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Senate Military Spending Increase Alone Could Fund Free College

By Alex Emmons for The Intercept - ONE OF THE most controversial proposals put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential campaign was a pledge to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Critics from both parties howled that the pie-in-the-sky idea would bankrupt the country. Where, after all, would the money come from? Those concerns were brushed aside Monday night, as the Senate overwhelmingly approved an $80 billion annual increase in military spending, enough to have fully satisfied Sanders’s campaign promise. Instead, the Senate handed President Donald Trump far more than the $54 billion he asked for. The lavish spending package gives Trump a major legislative victory, allowing him to boast about fulfilling his promise of a “great rebuilding of the armed services.” The bill would set the U.S.’s annual military budget at around $700 billion, putting it within range of matching the spending level at the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. To put that in further perspective: If the package becomes law, U.S. military spending would exceed the total spending of its next 10 rivals put together, going off of 2016 military spending estimates from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Put another way, with a $700 billion military budget, the U.S. would be spending more than three times as much as China on its military, and 10 times as much as Russia. According to SIPRI, the U.S. already accounts for more than a third of all military spending.

DeVos Embrace Of Predatory For-Profit Colleges Is Breathtaking

By David Halperin for Republic Report - Betsy DeVos, whose interest in education prior to the Trump administration seemed mostly focused on K-12 schools, has made her mark as Secretary of Education instead with a remarkably blatant embrace of the worst demands of the for-profit college industry. The reputation of that industry, which at its peak a few years ago had 10 percent of U.S. college students and was getting as much as $32 billion a year from taxpayers in student grants and loans, was in tatters after a decade of government and media investigations exposing abusive practices by many for-profit schools: deceptive and coercive student recruiting, sky-high prices, low spending on instruction, and terrible job placement outcomes, leaving former students across America with crushing loan debt and often without the jobs they sought. But instead of continuing the Obama Administration’s increasingly determined efforts to protect students and taxpayers by holding predatory for-profit schools accountable, which was beginning to push schools to improve their ethics and quality...

18 States And D.C. Sue Betsy DeVos Over For-Profit College Loan Rules

By Lydia O’Connor for The Huffington Post - Eighteen states and the District of Columbia are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her decision to suspend a rule that helps student loan borrowers who were defrauded by for-profit colleges. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal district court in Washington, D.C., was led by Massachusetts and joined by 18 other attorneys general. It takes aim at DeVos’ decision to freeze an Obama-era rule known as the “borrower defense to repayment,” which helped forgive student loan debt for people whose for-profit colleges closed amid fraud accusations, leaving students without degrees and with piles of debt. “Across the US, students and families are drowning in unaffordable student loan debt while predatory, for-profit schools rake it in,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey tweeted.

Former Inmate Is Fighting For Prisoner’s Rights To College Degree

By Victoria Law for Narratively - As Cheryl Wilkins accepted her college diploma, hundreds of women screamed her name and whooped with joy. They were so loud that Wilkins’ brother, sitting with his four-year-old daughter, couldn’t hear the girl cheering, “Auntie! Auntie!” Other family members were even more enthusiastic. When another woman’s name was called, her six-year-old daughter grabbed her hand and dragged her to the stage. “Come on Mama, get your degree!” Wilkins remembers the girl shouting. “Her daughter took the diploma and walked off the stage with it.” Once the ceremony was over, the pictures taken and the food eaten, the mood turned tearful. Wilkins’ niece sobbed as her father led her away. “I want Auntie to come with us!” she cried. Other children screamed as family members pried them from their mothers’ arms. The visitors left through one exit and the women, many in tears, through another. The afternoon ended with all of the women being strip searched, the required practice after any contact with outsiders. This was no ordinary college graduation. The ceremony took place at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, New York’s maximum-security prison for women.

U.S. Women Disproportionately Burdened By College Debt

By Lauren Kaori Gurley for AlterNet - American women owe nearly twice as much of the nation’s $1.3 trillion in student loan debt as men do, according to a recent study. Since the 1950s, major strides have been made to shrink the gender gap in enrollment at American colleges and universities, and today, women make up 57 percent of college students in the United States. But despite these gains, women face disproportionate burdens when it comes to student loan debt—a lifelong economic disadvantage that can weigh down graduates for decades after they’ve earned their degrees. The student loan debt crisis is frequently cited as one of the primary reasons millennials are waiting longer than previous generations to move out of their parents’ homes, have children and get married. According to an American Association of University Women study, women are facing these challenges at higher rates than men. The reasons behind this discrepancy stem from a number of interrelated factors, including the unremitting gender wage gap. Today, women earn 10 percent less than men when taking into account factors including occupation, experience and education.
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