universities, respectively. Many students enrolling in these institutions are left without credentials and burdened with debt, yet the schools are able to retain their profits made from students' tuition.

    The increased prevalence of for-profit universities, with their dangerous combination of drop-out and default, may be aggravating a looming student debt crisis. Overall, the volume of loans in default grew to $50.8 billion in 2009, up 30% from the year before. As more students enroll in risky for-profit schools, these rates are likely to increase, perhaps leading to another consumer debt crisis similar to the foreclosure fiasco.

    Although many are well aware of these alarming facts, our elected officials appear to continue favoring the implicit tax dollar handouts to for-profit colleges. The spending bill recently passed by House Republicans even blocks the Department of Education from enforcing a new rule that could limit for-profit schools' access to Federal money. While arguments can be made that profit-seeking schools give wider access to higher education, it seems that the profit motive and shareholder loyalty are overtaking concerns for the well-being of students and the economy at large. Instead of allowing Federal dollars to support for-profit education, the money ordinarily received by these schools should be used to increase the capacity of public higher education and provide "finish line" grants to those facing financial struggles in their final year of study.

    As the Obama administration seeks to increase enrollment, graduation rates, and investment in higher education, policy makers need to consider redirecting their funding towards students and not into the pockets of shareholders by subsidizing private profits.

    [Feb 19, 2011] House Quashes Rules On Student Debt at For-Profit Colleges

    A bipartisan House group voted on Friday to block the Obama administration from cracking down on career college programs that leave students with debt they can't repay.

    The House budget amendment, proposed by Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., and approved 289-136, would prevent the Department of Education from publishing long-discussed consumer protection rules that would regulate for-profit colleges and some community college programs.

    Known as the "gainful employment" rule, the hotly debated regulation would gauge whether students at such programs are able to repay their student loans and can attain salaries that don't bury them under unmanageable debts. Programs that fail to meet certain student debt targets could lose access to federal higher education grant and loan dollars -- revenue that is crucial to the survival of the for-profit college industry.

    The measure is still far from becoming reality, as the House budget bill will face a major uphill battle in the Senate, and the threat of a veto from President Obama. But the vote is indicative of the growing political influence of the for-profit education industry on both sides of the aisle in Congress.

    More than 50 Democrats in the House joined Republicans in opposing one of the Obama administration's key higher education reform proposals.

    Industry representatives applauded the vote, saying the regulation would "cost in excess of 100,000 jobs and deny a pathway to employment for more than 1.5 million students, disproportionately affecting minorities and women," according to a statement from the Coalition for Educational Success, an industry group representing some of the largest publicly traded for-profit education companies.

    Individual programs -- not entire schools -- could be subject to sanctions. The Department of Education estimates that if the rules go through, about 16 percent of for-profit programs could lose access to federal higher education dollars.

    For-profit colleges are facing increased public scrutiny amid a bevy of data that shows students at such schools take on much more debt and default on federal student loans at much higher rates than other college students.

    Average tuition at for-profit schools is nearly twice that of the in-state tuition at four-year public colleges, and more than five times the average tuition at community colleges, according to a Senate report released last year. And recently released data from the Department of Education show that a quarter of all students enrolled at for-profit schools defaulted on federal student loans within three years -- more than double the rate of students at non-profit institutions.

    Debate on the gainful employment rule has often centered on access to higher education. Opponents of regulation say the rules would prevent mostly minority, low-income students from attending college. Supporters argue the regulations would simply target the worst actors in the industry, who seek profits from federal aid dollars with little regard for student outcomes once they enter the workforce.

    The Department of Education has not yet released a final version of the rules, but a draft version would allow programs at for-profit colleges to remain fully eligible even if less than half of students are repaying the principal on federal student loans.

    A spokesman for the Department of Education defended the regulations, and said the agency would "continue working with Congress and education stakeholders as we thoughtfully move forward on this important issue."

    "Far too many students are being saddled with unmanageable debts in exchange for degrees and certificates that do nothing to improve their employment prospects," said the Department spokesman, Justin Hamilton.

    Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, who opposed the amendment, said the vote would "shut down work on protecting students from financial exploitation."

    "When these institutions can make up to 90 percent of their revenue from federal student aid, we have an obligation to protect the taxpayer investment," Miller said.

    [Nov 22, 2010] Is Student Debt the Next Front in the Consumer Debt Crisis?

    The media has been so preoccupied with acute symptoms of the debt crisis – sliding home prices, foreclosure abuses, ongoing Euromarket bank/sovereign debt stress, ongoing battles over financial regulation implementation, unhappiness over the Fed's QE2 – that lingering problems are not getting the attention they deserve.

    High on the list is the how the weak job market is affecting new college and advanced degree program graduates. We have an unspoken social contract: young people who get an education, particularly a "good" education (which means more elite universities, more serious courses of study, graduate degrees) are supposed to be rewarded by higher lifetime earnings. And the prospect of higher lifetime earnings in turn makes it rational to borrow to invest in education.

    But this whole premise has started to go awry, and the huge uptick in unemployment has started to make matters worse. A guest post at Baseline Scenario by UMass-Amherst students Mark Paul and Anastasia Wilson outlines the grim conditions facing new graduates:

    Currently, even after a slight boost in jobs growth, unemployment for 18-24 year olds stands at 24.7%. For 20-24 year olds, it hovers at 15.2%. These conservative estimates, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics U3 measure, do not reflect the number of marginally attached or discouraged young workers feeling the lag from a nearly moribund job market.

    The U3 measure also does not count underemployment, yet with only 50% of B.A. holders able to find jobs requiring such a degree, underemployment rates are a telling index of the squeezing of the 18-30 year old Millennial generation.

    Take note: half the recently-minted college grads are in jobs that do not require a college degree.

    Now if these graduates were going to college for the mere love of learning, and didn't mind working at Home Depot because they could work on a novel in their garret, this picture might not be quite as terrible as it looks. But I sincerely doubt that anyone in the US goes to college to become a working class intellectual.

    But the economic (as opposed to social and personal) value of higher education is exaggerated. The widely-touted College Board claim that lifetime earnings for college grad outpace those of mere high school grads by $800,000 does not stand up to scrutiny. The author of the 2007 study which the College Board relied upon disclaims that estimate and says $450,000 is a better figure. Mark Schneider, a vice president of the American Institutes for Research, who used actual earnings data of graduates ten years after college, and allowed for other factors such as taxes, pegged the difference at $280,000.

    And these estimates are averages. Students who are drawn to fields such as architecture, which require advanced education but are not terribly well paid, will fare less well.

    In addition, the value of a degree is premised as much on its scarcity and credentialing value as it is on actual gains in skills. If college educations go from a sign of achievement to a mere social norm, do they really provide that much income benefit to the recipient? James Galbraith, in The Predator State, argued that encouraging more people to get college degrees actually lowered its value, but also served the useful social function of delaying entry into the job market, and hence reducing employment pressures.

    But students and their parents have been sold on the value of education as an investment, and it isn't hard to see why. As higher education costs have skyrocketed, more and more students need to borrow to finance their schooling. The Economist gives an overview:

    For decades, college fees have risen faster than Americans' ability to pay them. Median household income has grown by a factor of 6.5 in the past 40 years, but the cost of attending a state college has increased by a factor of 15 for in-state students and 24 for out-of-state students. The cost of attending a private college has increased by a factor of more than 13 (a year in the Ivy League will set you back $38,000, excluding bed and board). Academic inflation makes most other kinds look modest by comparison.

    Picture 54

    In the stone ages of my youth, many middle class parents could afford to send their kids to Ivy League schools. A year at Harvard, with room and board, is now over $50,000, on a par with median household income.

    And perversely, student loans are the only form of consumer debt that is virtually impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. Per FindLaw:

    Thanks to a provision the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act signed into law by then President George W. Bush, the current law only allows the discharge of private student loans in bankruptcy after a showing of "undue hardship," the same requirement that is made for federal or non-profit backed student loans. Undue hardship requires a separate showing to a bankruptcy judge proving, in essence, that the borrower would never be able to pay off the loan. This is an extremely difficult legal standard to meet.

    New graduates are, or at least should be, very attractive to employers. Someone who can't find a good job right out of school will face even higher hurdles down the road. Paul and Wilson describe how high unemployment rates for young people represent a an economic and ultimately a social problem:

    Recent college graduates, those in the labor force with the freshest batch of knowledge and skills, are currently underwater and sinking fast with unprecedented student loan and personal debt. Average student debt for the class of 2008 was $23,200, an increase over four years of about 25%, meaning that students are knee deep in negative equity between their educational investment and actual earnings.

    Between inflated student debt and the lack of available jobs for qualified graduates, students are defaulting at an all time high level of 7.2%. From 2008 to 2009, student debt defaults jumped about 30% to $50.8 billion. This earning-to-debt gap not only hurts lending institutions, but also may affect students' future abilities to borrow – a significant hurdle in our credit driven economy.

    If student debt and job stagnation continue, younger workers will face real structural unemployment (as opposed to the fake kind that had been suspected by some economists, but was recently debunked by the San Francisco Fed). The more time these young workers spend unemployed and underemployed, the greater chance for future structural unemployment due to deteriorating human capital.

    High debt, high defaults, and low family earnings will prevent many students from finishing college at all. High unemployment for those who do manage to graduate with a degree will create barriers for those unable to start their careers.

    This is a slow motion train wreck. Optimistic estimates of economic recovery project unemployment reverting to pre-bust norms by 2015; more realistic forecasts put it at years later. And the more students drop out of college, the worse job market pressures become.

    At the end of their piece, Paul and Wilson make a persuasive case for action:

    In order to solve future structural problems in the United States and ensure a future for the sandwich generation, fiscal policy focused on educational and job growth is crucial. While deficit hawks may squawk about the costs, the burden of repayment is on younger people. Without adequate education and careers for students, we will never be able to balance the budget. In the long run, it makes more fiscal sense to create jobs and collect tax revenue than to rely on a model that merely waits for the private sector to invest.

    But the "long run" and "fiscal sense" don't count for much in deficit debates. Sadly, the very real plight of this cohort is certain to be ignored unless they can find a way to make their needs heard.

    [Nov 16, 2010] The Best and the Brightest Have Led America Off a Cliff by Chris Hedges,

    December 9, 2008 | AlterNet

    I sat a few months ago with a former classmate from Harvard Divinity School who is now a theology professor. When I asked her what she was teaching, she unleashed a torrent of obscure academic code words. I did not understand, even with three years of seminary, what she was talking about. You can see this absurd retreat into specialized, impenetrable verbal enclaves in every graduate department across the country. The more these universities churn out these stunted men and women, the more we are flooded with a peculiar breed of specialist. This specialist blindly services tiny parts of a corporate power structure he or she has never been taught to question and looks down on the rest of us with thinly veiled contempt.

    I was sent to boarding school on a scholarship at the age of 10. By the time I had finished eight years in New England prep schools and another eight at Colgate and Harvard, I had a pretty good understanding of the game. I have also taught at Columbia, New York University and Princeton. These institutions, no matter how mediocre you are, feed students with the comforting self-delusion that they are there because they are not only the best but they deserve the best. You can see this attitude on display in every word uttered by George W. Bush. Here is a man with severely limited intellectual capacity and no moral core. He, along with Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who attended my boarding school and went on to Yale, is an example of the legions of self-centered mediocrities churned out by places like Andover, Yale and Harvard. Bush was, like the rest of his caste, propelled forward by his money and his connections. That is the real purpose of these well-endowed schools -- to perpetuate their own.

    "There's a certain kind of student at these schools who falls in love with the mystique and prestige of his own education," said Elyse Graham, whom I taught at Princeton and who is now doing graduate work at Yale. "This is the guy who treats his time at Princeton as a scavenger hunt for Princetoniana and Princeton nostalgia: How many famous professors can I collect? And so on. And he comes away not only with all these props for his sense of being elect, but also with the smoothness that seems to indicate wide learning; college socializes you, so you learn to present even trite ideas well."

    These institutions cater to their students like high-end resorts. My prep school -- remember this is a high school -- recently built a $26 million gym. Not that it didn't have a gym; it had a fine one, with an Olympic pool. But it needed to upgrade its facilities to compete for the elite boys and girls being wooed by other schools. While public schools crumble, while public universities are slashed and degraded, while these elite institutions become unaffordable even for the middle class, the privileged retreat further into their opulent, gated communities. Harvard lost $8 billion of its endowment over the past four months, which raises the question of how smart these people are, but it still has $30 billion. Schools like Yale, Stanford and Princeton are not far behind. Those on the inside are told they are there because they are better than others. Most believe it.

    The people I loved most, my working-class family in Maine, did not go to college. They were plumbers, post office clerks and mill workers. Most of the men were military veterans. They lived frugal and hard lives. They were indulgent of my incessant book reading and incompetence with tools, even my distaste for deer hunting, and they were a steady reminder that just because I had been blessed with an opportunity that was denied to them, I was not better or more intelligent. If you are poor, you have to work after high school or, in the case of my grandfather, before you are able to finish high school. College is not an option. No one takes care of you. You have to do that for yourself. This is the most important difference between them and the elites.

    The elite schools, which trumpet their diversity, base this diversity on race and ethnicity, rarely on class. The admissions process, as well as the staggering tuition costs, precludes most of the poor and working class. When my son got his SAT scores back last year, we were surprised to find that his critical reading score was lower than his math score. He dislikes math. He is an avid and perceptive reader. And so we did what many educated, middle-class families do. We hired an expensive tutor from the Princeton Review, who taught him the tricks and techniques of taking standardized tests. The tutor told him things like "stop thinking about whether the passage is true. You are wasting test time thinking about the ideas. Just spit back what they tell you." His reading score went up 130 points. Was he smarter? Was he a better reader? Did he become more intelligent? Is reading and answering multiple-choice questions while someone holds a stopwatch over you even an effective measure of intelligence? What about those families that do not have a few thousand dollars to hire a tutor? What chance do they have?

    These universities, because of their incessant reliance on standardized tests and the demand for perfect grades, fill their classrooms with large numbers of drones. I have taught gifted and engaged students who used these institutions to expand the life of the mind, who asked the big questions and who cherished what these schools had to offer. But they were always a marginalized and dispirited minority. The bulk of their classmates, most of whom headed off to Wall Street or corporate firms when they graduated, starting at $120,000 a year, did prodigious amounts of work and faithfully regurgitated information. They received perfect grades in both tedious, boring classes and stimulating ones, not that they could tell the difference. They may have known the plot and salient details of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but they were unable to tell you why the story was important. Their professors, fearful of being branded political and not wanting to upset the legions of wealthy donors and administrative overlords who rule such institutions, did not draw the obvious parallels with Iraq and American empire. They did not use Conrad's story, as it was meant to be used, to examine our own imperial darkness. And so, even in the anemic world of liberal arts, what is taught exists in a moral void.

    "The existence of multiple forms of intelligence has become a commonplace, but however much elite universities like to sprinkle their incoming classes with a few actors or violinists, they select for and develop one form of intelligence: the analytic," William Deresiewicz, who taught English at Yale, wrote in The American Scholar. "While this is broadly true of all universities, elite schools, precisely because their students (and faculty, and administrators) possess this one form of intelligence to such a high degree, are more apt to ignore the value of others. One naturally prizes what one most possesses and what most makes for one's advantages. But social intelligence and emotional intelligence and creative ability, to name just three other forms, are not distributed preferentially among the educational elite."

    Intelligence is morally neutral. It is no more virtuous than athletic prowess. It can be used to further the rape of the working class by corporations and the mechanisms of repression and war, or it can be used to fight these forces. But if you determine worth by wealth, as these institutions invariably do, then fighting the system is inherently devalued. The unstated ethic of these elite institutions is to make as much money as you can to sustain the elitist system. College presidents are not voices for the common good and the protection of intellectual integrity, but obsequious fundraisers. They shower honorary degrees and trusteeships on hedge-fund managers and Wall Street titans whose lives are usually examples of moral squalor and unchecked greed. The message to the students is clear. But grabbing what you can, as John Ruskin said, isn't any less wicked when you grab it with the power of your brains than with the power of your fists.

    Most of these students are afraid to take risks. They cower before authority. They have been taught from a young age by zealous parents, schools and institutional authorities what constitutes failure and success. They are socialized to obey. They obsess over grades and seek to please professors, even if what their professors teach is fatuous. The point is to get ahead. Challenging authority is not a career advancer. Freshmen arrive on elite campuses and begin to network their way into the elite eating clubs, test into the elite academic programs and lobby for elite summer internships. By the time they graduate, they are superbly conditioned to work 10 or 12 hours a day, electronically moving large sums of money around.

    "The system forgot to teach them, along the way to the prestige admissions and the lucrative jobs, that the most important achievements can't be measured by a letter or a number or a name," Deresiewicz wrote. "It forgot that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers."

    "Only a small minority have seen their education as part of a larger intellectual journey, have approached the work of the mind with a pilgrim soul," he went on. "These few have tended to feel like freaks, not least because they get so little support from the university itself. Places like Yale, as one of them put it to me, are not conducive to searchers. Places like Yale are simply not set up to help students ask the big questions. I don't think there ever was a golden age of intellectualism in the American university, but in the 19th century, students might at least have had a chance to hear such questions raised in chapel or in the literary societies and debating clubs that flourished on campus."

    Barack Obama is a product of this elitist system. So are his degree-laden cabinet members. They come out of Harvard, Yale, Wellesley and Princeton. Their friends and classmates made huge fortunes on Wall Street and in powerful law firms. They go to the same class reunions. They belong to the same clubs. They speak the same easy language of privilege and comfort and entitlement. They are endowed with an unbridled self-confidence and blind belief in a decaying political and financial system that has nurtured and empowered them.

    These elites, and the corporate system they serve, have ruined the country. These elite cannot solve our problems. They have been trained to find "solutions," such as the trillion-dollar bailout of banks and financial firms, that sustain the system. They will feed the beast until it dies. Don't expect them to save us. They don't know how. And when it all collapses, when our rotten financial system with its trillions in worthless assets implodes, and our imperial wars end in humiliation and defeat, they will be exposed as being as helpless, and as stupid, as the rest of us.

    Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. His latest book is Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians.


    Well, well, well, someone has finally found the end run societal gambit. I have been wondering about this for quite a while. My thinking which I am presently acting on is that student loans are going to be as large if not larger problem than housing not for financial reasons but those of social stability. Basically the average student debt load is so high as be be likely unpayable in real if not even in nominal terms. The recent proliferation of for profit schools has exacerbated this problem. Furthermore these high debt loads delay purchases like homes and delay or prevent new household formation. And maybe most importantly the lesson from the last 3 years I took away w/r/t debt and the government is that it is better to gamble on the Federal Government embracing moral hazard than to be prudent. Lastly the interesting thing about student debt vs. any other loan is that while they might wreck your credit if you fail to repay, a. they cannot take your degree or knowledge back and b. they will not pursue you to a foreign country to get the money. So if a person were smart they might get in as deep as possible and if the job market here leaves them cold just go where the work is…..


    See my comment below. The problem is that as the US is losing the respect of the world, so are American degrees. It used to be easy for an American graduate to have his degree accepted abroad. Now it's getting harder, and for good reason, because American higher education is getting worse by the day. The current exponential growth of for-profit education will completely prostitute American education.

    Similarly, getting a work visa abroad for Americans is becoming harder. This is why I have been harping around here for a few years now about the importance of having two citizenships. For example, some EU nations are still willing to give citizenship (or at least residence and work visas) to somebody who can trace his or her roots to that country for up to 3 generations. Might come in handy.


    Great article! In addition to my clinical work, I also teach part time at a private medical school. Some of my students graduate with as much as $350,000 in debt. I think the average is around $150,000.

    Another problem is that in many professions, if a graduate falls behind in paying his student loans, the DOE sometimes will go as far as to prevent that person from getting a license to practice. I know several doctors, dentists, and psychologists with huge debt in that situation. And, since they cannot practice, they obviously aren't able to pay their student loans. Catch-22. I know a few who were forced to leave the country because of this, and now practice in Europe just because here their careers were ruined by student loans. It is an insane system.


    The prospect of getting a job as an associate at a big firm right out of law school has disappeared over the past few years for just about anyone who hasn't gone to a top tier law school and graduated in the top 5% of the class.

    Law school doesn't even begin to arm you with the skills necessary to litigate against a major defense firm, so these new lawyers would be no match for the army of experienced lawyers the law schools would hire to defend any class action suit for the fraud they have committed. And since the case would likely be a loser, it would be very difficult to find a worthy plaintiffs' law firm willing to sink the money into a case on a contingency fee basis. Moreover, the ABA would absolutely pull out all stops to keep their little law school ripoff scam running. Most of the judges are active ABA members too, so I can't see them having too much sympathy for the plaintiffs.

    My best friend graduated from Michigan State University Law School a few years ago and passed the Georgia bar on his first attempt. He has over 100K in student debt and has only been able to find "document review" jobs in other cities. This is the new future for law school graduates that they don't tell you about when you take the LSAT. He is driving to another city away from his family, paying for his own hotel room and food, sitting in a room with 50 other lawyers for 12 hours per day, and making $17 per hour with no benefits and no overtime (professionals are exempt).

    Big pharmaceutical companies hire these contract lawyers to review tetra bytes of documents to see if they contain privileged information. Really, a gaggle of monkeys could probably do the same job. It certainly doesn't require a juris doctor degree, but I suppose since there are hundreds of thousands of new lawyers out there who cannot find anything else, why not hire them for peon wages and make them feel like they're practicing law while they look for a real legal job.

    Take a look at some of the jobs that new law school graduates can expect. . How can anyone pay back a student loan at wages that are only slightly higher than Starbucks when you factor in benefits? My friend tells me that, of the 50 attorneys in the document review room, most everyone has placed their student loan in deferment status.

    I am puzzled about why it's taking so long for people to figure out that law school is a three-year ripoff. I guess every student wants to believe that they will graduate in the top 5%, but the odds are very much stacked against them.


    I've already heard of a few cases of law students suing their law schools for having fraudulently represented the value of the degree and the jobs that would be available to them, and inducing them to take out student loans on that fraudulent basis.

    Poetic justice (for both parties, in the case of law students) aside, the moral soundness of such a suit is clear. This is a clear-cut case of predatory lending. You fraudulently represent an expensive asset as being an investment which will always appreciate in value, and induce the mark to take out a usurious loan in order to purchase it.

    The parallel with housing is clear, and the fraud is even more direct. In the case of mortgage lending fraud, the seller was usually technically the previous homeowner, with the banks and their flunkeys managing the sale (and the government only propagandizing for it).

    Here the school and the government themselves, along with the banksters, are active participants in the loan fraud.

    It's even worse in this case because there are no non-recourse student loans. There's no house collateral to repossess. There aren't even recourse loans which can be discharged in bankruptcy. Instead the "repossession" on a default can be nothing other than indentured labor. Legally, there's no walking away from a student loan. Once the distressed student borrower can't pay, he's placed in the Hobbesian state of nature vis the indenturing system. The 2005 bankruptcy law has only made this worse.

    Then there's the fact that many of those who went on to post-graduate study did so expecting to be hired at asset-appreciating rates by the very educational system which was making these promises for these assets. Yet everywhere today we see the schools themselves failing to hire in sufficient numbers, and low-balling those they do hire, and seeking neoliberal structural adjustments for professors and teachers at every level.

    It's there that the loan fraud is most stark, direct, palpable.

    So I'd love to see class action suits against the universities by the distressed student debtors, and a parallel political campaign unmasking this systematic lending fraud on the part of the schools and the very government which makes it impossible to discharge the debt, but wants to turn it into indentured servitude.

    While here it's not legally possible to jubilate the debt from the bottom up (the way it is with e.g. mortgage debt), it's possible to politically demonstrate it to be predatory debt, the victims being the children (and by extension the parents who have to keep financially helping them) of the very middle class who would be the target audience. And this way may lie some kind of political relief, some kind of top-down acquienscence in the demanded jubilee.

    (Meanwhile, I don't know how legally viable such lawsuits would be. The law is no doubt rigged against them, and even if not it would still depend upon non-corrupt judges, judges who aren't pro-bankster. But I think the main point of such suits would be political. Money shouldn't be a problem, if we have all these unemployed lawyers. All you need is enough of them who recognize that the most likely path to relief is political, and that such suits can be part of that political campaign even if they don't prevail in the proximate legal sense.)

    Beyond that, this is yet another stark lesson in the fact that the government and system institutions have become on the whole enemies of the people. What other conclusion can be drawn from the fact that they've taken the education aspiration itself, something which throughout history was the shining emblem of socioeconomic advancement, always right at the core of the work-hard-and-play-by-the-rules propaganda (and let's recall how just a few years ago the likes of David Brooks were trumpeting the notion that America needed to aspire to universal college attendance), that they've taken this and turned it into another malevolent dead end and debt trap.

    We know what Hobbes said the person who has been cast out and placed back in the state of nature should do, what he's morally entitled to do, if the sovereign unilaterally breaks the social contract. The student debtor, the victim of top-down loan fraud and the target of indenture, should recognize that the existing system first lied to him and then unilaterally declared war upon him. He should regard it in kind.

    [Oct 21, 2010] Rags and Bones

    Student loans

    An article in the Times for September 4 describes two women, a medical student with a stunning quarter million dollars in loan debt so far, and a woman with a bachelor's degree who incurred $170,000 worth. There has been a tuition bubble these last thirty or so years just as there was a real estate or an Internet bubble, and it is having some similar consequences. It is a very unwise and dangerous choice to go that far into hock just to get an undergraduate education, and there is no guaranty that with a mere BA the latter woman will be able to earn enough to pay off her debt.

    Even the doctor-to-be is facing a situation in which she may never slip up, never take time off to have children, in order to be debt free when she is in her fifties (!!).

    Banks which lend these amounts of money for education are engaging in many cases in exactly the behavior of banks which loaned absurd amounts of money for real estate purchases by people who would never be able to repay it unless a miracle occurred. Such lending is doubly irresponsible, putting the bank at risk and ultimately forcing bail-outs with public money, but also encouraging individuals to engage in risky behavior.

    The spectacle of young people starting their adult lives as much as a quarter million dollars underwater is very disturbing. The role of government in sponsoring, encouraging and guaranteeing student loans also needs to be re-examined. A government role which made sense when people were graduating with $20,000 in debt looks entirely different when the number is ten times as much.


    In 2004, a housecat named Colby Nolan was awarded an "Executive MBA" by Texas-based Trinity Southern University. The cat belonged to a deputy attorney general looking into allegations of fraud by the school. The cat's application was originally for a Bachelor of Business Administration, but due to the cat's "qualifications" (including work experience in fast-food and as a paperboy) the school offered to upgrade the degree to an Executive MBA for an additional $100. As a result of this incident, the Pennsylvania attorney general has filed suit against the school.


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