The State of American College Students | Richard D. Wolff

The State of American College Students | Richard D. Wolff - Curating Videos

Economics professor Richard D. Wolff provides an update on the American Student Loan Debt crisis. It’s an ugly picture, but you need to know…

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

Written by
JoAnn Chateau
  • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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?

    • 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?

  • 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.

    • 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.

JoAnn Chateau

Who’s Writing?

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about Chester, the Alpha Bichon -- with a dash of humor and a dab of Poli-Sci. Her views and insights are tinted by a former profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and training in Library and Information Science. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


Chester is a scruffy little Bichon dog, with a congenial Napoleon Complex, and stars in "The Chester Chronicles." He sometimes reports independent Canine News -- NO corporate treats accepted, NO corporate bias. Woof!

Graffiti Girl

Graffiti Girl (GG) is curator at She's progressive to the core, and easily blown away by serendipity and/or good food. (OK, GG is really JoAnn.) GG's posts signal that news or content from another website is a "must-see" and "must-remember."