Reprinted from Smirking Chimp
Wall Street-style predatory capitalism has taken over our education system, and it's absolutely devastating a whole generation of young people.
When Latonya Suggs enrolled at Everest College, a branch of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges system, she thought she was taking the first step towards realizing her "American Dream."
But tens of thousands of dollars later, she realized that Everest wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
As Suggs told Democracy Now! recently, Everest didn't do anything to help her find a job after she graduated and was more interested in making money off her student loans than it was in making sure her degree was put to good use.
Latonya Suggs now has around $63,000 in student loan debt to her name, which is why last week she joined 14 other former Corinthian Colleges students in refusing to pay back her student loans.
This is the nation's very first student loan strike, and it comes just as the government takes action against Corinthian Colleges for running what it calls "an illegal predatory lending scheme."
According to the government, "Corinthian lured tens of thousands of students to take out private loans to cover expensive tuition costs by advertising bogus job prospects and career services. [It] then used illegal debt collection tactics to strong-arm students into paying back those loans while still in school."
In other words, Corinthian Colleges isn't an education company as much as it's a blood-sucking debt collection agency.
That, in a nutshell, is everything that's wrong with the higher education system in this country.
Education is supposed to be part of the commons, something we all invest in as a society to make sure that everyone has a fair shot at achieving their intellectual potential -- and to keep moving innovation, invention and the arts ahead in our country.
But since the introduction of Reaganomics, we've outsourced huge chunks of our education system to private for-profit corporations like Corinthian Colleges. And those private corporations have, in turn, morphed the education system into yet another arm of Wall Street-style predatory capitalism.
The dirty little secret, of course, is that the for-profit college industry is less about teaching anybody anything than it is about creating debt -- debt that then be very profitably sold off in tranches -- and even aggregated into derivatives -- to banksters and wealthy investers.
Like every other part of our economy these days, the education system has become financialized, and for-profit colleges like Corinthian are really just phony shells for the latest bankster get-rich-quick scheme.
This is insane.
In no other country in the developed world are financiers and scam artists entrusted with managing the education commons.