Category Archives: student loans

June 14, 2011, 3:44 pm

Every Graduate A Potential John Dillinger: An Incomplete History Of Student Loan Repayment

Banks seestudent loan defaulters as white collar bandits

Back in 1981, a New York friend of mine went to the bank shortly after payday to find that hir checking account was abso-total-lutely empty.  Zero.  Zed. Nada.  In the course of an inquiry that began with outrage and ended in shame, ze discovered that the federal government had attached hir salary to begin reclaiming a thousand dollars or so of the student loan arrears ze had amassed since graduating three years earlier.

This was back in the day when student loans for an Ivy League education might top out at around $10K for a degree that had cost under $50K in 1970s dollars.  Prior to Ronald Reagan raising the interest rate from 3% to 9% in 1982, and eliminating the deduction for student loans in 1986, my guess is that the payments were a couple hundred dollars a month (go here for Kelly Phillips Erb’s excellent history of student…

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April 21, 2009, 2:57 pm

How Many Administrators Does It Take To File A Department Of Education Report?

Two. One to file the report, one to respond the barrage of stupid newspaper articles written about the report after the data is crunched by a non-profit conservative think tank.

This half-assed joke is a response to an article by Tamar Lewin in today’s New York Times that ran under the headline “Staff Jobs On Campus Outpace Enrollment.” The data, taken from Department of Education reports filed by 2,782 colleges and analyzed by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, shows that public and private colleges have about the same ratio of staff to student (8 and 9 per 100, respectively) and have bloated at about the same rate since 1987. Lewin writes,

In the 20-year period, the report found, the greatest number of jobs added, more than 630,000, were instructors — but three-quarters of those were part-time. Converted to full-time equivalents, those resulted in a total of 939,…

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June 1, 2007, 1:57 pm

Credit Card Nation, Chapter the Third: In Which An Agreement Is Reached

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) has settled with Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Attorney General, over the financial aid scandal. So has Columbia University, which will pay either $1.1 million (so says the New York Times) or $1.125 million (so says Inside Higher Ed) into a national fund that will “educate student borrowers” about their options in the student loan market. You can read about it here. Part of the agreement with Columbia clearly includes the university being allowed to say that no one did anything wrong, since their lawyers are adamant that the sum they have paid does not constitute a “fine.” Which is technically true, as no one has gone so far as to say that the marketing practices the university collaborated in, and individuals were paid under the table for, were more than unethical. In other words, part of the scam was to…

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May 18, 2007, 4:42 pm

More On Credit Card Nation: Perspective from A Student Who Is Now One Of “Us”

I often get great comments, but if you don’t go back to older posts to see who has checked in, look at comment number eight on my last blog entry. It is from a former Zenith student, who I am happy to say, has finished graduate school and has a job. It offers a thoughtful perspective on all of the issues my post, and the comments, raised about student debt. It also discusses the ways faculty can assist students in need without stigmatizing any individual who is underfunded. I particularly like the part where she uses the teaching of economic history to help students think about the ethical dimensions of being in a debt relationship, and her mentoring of students trying to become more powerful and knowledgeable in relationship to debt. But as she also points out, faculty need to take an ethical stance in the debt situation as well, and we can make choices in our teaching, without…

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May 15, 2007, 4:04 pm

College in Credit Card Nation

Having just made it through one college admission season in Credit Card Nation, I am bracing for the next. One of the down sides of being involved in the Higher Ed Biz is that people with college-age children believe or hope that we who are on The Job can give some kind of useful advice about how to get into a great school. This often leaves the Radical in a tough spot. For example, I honestly don’t know why people do or do not get into Zenith, since I imagine, like everything else, it changes from year to year and I haven’t seen a first-year file for four years. And even if I had, I still couldn’t tell you. Different applicants fill different instutional desires, and those desires are not always predictable. My students exhibit a range of talents and abilities about which I cannot generalize in any useful way, or translate into a “good” application. Some write well; others write…

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