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The State of American College Students | Richard D. Wolff

The State of American College Students | Richard D. Wolff

Exorbitant college tuition rates and high-interest student loans may lead to anything but the American Dream. To avoid economic disaster, American students are looking for other ways to pay for college. As a result, there has been a rise in American college “sugar babies.” And now, a new form of educational “financial aid” has emerged: the Income Sharing Agreement (ISA), an American spin on indentured servitude.

“Richard Wolff gives a brief rundown of some of the ways students deal with college debt today. Spoiler: it’s not as dignified as you think.” ~ Richard Wolff’s Talking Sense

I emphasis the word “American” to make a point. Most other advanced nations do not have the student loan debt problem that is so prevalent in the United States.

In case you’re wondering, American student loan debt is currently at $1.44 trillion, according to the Student Debt Clock at MarketWatch. If you think that’s horrific, the figure represents only the outstanding principle and does not include accrued interest.

Aware & Fair


About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends–with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.


  1. The Noisy Mouse

    I love Richard Wolff. That guy knows his stuff.
    There is a very big problem with the education system in North America, I’m from Canada and I’ve been in student debt my whole adult life. And there is virtually no way out.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Hi Noisy Mouse, thanks for visiting. Does Canada also prevent student loans from being discharged through bankruptcy?

      • The Noisy Mouse

        If you have a student loan that is still owing to the government, and you claim bankruptcy on OTHER DEBTS, then the loan becomes automatically due… so they start garnishing your wages right away.
        No one can claim bankruptcy in Canada specifically for student loans.

        ** What is the impact of bankruptcy on my student loans?

        Immediate repayment required – If you declare bankruptcy, your Canada and B.C. student loans automatically go into repayment status and you must start paying back your loans unless you are pursuing the same course of studies.
        Long-term ineligibility – If you declare bankruptcy, you may not be eligible for any more StudentAid BC funding until 10 years (or 8 years under financial hardship conditions) after you have left post-secondary studies.

      • JoAnn Chateau

        Pretty much the same thing here. These are not student loans like 60 years ago. Government guaranteed loans have created a highly lucrative, risk-free opportunity for lenders. Wouldn’t it be better if the government just directed the money to free college education?

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Many career fields don’t pay enough to make a dent in loan interest. Schools still proudly offer those academic programs, even though job demand has decreased and pay has stagnated. I refer to social science and the humanities. The fields of study about living, learning, evolving as real humans — how could that possibly be as important as the economic cycle driven by capitalist predators and shallow consumerism?

  2. Rosaliene Bacchus

    My son has some hefty interest rates on his Sallie Mae student loans. I thank the gods that within this year, he’ll soon be free.

  3. Keith

    JoAnn, the rising college costs has been unhealthy for awhile. A huge part is demographics. I call it the “rat in the snake” analogy. As the children of baby boomers have passed through the college system, the rat has moved further down the snake. So, many colleges saw fewer incoming freshmen than departing seniors. Then came the pressure of for-profit colleges (usually a horrible deal) and growth of community college enrollments because of the recession and cost. So, they hiked up their rates and loans got larger. When graduates cannot match their investment with a good paying job, the proverbial s**t hits the fan.

    To your point, the US is behind the 8 ball on this and we need to look to better solutions.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Good points, Keith. I also think it was a mistake for the government to guarantee student loans. The plan went awry. It seems that private lenders took advantage by hiking interest rates up. Instead of contributing to the common good while the government protected them from risk of financial loss, they treated the guarantee as an opportunity to make big, easy, risk-free profits.

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