- 42% of today's college students are living near or below the poverty line.
- Student services have been cut substantially since the last recession.
- Total US college debt has increased to $1.4 trillion.
- Only about 40% of student-loan debtors are paying back more than interest.
- US college enrollment has declined 5 consecutive years, with no reasonable expectation that the decline will slow down.
- State-funding cuts for higher education are continuing in several states, with no new taxes and increasing burdens from Medicaid, pensions, and infrastructure repair.
- More than half of all college teachers are low-paid adjuncts.
- College mergers and closings are expected to increase.
- Differences between for-profit and non-profit colleges continue to be blurred.
Every year, the picture becomes clearer that the College Meltdown is worsening. But vested interests refuse to acknowledge the situation or they claim that the problems are just the first step toward a better, corporate-based solution.
President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos promise to accelerate the College Meltdown.
- Trump's plan to reduce the Pell Grant surplus and eliminate Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) and federal Work Study will hit working class students the most.
- At the institutional level, HBCUs and community colleges stand to lose students who cannot afford to attend.
- DeVos' plan to roll back rules against student loan servicers may accelerate defaults.
Trump's long-range plans could put these ideas into practice. Already, DeVos has hired people who have worked for the for-profit college industry. And it's not inconceivable that the US could get out of the student-loan business, handing the reins back to the banks.
Other conservatives will profit, or at least hedge their bets, from the meltdown. The Koch Brothers, for example, are spending money to shape social policy at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.