Student Loans — They’re a Racket

Student Loan Racket

Student Loans are a Racket

Did you know it takes a college degree to work the counter at a major car rental agency? I’ve got one question; why?

Answer: College, and the student loans that fund them, is a racket. What was once seen as the step to a brighter future has become nothing more than a money-grubbing enterprise hiding behind a sheepskin.

I have both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. I’m also pushing 60 — and times have changed.

Why do I say student loans and college are a racket, well in the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo, “Let me ‘splain.”

Why Do We Go to College and Make Banks Rich on Our Student Loans?

Let’s begin with the why. Why do we send our sons and daughters to college…why do we go? Originally, back in ancient times, like the last century, we went to places of higher learning to do one of two things. Our goal was either a degree in learning, an education in the arts or a degree in practical application, an education in the sciences. Oh, and we could do both but usually we’d major in one and minor in the other.

The purpose of the liberal arts degree was to learn, essentially to learn how to think, not what to think.

The purpose of the science degree was to learn what to think, practical learning in principles and theories.

Why do we go to college now and go into student loan hell?

Let’s face it, for one reason…to get a job.

I know a few of you will argue that’s not necessarily so, but if we get right down to it, in your heart you know I’m right. Whether we’re studying philosophy or physics, at some point we intend to put our learning to use — to get paid.

Until the middle of the last century the emphasis of higher education in that era was LEARNING for learning’s sake.

Today, the vast majority of undergraduates and graduates are attending college to someday reap a paycheck. In a recent Forrester Research study the return on investment for the sheepskin will take about 10 years to recoup.

How long does it take to learn a trade and recoup the money invested? I’d argue it takes a lot less than 10 years. Why don’t we ask famous non-graduates like Bill Gates, Michael Dell, or Ted Turner how much more valuable building their business was than spending four years feeding the banks?

Here’s another student loan racket: textbooks.

Can someone PLEASE explain to me WHY a textbook should cost $100, $200 or more? Don’t get me wrong, I see the racket. Professor X needs to publish in order to gain tenure. He and his buddies write a textbook for use ONLY in his course or maybe his buddy’s courses. The cost of time and publishing means to break even we’ve got to charge well over $100 for said textbook. REALLY? I can self-publish a book for essentially nothing today using services such as Verbii or Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Do you really have to stick it to my kid trying to get an education?

Let’s not forget the tuition racket. Another reason to increase student loans.

Why do we have to pay huge tuition fees when so much of colleges are government subsidized or subsidized by donors? Could it be for those tidy six-figure incomes for the tenured professor raking our kids over the coals with textbook fees? It’s a racket!

Any racket has to have two other players—banks and government.

You’re catching my drift, student loans are driven by banks and government. Banks and government are in cahoots to line their pockets with OUR hard-earned cash. And for what…so our kids can spend years trying to pay off student loans and then have their social security checks garnered if they haven’t paid  them off by retirement.

My solution? Go into business. Learn a trade. Anything to prevent feeding the student racket. Here’s an idea: how about we make enough money in our business or trade and THEN if we REALLY want that sheepskin we can go back to school. How much more fulfilled will our kids be if they go to college on their own terms? How much more fulfilling will college be if they go to college to get an education as opposed to getting a job?

Here’s to your success!

Agree or disagree? Are college and student loans more hype than help today? Please comment below.


Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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