Student loans as a strategy for social control

Originally published at: Student loans as a strategy for social control | Boing Boing


This isn’t just a problem with the student loan system… as our public university system gets starved of state and federal monies, the corporate model becomes all the more attractive to state Unis. Many unis are becoming administration heavy, and power is shifting from departments to the administration.


It’s a shame fucked up that the loudest defenders of capitalism can’t appreciate where education and competitive strength as a nation ('Merca!) intersect. There’s a strong pro-capitalist argument to be made by ensuring youth has unburdened access. Instead, short term profits and the boogieman called socialism.


That’s because the loudest defenders of capitalism just want a compliant work force to draw from, not a strong nation that is democratic and protects the rights of average people.

This is what capitalism really pushes for, not a state that provides services for average people… The market, in capitalist ideology, is meant to determine all, and that means what people get. They can’t abide by a mixed economy, where people are represented by a strong government that protects their interests. The only thing that matters is the market.


In fairness to them, they are crystal clear about how they resolve this; the nation they want to make strong doesn’t include Black people, or the unapologetic poor, or intellectuals, or (etc). Those parts of America are a separate, enemy nation.


Last reply was not to Elk, so I deleted it.

the loudest defenders of capitalism

That much of America stands against student loan forgiveness tells me that it’s not just the loudest defenders of capitalism who are missing the point. It’s not just republican voters or the rich, either. The percentage of Blacks, Latinos, and people earning < $50k who report viewpoints related to loan forgiveness appearing against their own interests is not zero anywhere in this document.

The total amount of PPP loans to businesses and corporations was $793 billion with $742 billion forgiven in total. These average $20-50k per business depending on who you believe. This is skewed by huge amounts given to corporations.
It did not matter how profitable your company was if you wanted a loan designed to be forgiven.

Student loan forgiveness caps at $10k for most people. Some who got a Pell Grant may get $20k. Both are dwarfed by $50k. Some jobs that pay well and actually help people–physicians, for example–require extensive education costing hundreds of thousands to improve society.

However, even if you got a Pell Grant you can’t make more than $124,999 a year.
Physicians can’t have loan forgiveness, but some silver spoon goon who took daddy’s money to build a failing business while underpaying “unskilled” workers gets plenty of free money. We generally think of physicians with respect because they save lives and can get thru med school, but for loan forgiveness, they take a back seat with the rest of us while business comes first.

It seems to be in the bipartisan interest of our media and politicians to keep the working class in its place. Ask a railroad worker who wanted a decent amount of sick days.

I think the problem here is that class warfare affects the vast majority of Amercians, but people are too distracted and divided to notice, let alone act. A big step in overcoming this maya would be the freedom that would come with wholesale student loan forgiveness–freedom to have the leisure to slow down, assess, perhaps work for change on personal and societal levels. This is a lot more difficult when living from paycheck to paycheck or working multiple jobs with bankruptcy-proof student loans on your tail.

Some say the first step in improving society is caring about things that don’t affect you. This affects everyone outside the 1% but about half of the country seems happy to ignore it.
All I want for Christmas is for Americans to put aside their differences, see past polarization in the corporate media, and fight for our common economic interests. However, after donating three old jackets last week, I’m hoping for a new one from the outlets in Freeport.


… or, they could just make the high schools better so everybody didn’t need an additional degree, the diploma they already had would be “good enough”

Universities can’t both educate everyone and also be society’s paper trail distinguishing the Better Sort of People from the rest of us


There is no way that any high school curriculum could possibly come close to providing all the advanced, specialized education for the multitude of careers out there. That goes for blue-collar jobs like auto mechanics as well as careers requiring advanced degrees like medicine or law.

Not every career should require a college education, but everyone should have an opportunity to pursue the careers that do without being saddled with crippling debt.


Here’s a decent study on this:

Most of the administrative growth has been in student services.

Ideal ratio? For an R1?


Also, this:



Is the problem really the number of administrators or the allocation of funds? As in many organizations, the money remains at the top, and even if the ranks of lower-level employees on the pyramid increases, they aren’t paid enough to mess up the overall spending picture.


Makes sense, as that seems to be the case here at GSU… I’m not sure how helpful those services are, in the long run. I think it’s true that giving students the help they need can help them get through programs, but a lot of it seems almost… I don’t know… performative? Like it’s just created new hoops that working class kids who are the first to go to college in their families are already having difficulty navigating?

It’s both, really. In addition to creating new hoops for students, some of this administration is creating new hoops for profs, I’d argue. As they’re creating programs that we have to participate in as a condition of our employment… making stuff to justify their role in administration. They just rolled out new training for us that goes into effect next semester, where we’ll have to incorporate yet another metric into our classes to turn in at the end of the semester. I’m not sure how actually helpful it’s going to be in getting students to thrive in the classroom?


To “yes, and,” that, yes, and everyone should have the option of secondary education if they want it, regardless of how they want to earn their money.


I don’t know why some people have a hard time wrapping their minds around that idea… it’s probably because people see college as a jobs training program rather than an extension of one’s general education… yet another thing we need to re-configure our collective thinking on…


So “administrative bloat” is a myth?


No, the opposite…


Didnt realize you landed a tenure-track gig! Congrats! (They’re getting so rare now.) :clap:

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All part of the overall plan.


I want to avoid 'splaining (for which I apologize, because I can’t tell tone from what you’ve written if you’re asking for an explanation, and can’t quite recall if you are college/university faculty)

So the answer is Yes. Also no.

When people talk about “administrative bloat” in academia, they’re could be talking about administrators on the academic side of the house–Department Chairs/Heads, Assistant/Associate Deans, Deans, and Provosts (and their Associate and Assistant Minions)–relative to contingent faculty, full-time lecturers, and tenured/tenure-track faculty. In the 1970s and 1980s there was a proliferation of academic departments and colleges, along with their associated administrative expenses. That trend reversed in the past 10 years as universities reorganized their colleges and departments around models of “efficiency.”

[Great euphemism–“Responsibility Centered Management,” which supposedly pushes colleges and departments to be more efficient by giving them a percentage of the tuition revenue generated by students in their classes. In reality what happens is that Business and Health/Nursing colleges realize that Arts and Sciences colleges generate most of the tuition revenue because we have most of the Gen Ed classes. Solution? Push to cut back on Gen Ed, because those classes aren’t “useful” for their students.]

What has “bloated” is the “services” side of the house. Mental and physical health care, Students Unions with lots of shiny toys, Recreation Centers with cool climbing walls, tutoring centers, more advisors per student, etc etc. In that sense, there are more people at universities nowadays who are not directly engaged in teaching inside the classroom. Why? Because students demand, and need, many of these services. They expect them, even if they aren’t going to use them. My university has a really cool climbing wall in the Rec Center. It’s gorgeous, and looks like fun. Students talk about it all the time. Few use it. It seems like it’s probably a good recruiting tool, though. Campus tours always stop there.

A lot of services at non-R1 (or, perhaps, at regular?) universities are there because students need help navigating a lot of things that faculty are not competent to help them with. And as more 1st-gen students come to college, they need more help. Mom or dad or other family members aren’t equipped to help them with anything except moral support. Even moral support is tenuous. Parents of 1st-gen students are more likely to respond to a call for help from their kid by saying “It’s OK, just come home, you did your best, we’ll help you find a job.” Parents with college experience are more likely to say some version of “That’s how college is. Suck it up.”

Many faculty are simply not good at the kind of academic advising that modern students need. Some are excellent. I have a couple colleagues who are amazing at it. They’ve built great personal relationships with students. And I have a few who shouldn’t be allowed to under any circumstances. And a couple who are not allowed to. Me, I’m pretty mechanical at it. No touchy-feely. So, a professional advisor, or three, is “necessary.” Forget about Financial Aid advising. International students and their needs? No way. So, that adds more non-teaching staff.

And this is what conservatives love to complain about–more staff to “coddle” students. Well, guess who needs “coddling?” Students who don’t know how to navigate college. Who is that? Generally 1st-gen students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The ones who are the subject of Elías’ article. The ones that conservatives have always wanted to keep down.

So there are definitely more staff at universities than ever before, providing the kinds of services students need. But most of that growth has come outside of the “teaching chain” of faculty–>chair–>dean–>provost.

[This is not even getting into the issue of contingent faculty, and hiring more of them to offset budget issues.]


Yeah, but good luck making high-schools better. Tying funding to performance just generates a exceptionally strong motive to cheat and or inflate grades.

The skill set and critical thinking skills of students dropped dramatically post NCLB, so the amount of remediation that has to be done is…distressing.

My Grandmother never went to high-school and was a way better writer than so many of the HS grads I see.

Throw in the concept that “you HAVE to go to college to get a ‘good’ job!,” mix with increasing loan access and decreasing public funding. Let rise with inflating administration and overheard…

It’s a great way to get people do do the same jobs, but with a LOT more debt to work off. Or keep people from getting a basic education.