Student Debt Means Fewer Public Servants — And More Bankers

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By Alyssa Aquino for Other Words – Collectively, America’s student borrowers owe $1.7 trillion. On average, each graduating senior this year is beginning their life around $37,000 in the hole. That looks like a lot, but when you’re living with student debt, you look at that number and don’t even flinch. The debt is so normal it’s like an inside joke for pretty much everyone in my generation. Except we’re the punch line. I graduated class of 2015 from a private, liberal arts college — a “most selective” one, U.S. News and World Report assures me. It was also an expensive degree, Sallie Mae reminds me. Monthly. Yes, I chose to go to a private, expensive college. There was a calculus there, and one part of it was “I liked the feeling of it.” I know, this type of sentimental idealism is a privilege. It’s no surprise I came out with the equally sentimental notion that I wanted to do non-profit work — which makes it that much harder to pay those loan bills. It’s baffling to my Filipino parents. They didn’t cross the ocean and consign themselves to discrimination and demeaning jobs because they liked the “feel of it” — or even on the promise that their lives would be better. They did it on the promise that my life would be better. And that I wouldn’t owe anyone anything.

U.S. Women Disproportionately Burdened By College Debt

Women owe $833 billion in college loans, up from $223 billion in 2004.
Photo Credit: Pexels

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.

Newsletter - The People's Plan For Transformation

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. It is important to understand that we arrived in this situation by, what Moyers described as “careful long-range planning and implementation…consistency of action over an indefinite period of years…” By understanding this plan, we can realize that we can design a way out of it. This includes seeing through the propaganda and exposing the truth; not allowing ourselves to be divided into issue-based silos or taken off track by the agenda of a plutocratic political party; and organizing not just to resist, but more importantly to demand the changes we require in our communities and on the planet. Popular Resistance is one of the conveners of The People’s Congress of Resistance, a grassroots effort to build resistance and collaboration in our communities to solve the crises at hand and create a better world. One of the purposes of the conference will be to plan the future of the resistance movement and determine how we can work together more effectively. It’s time for the people to create a plan for the transformation we need.

The Student Debt Crisis Is Exploding

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The level of student loan debt has risen to $1.5 trillion and defaults are more than 40% and rising. U.S. student loan debt has grown to overwhelm all other categories of non-housing consumer debt in this nation. Underneath the crisis are rising tuition costs, a predatory student loan industry and an absence of consumer protections for students. What is the student debt movement to do? Of course the Biden bankruptcy protections should be repealed but that is not enough. We need a complete student loan debt forgiveness program. These debts are ill gotten gains and should be forgiven. If the government refuses to forgive these debts, people must rise up together and refuse to pay any student loan debt. The people have the power to end this injustice and must mobilize to do so. A student loan debt jubilee, whether mandated by law or put in place by the people, will bring economic freedom to tens of millions, end their debt servitude and allow them to participate in the economy. It will be a significant economic stimulus, but more importantly it will end an injustice.

In Rust Belt Town That Covers Tuition, Economy Revives

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By J. Gabriel Ware for Yes! Magzine. Autre Murray, 24, never planned to go to college. He thought he couldn’t afford it—even with student loans. Besides, he wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of ending up in “debt up to the neck.” Instead, Murray planned to earn a high school diploma and find a job doing manual labor, maybe somewhere like a factory. He told himself he didn’t need a college education to become successful. But now he’s on his way to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, as are other members of his Kalamazoo, Michigan, hometown. That’s thanks to the Kalamazoo Promise, a scholarship program first announced at a board meeting of Kalamazoo Public Schools in November 2005. The nonprofit of the same name provides scholarships that cover 65 to 100 percent of college tuition and fees for all graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools who meet certain criteria.

Olders Pushed Into Poverty As Feds Garnish Social Security For Student Debt

"We could have hundreds of thousands of American seniors living in poverty due to garnished Social Security benefits if this trend continues," said Sen. Claire McCaskill of Montana. (Photo: Kate Gardiner/flickr/cc)

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – ‘Hard-earned Social Security checks should not be siphoned off to pay interest and fees on student loan debt,’ says Elizabeth Warren. The federal government is garnishing Social Security checks to recoup unpaid student debt, leaving thousands of retired or disabled Americans below the poverty line and setting the stage for an even bigger problem, according to a new report. The data from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), compiled at the behest of Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), showed that people over the age of 50 are the fastest-growing group with student debt, outpacing younger generations…

Newsletter: Turn Widespread Discontent Into Mass Movement

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. With the election of Donald Trump as president the struggle continues for economic, racial and environmental justice. We knew we would be in struggle no matter who was elected and have been calling for #NoHoneymoon protests for months. We also support calls made for protests in the days before the inauguration and after them. We expect to see a growing presidency of protest under Trump as the movement will grow and continue to demand justice, human rights and a people-based democracy. We need to build now, provide a vision and have conversations at the local level so when the attacks on our communities occur and false promises of Donald Trump are made obvious people know where they can turn. We can turn widespread discontent into a mass movement with the power to transform the nation.

7 Million Graduates Not Paying Student Loans

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By Marlee Kokotovic for Nation of Change – In 2016, former students are being burdened by student loan debt stronger than ever before. It is time to make a change. Former students are taking a stand and are refusing to pay off their student debt saying they feel scammed by their universities and government. After attending college, many are feeling as ill-equipped in life, and entering the world, as if they had not gone to college at all.

Call On Congress To End $4 Billion Annual Oil Industry Subsidies

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By Sharon Kelly for Desmog – In an open letter sent to Congress today, a coalition of 40 national taxpayer, labor, environmental and other groups called on the federal government to repeal almost $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, calling them wasteful and lambasting Congress for subsidizing activities that will make climate change worse. The groups called on Senators to support the FAIR Energy Policy Act, which would slowly phase out nine special tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

To Cut Costs, College Students Are Buying Less Food And Going Hungry

On the list of students' struggles are basic necessities – food. Tulane Public Relations, CC BY-NC

By Sara Goldrick-Rab and Katharine Broton for The Conversation – Studies have long shown that a college student’s odds of achieving financial security and a better quality of life improve when he or she earns a degree. But what are some of the obstacles that prevent degree attainment? At the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, we study the challenges that students from low- and moderate-income households face in attaining a college degree.

Wall Street Profits From Public Education While Students Drown In Debt

CLICK TO EXPAND | Highest paid public employees by state (credit: deadspin.com)

By Mnar Muhawesh for Mint Press News – MINNEAPOLIS — An education crisis largely orchestrated by neoconservatives in both the Republican and Democratic Parties, has left some of the country’s oldest and most prestigious public universities struggling under deep cuts and severe budget shortfalls. Although these cuts are driven mostly by conservative think tanks, the changing face of education isn’t just about austerity.

Duopoly Parties Fall Short On Universal, Democratic Education

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By Jeff Bryant for Education Opportunity Network. Although education policy has not been a prominent issue in the current presidential race, the Democratic Party’s platform gives the subject some of its just due with a fairly extensive treatment. In the current draft, which will be finalized on June 8 and 9, there are numerous mentions of education and a special section with over 1,000 words devoted to the topic. Many are saying this platform “may be most progressive platform the Democratic Party may have ever had.” But is it progressive on education? Let’s weigh the evidence. First let’s examine how the Democratic Party platform differs from what’s proposed in the Republican Party’s platform.

Who Got Rich Off The Student Debt Crisis

Jessie Suren borrowed about $71,000, most of it from Sallie Mae, to attend La Salle University in Philadelphia. But a job with the U.S. Marshals Service fell through, and by her 2010 graduation, she had a soaring loan balance and no career prospects.
Credit: Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos

By James B. Steele and Lance Williams for Reveal News – Jessie Suren is an energetic 28-year-old who wanted a career in law enforcement. Albert Lord is a 70-year-old former accountant who became a multimillionaire executive. The two have never met, but their stories tell the history of America’s student debt crisis. Suren attended a free boarding school for underprivileged youth in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and enrolled in La Salle University in Philadelphia. Scholarships didn’t cover the cost of the private college, so she borrowed about $71,000, much of it from Sallie Mae, the financial giant of the student loan industry.

Public Bank Of North Dakota To Refinance Student Debt To 2%

Erick Hardmeyer, president of the Bank of North Dakota said the bank is expanding its outreach efforts for its Deal One student loan program. (Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune)

By Jessica Holdman for Grand Forks Herald – BISMARCK, N.D. — When first-time homebuyers get ready to purchase a house in North Dakota, Realtors may start handing them information on refinancing student loans as well. The Bank of North Dakota is partnering with Realtors to get the word out about its DEAL One loan program. Eric Hardmeyer, president of BND, said national reports have shown students graduating with an average of $27,000 to $30,000 in student loans.

A Commencement Address For Most Indebted Class Ever

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By Chuck Collins for Other Worlds – Congratulations, college graduates! As you enter the next phase of life, you and your parents should be proud of your achievements. But, I’m sorry to say, they’ve come at a price: The system is trying to squeeze you harder than any previous generation. Many baby boomers, perhaps including your parents, benefited from a time when higher education was seen as a shared social responsibility. Between 1945 and 1975, tens of millions of them graduated from college with little or no debt.