In the current College Admission Scandal some Hollywood actors have paid bribe money to get their children admitted into some prestigious institutions for which they are not qualified to attend.  But colleges have been on the defensive for some time for reducing campus free speech, at least for conservatives and constitutionalists, giving predominantly one side of issues, and becoming bastions of progressive — even socialist — politics. Now they are accused of racketeering their students with devastating student loan debt.  

The most recent accusation was made by Tucker Carlson on March 18.  Most of what he shared I witnessed as a full time faculty member for 40 years. In remarks entitled “Fixing America’s $1.5T Student Loan Mess” he noted that student loan debt is now larger than “the entire GPA of Spain, of Sweden or any of the 54 countries in Africa. Apart from mortgages student loans are the biggest source of personal debt in this country, more than car loans and credit card bills.” It is enough debt, he says, “to stunt the entire generation of young people.”  

Today the average college graduate owes $37,000 up from $20,000 just 13 years ago. “Student debt is rising far faster than the earnings of the American workers…” For law school graduates it is $110,000 and for medical school graduates it is nearly $200,000.  Carlson adds, “Over all, two million Americans owe over $100 grand in student loans. Imagine starting life that far behind.” Many with this debt never finished a degree. “Instead of improving their life by attending college they wind up poorer and in bondage.  And not just a few of them but millions and millions of them.”

But students do not have to go to college or incur this debt. Aren’t they alone responsible? No! The culture tells them at an early age that college is the ticket to prosperity and self worth. This is reinforced by parents. Going to college is also promoted by the universities as it justifies their positions and campus expansion. It is mostly about money and numbers.

So why blame the colleges? “Right now the federal government allows young people to take out an almost unlimited amount in student loans. Colleges know this, of course, and they hike their tuition to capture as much of that money as they can. Young people have little choice but to go along with it. Colleges control access to the credentials that we are all convinced are necessary, mandatory, to achieve success in the modern economy.”

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