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View Diary: Is The Student Loan Debt Bubble Bursting? (updated) (334 comments)

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  •  Can't leave out academia in this thing. (11+ / 0-)

    Everything that has happened with student loan debt wasn't just a function of for profit colleges and banks. Academia across the country have been a willing friend to the entire scheme. Ever more grandiose ambitions on buildings and institutes and obnoxious rises in not just tuition but fees and other outrageous costs to get a basic undergraduate degree. Ridiculous markups on books (coordinated with professors and publishers). All of it.

    Despite all their wonderful liberal love, academia has been just as much an impediment to upward mobility as the other large institutions in this country.

    •  I have friends who are tenured profs in different (18+ / 0-)

      universities and they both tell me that departments are cutting back on admin staff and forcing teaching and research staff to do admin work themselves. Between teaching duties, admin work and the need for a life, there's precious little time for research (except for immediately monetizable work, of course), which is only going to hurt society and the economy down the line.

      In our zeal to maximize short-term profits, we've destroyed our future. This narrowsighted model may have worked--for some--for the past 30 or so years it's been in wide application, but it's been working for fewer and fewer people more and more concentrated at the top, and it can't be sustained for much longer. Hell, it would have failed by now were it not for the bailouts. This is simply insane. We're killing ourselves and any chance for a future.

      We're devouring our seed corn and slaughtering our breeder cows.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 02:41:39 PM PST

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      •  See what they are doing with adjuncts? (10+ / 0-)

        Its all to build more buildings. More institutes for this or that. More More More. Theyre rapacious.

        •  It's a Ponzi scheme that can't go on forever (3+ / 0-)

          What happens when the bubble bursts and staff breaks down or goes on strike, banks refuse to or can't issue new student loans, their revenue stream from tuition plunges, and they're forced to foreclose on their properties, shrink their size and scope, or take in mostly foreign students who can pay in cash from China and the mideast, further dooming the job market for Americans?

          Where does this end?

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 02:47:46 PM PST

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      •  Yep. (11+ / 0-)

        That is what is happening. But that is coming down the pipeline from Admin. It depends on how a school is structured, obviously. They're all structured differently. But by and large, this is coming from someone in an Administrative capacity. First, they expand the class sizes. However, there is no attempt to scale back research and community service requirements. There's the issue of grant monies in the Sciences, of course. Next, Professors can't keep up with all of this and keep their jobs too. Next, the low-level classes are reallocated to adjuncts. Oh but wait! Then there isn't enough money to pay the adjuncts either. So a lot gets dumped back onto Professors too, since they are Tenured and thus salaried rather than contract-to-contract. When they can't do the work, everyone scrambles around doing everyone else's work and you wind up with graduate students and adjuncts desperate for CV line items doing some pretty unusual jobs. Departments wind up being consolidated, in some cases, which overtaxes Chairs and even Deans sometimes, and certainly creates a lot of mayhem.

        I can't even begin to talk about how hinky this is.

        The Administration is squeezing everyone. Badly. Very, very badly.  

        "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

        by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 03:15:26 PM PST

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        •  Just another example and manifestation (9+ / 0-)

          of the Ponzi scheme that the economy has been turned into, in order to make a smaller and smaller group of people richer and richer and more powerful. And it can't go on much longer as we're imploding from the strain and unsustainability.

          We are a republic, which means that we govern ourselves. For reasons of size, scale and constitutionality, we entrust the actual running of the country to others, a relatively small group of political, corporate and other "managers". So long as they try their best to do their jobs properly and fulfill their end of the republican social contract, we're ok with their high salaries and great perks that most of the rest of us don't get. That's the tradeoff in a big republic. But when they fail to do their jobs properly and abuse their power to enrich and empower themselves and their cronies, it's our obligation, our duty, our right, to get rid of them and put more competent and honest people in their place. We have reached that stage.

          I basically just gave the Cliff Notes synopsis of the Declaration of Independance.

          What are we going to do about it?

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 03:24:02 PM PST

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          •  Yes you did! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kovie, kyril, Killer of Sacred Cows

            I'm not sure I have ever been one to argue for a large Republic, so I don't know what the solution really is. My solution sure wouldn't be a pro-Capitalist one, however. I would like to see a completely free educational system with no ties at all to for-profit systems AND a return to a more liberal arts style of education that isn't a pre-professionalizing one. This is where I disagree the most vehemently with President Obama: I dislike his rhetoric about using colleges to get every person a job. I love the notion of job creation, but that's not the point of college. And when it's put onto colleges that they're supposed to create a workforce as their primary goal, they start thinking like the companies they try to service. So let's get rid of that notion. That would be a good start. People should be able to find jobs regardless of training. And education should be free.

            No clue what to do about the fact that we vote against our own interests all too often.

            I love your emphasis on solutions, however.

            I think Professors should stage a general strike, personally, and then teach the same classes off-campus during this time... the administration would fold before Professors could be sacked. Too bad some Departments that are the bread and the butter are also corporate, and here, the unions offer the most weak-sauce solutions. So better and more unions.

            Even graduate student teachers at R1s striking could be a stronger bargaining chip.

            "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 03:35:47 PM PST

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            •  I have to respectfully disagree on (6+ / 0-)

              the role of education. I think they should teach BOTH the liberal and practical arts and sciences, the way they used to (and do well). I went to a land grant college, one of the first established by the Morrill Act at the end of the Civil War. And while I started out intending to major in a practical field, computer science, I ended up adding a second degree in history, for the "human" part of my education. While this hasn't necessarily paid off for me practically (due to choices I made and not my schooling), it has made me, I believe, vastly richer for it in non-material ways.

              I believe that everyone should get some sort of liberal arts education, but that for most people, a practical one AS WELL is necessary. And I don't see why most can't handle both, if we deemphasize certain currently vastly overemphasized aspects of education such as sports and "fun" (and don't force students to work fulltime to pay for school and commute long distances because they can't afford to live on or near campus). There's only so much that an English or history or art degree is good for, in today's job market, and most people will have to have some training in more practical fields as well (but be better at their jobs because of their liberal arts education, not to mention in their lives).

              And the ONLY way to do this is through government, because the private sector will never see the money in it (because there isn't any, nor should there be as education is a cost center, not a profit center, and must be). Which means a "large republic", more spending, and vastly better "managers".

              As for my emphasis on solutions, perhaps that's my practical education speaking, but I've always been one to be focused on solutions, not problems. I'm tired of all the bellyaching on the left about how everything sucks and we're all going to hell. My attitude is do something about it or at least propose ways to deal with it, and don't just whine about it like an adolescent who's angry at their parents.

              WE are our parents.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 03:51:26 PM PST

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    •  Define "academia" here (12+ / 0-)

      This is bullshit that's being dropped on us from the Administration, and above that, from Boards of Trustees. Academia? If you mean Professors, you will never find a more virulently opposed group of people to the student loan crisis and corporate-style education. This is nearly universal opposition amongst the MANY academics who I know (excepting a few in corporate-friendly departments, like Business, Law, and a few others).

      I'm going to tell you right here and now that on this matter, you are just plain wrong and offensive to suggest that academics haven't been outright fighting for this.

      My husband took a red hot pay cut AND a five-year pay freeze outright on top of a piss-poor salary in order to AVOID a marginal tuition increase for students. So did every other Professor at our institution and many throughout our State. Guess what? He just took signed on for another this year, again, to avoid a tuition hike. And he taught on the days he was furloughed to avoid reducing student education quality. So did most of us. We put our furloughs on days we weren't really going to be doing much work besides.

      We fought tooth and nail against predatory loans. We've gone to bat against this again and again. I'm on listservs for the school and the unions and very, very few Professors are doing anything other than taking it for the students.

      I'm making less money then I would if I waitressed, and he's making about as much as most elementary school teachers despite his Ph.D. just to put this in perspective.

      "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom" - Walter Benjamin

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 03:07:32 PM PST

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    •  Absolutely. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, mahakali overdrive

      From time to time it occurs to me that progressives should get together and start a sort of "bare bones" university that gives you the education and not much else. Can it really cost that much to employ professors? Geez, if the students paid them directly, they might earn more.

      Quite a few people I know went to Cooper Union. Is that still free?

      •  Average entry level for a professor (salary) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, mahakali overdrive

        is about $60,000 plus benefits and pensions, starting. Raises are modest.

        If I could find a "bare bones" university to work for, earning that, I'd be glad of it.

        "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." - Hubert Humphrey

        by Killer of Sacred Cows on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:09:44 PM PST

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