Even if you pay off your student loan, be prepared to spend decades trying to get bottom-feeding debt-buyers to acknowledge it

Kaja Robinson is 53 and has a daughter about to go off to college, but she is still embroiled in bizarre, kafkaesque disputes over the $17,000 student loan she took out in the 1980s: for decades, she has had to set aside whole days to call debt collectors and try to get them to acknowledge the payments she's made -- for which she has paperwork, but which the lenders lost track of, causing her loans to balloon to $49,000. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders will use a tax on Wall Street speculators to wipe out $1.6 trillion in US student debt

Bernie Sanders's latest campaign promise is a proposal to forgive all outstanding US student debt, and raising the $2.2 trillion needed over a decade to make lenders whole by taxing Wall Street speculators with a 0.5% tax on stock trades, a 0.1% fee on bonds, and a 0.005% fee on derivatives. Read the rest

Profiles of young Americans who entered voluntary exile rather than paying their student loans

CNBC profiles a small handful of young Americans who have moved abroad and ceased payments on their student debt, relying on international borders to protect them from their edu-creditors. Read the rest

Federal lawsuit calls college textbook/ebook packages a "scam"

The Virginia Pirate Corporation is a startup that brokers sales of used textbooks at colleges; they're suing North Charleston, SC's Trident Technical College over its inclusion of textbook fees in tuition, meaning that students will have already paid for new textbooks when they pay their tuition. Read the rest

That billionaire who paid off a graduating class's student loans also supports the hedge-fundie's favorite tax loophole

Billionaire Goldman Sachs alum Robert F Smith made headlines when he donated enough cash to pay off the student loan debt of the entire Class of 2019 at Morehouse College; but Smith is also an ardent supporter of the carried interest tax loophole, which allows the richest people in America to pay little to no tax on the bulk of their earnings, while working Americans (like the Morehouse Class of 2019 will be, shortly) pay their fair share. Read the rest

A former college admissions dean explains the mundane reverse affirmative action that lets the rich send their kids to the front of the line

Thanks to the college admissions scandal the issue of inequality and access to postsecondary education is now in our national conversation, but despite the glitz of the bribery scandal, the real issue is a much more mundane form of reverse affirmative action that allows wealthy Americans to dominate college admissions, muscling out better candidates from poorer backgrounds, especially Black students. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's latest proposal: cancel student debt, make college free

Elizabeth Warren has proposed a $1.25 trillion plan to forgive student debts and make all public college and university undergraduate education free, as well as earmarking $50B for historically Black colleges, and expanding federal grants to help pay for all students' non-tuition expenses. Read the rest

Dentistry's evidentiary vacuum allows profiteering butchers to raid our mouths for millions

Dentistry has always been medicine's poor cousin, lower in prestige and funding, with much less definitive research; this means that it's harder for someone to point at a procedure and definitively say, "That was unnecessary." Read the rest

The two hidden intellectual moves behind the "progressive" argument against free college

Pete Buttigieg is one of the prominent members of the progressive wing of the Democratic party who opposes free college tuition, on the ground that the "benefits" of college accrue to those who attain a degree and that it's unfair to ask the majority, who don't attend college, to subsidize the minority who do. Read the rest

Kansas judge tells government debt collectors they can't hound a broke 58-year-old woman until her 84th birthday

In 1991, Vicky Jo Metz borrowed $16,613 to pay for tuition; now she's 59, and has paid back 90% of that money -- and she still owes $67,277. Read the rest

"Sixteen Tons": the student debt edition

When I was a kid, we used to sing Merle Travis's Sixteen Tons in the car on long trips: it's a poetic masterpiece, capturing the clash between a worker's proud and indomitable spirit and his impossible, inescapable poverty trap (chances are you've heard Tennessee Ernie Ford or Johnny Cash perform it). Read the rest

Since 2007, debt-haunted grads have been doing public service to earn loan forgiveness, which they won't get

The roster of people carrying student debt is really just "a list of people liable to additional taxation after graduation"; in 2007, GW Bush signed into law the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program that would allow debt-haunted grads to earn loan forgiveness by foregoing the private sector and working for lower wages in public service for a decade. Read the rest

Economic indicators: consumer debt continues to grow, delinquency rises, students face "crippling debt"

Trump's economic statistics are all about stock growth and low unemployment numbers, but more than two thirds of the US economy is driven by consumer spending, so if you want to know where we're headed, you should be looking at the average American's ability to buy things. Read the rest

Betsy DeVos's summer monstrosity is pure McMansion Hell

Kate "McMansion Hell" Wagner is carrying $42,000 in student debt; heiress Betsy "Marie Antoinette" DeVos is the anti-public-school advocate whom Donald Trump put in charge of the nation's public schools, and one of her first official acts was to end the rules limiting sleazy student debt-collection tactics, even as Trump was ending debt relief for students defrauded by diploma mills (like, say, Trump University). Read the rest

America's economic growth has come from subprime borrowing by the poorest 60%

Normally, economic expansion is driven by more spending by the wealthy, and you'd think that 2018 America, where the wealthy are wealthier than they've ever been, would be dependent on the few people with ready cash as engines of economic growth. Read the rest

GDP vs human thriving: a "healthy" economy means debt-haunted people, desperately searching for housing

GDP and stock market performance are the two metrics that economists (and politicians) use to measure the health of a nation's economy, and by those metrics, Trump is doing a hell of a job. Read the rest

Student debt crisis watch: pay $18,000 of your $24,000 loan, owe $24,000

Kaitlin Cawley finished grad school with $95,000 in student loans, including a $24,000 variable-rate loan that started at 9.4% and now stands at 11%, a loan that the US government lender Sallie Mae brokered for her when she was 20. Read the rest

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