In the light of everything going on with the Wall Street protests, the economy, etc., there is another issue, admittedly smaller, that needs addressing. The American university system, despite the high quality of education you can achieve, is a scam.
We all know about the high interest rates of student loans, and how they can ruin you financially after school. In case you haven’t really looked into it, here are some quick facts:
1) Some student loans cannot be taken away by declaring bankruptcy- they stay with you regardless.
2) Approximately (as of the end of ’09) thirty percent of students at for-profit colleges default on their federal loans.
3) The number of students applying for federal loans increases every year- which, if you think about it, only increases class differences. Rich kids from the top 1% get a free college education, while the rest of us (I have student loans, by the way) get poorer to try to get richer.
4) American textbooks are cheaper in Sweden than they are in America.
5) Tuition-free countries that allow you to go to college based on continued high performance have a much higher rate of education and lower rates of crime, etc.
None of this is news. Some people, however, forget about another part of the university system- the Art Institutes (hereafter I will put the shorthand term, AI). The AI are guilty of more than the basic loan-related crimes- they engage in all kinds of unethical behavior, including questionable recruiting tactics, high prices (along with encouragement to take high-interest loans), and useless degrees.
AI recruit you in interesting ways. They use high-pressure environments to make it difficult to think, almost reminiscent of a police interrogation room. They tell you they have all kinds of job connections (AI of Fort Lauderdale uses a 99% statistic) for graduates, when they don’t- in fact, one AI (of New York) lists their biggest employer (on their website) as Home Depot. Using commercials and tactics aimed at a young audience, they take advantage of those students who don’t know a lot about the university system’s pitfalls.
Encouragement to take multiple loans runs rampant- in fact, they are quite willing to do all the work of finding the loans for you- you just sign the papers they stick in front of you. They charge nearly as much as ivy-league schools and many students end up with loans in excess of 50k that they will likely never pay off. Everybody wins except you, in fact! The AI makes a ton of money that is nearly ALL profit, the lender gets a huge chunk of interest, and there is no real damage to any individual except you. This is, of course, schooling capitalized.
Very few people with degrees from AIs do well. In fact, of all the stories I’ve heard, not one person got a job in their intended field. They all end up getting jobs that they could have received with a degree from a community college for a tenth the price. Not only that, but some of those whom I talked to no longer wanted to follow the same career path at all. Brandon Lasure, one of the correspondents for this article, said, “I’m going back to a real school but sadly I will never do art again.” That is sad. It’s practically repressing creativity, and in my opinion, psychological assault.
The main point of this article is the following- do some research before you go to school. See what people have had to say, and DON’T attend the AIs.
Or we could just take the smart path and socialize school.
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