Zombie higher education
by Ted Rudow III, MA ( Tedr77 [at] aol.com ) Thursday Nov 3rd, 2011
The student loan market is back in the news as it makes its unrelenting march to the $1 trillion mark. This crippling figure comes in the face of a decade of lost wages for middle class Americans. Just like the housing bubble people were supplementing a disappearing middle class with more debt.
The allure of housing was that never in our history have we seen national home prices fall, until they did in dramatic fashion. The same cultural nostalgia for education in every respect has created a zombie higher education system that is now expanding like the mortgage markets at the height of the housing bubble. This is a subject of increasing concern to the Obama administration, which, remade the federal student loan program, and is now proposing changes that may make it harder for the for-profit colleges to qualify. In the five years since Congress deregulated online education, enrollments at for-profit colleges have nearly doubled. Six major corporations owning for-profit institutions have enjoyed initial public offerings on Wall Street. Graduates of another for-profit school -- a college nursing program in California that they received their diplomas without ever setting foot in a hospital. We have heard countless stories of people going to for-profits only to land minimum wage jobs once they graduate. Just like the subprime debacle, many of these people will remain silent and the market will pretend nothing is wrong.
Ted Rudow III, MA