Federal judge dangles jail time in front of Betsy DeVos

Corinthian Colleges, Inc. was yet another for-profit university that screwed over hundreds of thousands of people with pyramid schemes that promised a higher education at the end of some labyrinthine maze. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2015, and the U.S. government ruled that any students with outstanding debts should have those debts cancelled.

That was before Betsy DeVos became the U.S. Secretary of Education.

DeVos, the wife of pyramid scheme pioneer Dick DeVos and brother of famed mercenary Blackwater founder Erik Prince, was unsurprisingly unforgiving of the students who were conned by Corinthian. She stonewalled more than 100,000 loan forgiveness applications and continued pursuing debt payments from screwed-over students who couldn't pay them back. In 2018, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim finally told her to knock it off (legally).

Spoiler alert: she didn't listen.

So they landed back in court earlier this week on Monday, October 7, 2019. Judge Kim was (understandably) quite irate at having her court order violated sixteen thousand times by Devos's department. While the issue is still not completely resolved, the judge did threaten the possibility of tossing someone behind bars. From Bloomberg:

"I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions," U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim told lawyers for the Education Department at a hearing Monday in San Francisco. "I'm not sending anyone to jail yet but it’s good to know I have that ability."

[…]

"At best it is gross negligence, at worst it’s an intentional flouting of my order."

I'm not holding my breath for DeVos to actually spend any time in jail or prison, of course. Read the rest

GOP wants to grab student loan payments right out of your paycheck

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander has introduced a plan to completely upend the existing student loan payback system. How big is this plan? About 40 million borrowers big. Read the rest

Oft-cited student loan expert turns out to be fake persona affiliated with lenders

If you've been keeping up with the slow-burning student loan crisis -- the lifetime of debt imposed by the exploding cost of higher education -- you've probably read a thing or ten from Drew Cloud, one of the foremost experts on the subject. He's been quoted and featured in numerous articles, appearing in major news outlets such as The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and CNBC, always ready with insightful remarks and stunning statistics. But there's a problem with Drew. He doesn't exist.

After The Chronicle spent more than a week trying to verify Cloud’s existence, the company that owns The Student Loan Report confirmed that Cloud was fake. "Drew Cloud is a pseudonym that a diverse group of authors at Student Loan Report, LLC use to share experiences and information related to the challenges college students face with funding their education," wrote Nate Matherson, CEO of LendEDU.

Before that admission, however, Cloud had corresponded at length with many journalists, pitching them stories and offering email interviews, many of which were published. When The Chronicle attempted to contact him through the address last week, Cloud said he was traveling and had limited access to his account. He didn’t respond to additional inquiries.

And on Monday, as The Chronicle continued to seek comment, Cloud suddenly evaporated.

There's going to be a lot more of these manifestations. One more thing that was charmingly cyberpunk when it was just pop stars or twitter avatars, but not so hot when it's a moneylender undermining youngsters embarking upon adult life while prtending to be advocates for their financial wellbeing. Read the rest

In the UK, 77% of 2017 university grads will never fully repay their student loan debt

Because of the UK's dramatic shift from student grants to loans, a startling report from the Institute for Financial Studies predicts that 77.4% of university graduates in the UK's class of 2017 will not repay their full student loan obligations. This is up from 41.5% just six years ago in 2011. Read the rest

$6,000 payments against student loan reduces debt by $700

Bill Boegeman racked up a student loan debit of $82,961.02 to get a B.S. in social studies education from Minnesota State University, Mankato. It's going to take a very long time to pay it off. Read the rest