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Mon Mar 12, 2012, 09:29 AM

Gathering Of Subprime School Officials Blames Students For Student Debt

In recent years, the for-profit college industry — which runs veritable “subprime schools” which get billions of dollars from Uncle Sam and then deliver low-quality education while loading students up with debt – has come under increasing scrutiny. As a result, it has ramped up its lobbying operations in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this week, I attended a conference hosted by a trade association for these subprime schools, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), where they plotted their legislative strategy. I witnessed how they brought in high-level Democratic and Republican Party consultants to plan out astroturf campaigns and how the industry recruited former Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott to do its bidding by lobbying Congress.

Read more: http://www.republicreport.org/2012/exclusive-gathering-of-subprime-school-officials-blames-students-for-student-debt/

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Reply Gathering Of Subprime School Officials Blames Students For Student Debt (Original post)
Report1212 Mar 2012 OP
Mr Dixon Mar 2012 #1
GopperStopper2680 Mar 2012 #2
NNN0LHI Mar 2012 #4
Zalatix Mar 2012 #6
Igel Mar 2012 #5
GopperStopper2680 Mar 2012 #3

Response to Report1212 (Original post)

Mon Mar 12, 2012, 09:44 AM

1. IMO

This is the Next bubble

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Response to Mr Dixon (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 12, 2012, 10:43 AM

2. Bubble bubble, Toil and Trouble!


Housing Bubble, Higher Education Bubble-you see what's happening don't you? It's a witch's brew of attacks on our right to seek self betterment. Put us on the streets, make us work like dogs for enough money to rent filthy, rundown unhealthy government subsidized housing after they foreclose on our homes--then head off our attempts to gain the skills that would allow us to escape the trap. "Swayin' to the rhythm of the New World Order and...."

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Response to GopperStopper2680 (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 12, 2012, 11:12 AM

4. See what's happening? I seen this happening over 30 years ago. Lot of people didn't though


In order to reduce corporate taxes, it was necessary to reduce the size of the welfare state. This objective was carried out by the Reagan administration (Abramovitz, 1992). After taking office in 1981, the administration set out on a course to alter the (relatively) labor sensitive political economy to be more business friendly. Reagan appointed anti-union officials to the National Labor Relations Board, "implicitly {granting} employers permission to revive long shunned anti-union practices: decertifying unions, outsourcing production, and hiring permanent replacements for striking workers" (102). Reagan himself pursued such a policy when he fired eleven thousand striking air traffic controllers in 1981. Regulations designed to protect the environment , worker safety, and consumer rights were summarily decried as unnecessary government meddling in the marketplace (Abramovitz, 1992; Barlett and Steele, 1996). Programs designed to help the poor were also characterized as "big government," and the people who utilized such programs were often stigmatized as lazy or even criminal. With the help of both political parties, the administration drastically cut social welfare spending and the budgets of many regulatory agencies.

The new emphasis was on "supply side" economics, which essentially "blamed the nation's ills on 'big government' and called for lower taxes, reduced federal spending (military exempted), fewer government regulations, and more private sector initiatives " (Abramovitz, 1992, 101). Thus, to effect a change in the political economy, Reagan was able to win major concessions regarding social policy that continue today. By taking away the safety net, the working class was effectively neutralized: workers no longer had the freedom to strike against their employers or depend upon the social welfare system as a means of living until finding employment. Business was thus free to lower wages, benefits, and the length of contracts. The overall result was that the average income for the average American dropped even as the average number of hours at work increased (Barlett and Steele, 1996; Schor, 1992).

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Response to NNN0LHI (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 12, 2012, 01:42 PM

6. At what point do the workers finally decide to rebel?


They could effectively paralyze the economy and bring Reagan's entire economy down.

I sure hope the spring thaw brings a huge resurgence of Occupy...

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Response to GopperStopper2680 (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 12, 2012, 01:38 PM

5. It's a difficult problem to wrap your head around.

It goes like this.

There are three kinds of schools and three kinds of majors and three kinds of mindsets towards education.

1. There are the 4-year schools with kids who are prepared and learn a lot during their 4 years. The graduates from these schools have a decided advantage; they usually go on to make a lot more money and acquire a lot more power.

There are the 4-year schools that serve the majority of students. The kids aren't that well prepared. Some aren't prepared at all. They study little and learn little. They graduate and are working stiffs. It was these kids, the majority of college students, that made it appear that American college students are learning nothing. Their numbers have increased markedly over the last 50 years.

There are vocational and 2-year schools. These can be for profit or public. They remediate a horrible preparation or serve as a cheap entry for poorer--and usually less well prepared--students. They leave students with a surprisingly high amount of debt since a large percentage of the students that go to these schools never finish or make little to no use of their education. (The only difference between for-profit and public schools is the tuition rates--when you adjust for demographics, they have the same failure rate, the same "subprime" status, and the same amount of "deceit" in attracting students.)

2. There are three kinds of majors. There are majors that give you a good education. You learn to think, to solve problems, to learn and to be flexible--the details don't much matter because you can readily cross train for a variety of jobs. There are "I wanna job" majors, which can be everything from engineering to social work to auto mechanics. It's vocational training writ large. Then there are feel-good majors, majors that provide neither useful education nor employable skills. Sometimes it's vocational training in pointless endeavors, sometimes it's a simulacrum of critical thinking skills in which all critical thinking involves being critical of those not like you.

The first kind usually leads to middle to high income level and is good for your kids. The second kind can lead to high income or just a steady blue-collar job. The third leads to scut work, unless you're very lucky and actually smart. Too many OWS college grads were in this last category--"I majored in history at Podunk U, and now society owes me a high-paying job."

3. The three kinds of mindsets are "education because it's a good thing", "education because I need a skill," and "education because I need the write piece of paper." The first used to be philosphers, and you can find kids like this in engineering, law school, in language departments, etc., etc. The second can be found in all sorts of departments, too, but the focus is on something practical. These used to be apprentices. There's been a huge debate in universities in the last 30 years over the extent to which universities are a vocational program for advanced skills and the extent to which they are to provide thinking skills and advance knowledge and society. The third kind of mindset is utterly plebeian--you need a job and see a diploma or certificate as a kind of meal ticket.

The for-profit schools are useful for some students. Those who really want to move on to another college, who have thought things through and know what certificate program they want. They serve the same clientele as community colleges, sometimes accepting kids that the community colleges won't take. Community colleges in disadvantaged areas have the same kind of demographics and outcomes as many for profit colleges that are viewed as debt mills. If you look at other for profit colleges with different demographics, you find that their graduation/employment rates pattern not by (not-)for-profit status but by demographics.

As with many other things, it's not the colleges. The colleges with kids that receive a really good education have faculty no less talented in teaching than colleges where the kids party and learn little. It's the kids' preparedness, their mindset, their willingness and their effort that make the difference. But when you see a problem that seems to disproportionately affect one SES or ethnicity, the assumption must be that it's not the victims. They chose their path, albeit in ignorance and blindly; they incurred the debt, albeit in ignorance and blindly; they didn't get a good education, mostly because they or their peers prevented it in ignorance or out of blindness. Lacking in responsibility, we feel better when we say it's actually our responsibility to charge others with the responsibility of taking care of them. (No. I don't have a solution. My atavistic one is to remove all kids from such parents and rear them in official, government-approved creches, but I hardly think this is acceptable either to right or left, or to myself.)

Crucially, if you look at for-profit colleges that are part of a county or city system and get some sort of subsidy, sort of a private/public partnership, you find that their tuition rates are lower. They didn't have to buy land or front the cost of their own buildings. They don't have to pay the same taxes on their land or buildings. They don't have the same amount of investment income to provide a decent ROI on. The upper echelons are more settled because they run lower risks of being ousted for poor management. All in all, for-profits are more expensive for good reasons. Too bad the solution isn't expanding community colleges, i.e. having "our side" put in effort and gold, but instead castigating them and requiring that they submit their effort and gold to our wishes.

The for-profit colleges are handy for non-traditional students. They've been offering some online degree and certification programs for years that traditional colleges are only recently getting into. They also offer programs that public schools seldom offer, or offer insufficiently often. HVAC repair, for instance. They used to be apprenticeship programs. The problem is that too many students don't finish, don't do well, or have miscalculated the need. Rather like French majors or psych majors at most 4-year schools.

These online programs had counterparts decades ago in correspondence courses. A lot of people started them, bought materials and never used them. Debt was harder to come by then. Some students finished the courses. Most didn't. The stakes were lower, however, and fewer were concerned about saving the world.

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Response to Report1212 (Original post)

Mon Mar 12, 2012, 10:44 AM

3. Being robbed blind and blamed for it


Already one monster market is robbing us blind. The Housing Market. And what do they do when we can't pay? Put us on the street.

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