One of the most disturbing of recurring historical realities is slavery. Slavery comes in many forms. One can be a bond slave, a physical captive of a master for whom he must toil. Or he can be a wage slave, an earner who never realizes enough of an economic surplus ever to improve his lot.
To this list can be added a debt slave, a wage earner who is obliged to repay a principal amount advanced him at a rate of compounding interest. This last element, compounding interest, can easily go from a reasonable cost for depriving the lender of his money for a time to a complete avalanche of impossible-to-repay amounts.
This last type of slavery is increasingly coming to include the best and brightest young Americans. "Student loan debt is cruel," states an August 8, 2011 article in The Rebel Yell, the student newspaper of The University of Nevada–Las Vegas.
It cannot be discharged with a typical bankruptcy. In order for one to discharge their student loan debt they must demonstrate an “undue hardship” to the court. When you get it -- it’s yours. You can lose your house and you can be burdened by millions of dollars in debt from various pursuits and shed them all in bankruptcy. There is no escape, however, from Sallie. She sticks around. She’s the kind of lady who waits.
The inexorable presence of Sallie has many college graduates crying "Uncle!" as a consequence of the huge debt obligation ever escalating tuition rates have forced on them. The Rebel Yell article reports that "in 2008, a fourth of students who undertake university studies come out with at least $30,000 of student loan debt," which owes to the fact that the average tuition cost is $25,000 a year at nonprofit private universities and $9,000 a year a public institutions.
Of course, the most egregious offenders in this situation are the many private sector colleges and universities. This market segment exacts tuition that far exceeds that of many nonprofit private schools, thus making necessary the borrowing of large sums of money, while at the same time producing graduates at an abysmally low rate -- a mere 30 percent on average.
To remedy this disturbing phenomenon, the Rebel Yell article make 3 specific recommendations:
Were they to be implemented, these measures would do much to restore higher education to those it is intended to serve -- members of the broad middle class. If this situation is not brought under control, the decision to attend college to study graphic design, international business, or any other discipline will become merely an academic one.