Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

12Jun/140

Higher Education and America’s Out-of-Control Student Loan Industry

Higher education is becoming more and more out of reach for everyday high school graduates, and even more so for students in families that are not wealthy.  New federal actions by the Obama administration begins to chip away at the levels of problems associated with this nation's student loan system, but there's far more work to be done to transform the way students access institutions of higher learning.  This dynamic was explored in greater detail on Tuesday's Democracy Now show, also featuring a brief reference to a new documentary film, Ivory Tower, that also explores this dynamic.

Part 1  (approx. 7 mins.)  -  As Obama Moves to Cap Student Debt Payments, Activists Push For Broader Write-Off of Crushing Loans

President Obama has unveiled new executive actions to address what some have called the nation’s next financial crisis: the over $1.2 trillion in student loans. Obama’s order will expand the "Pay as Your Earn" program capping loan payments at ten percent of monthly income. The program also forgives any outstanding debt after twenty years of payments. The massive cost of U.S. college tuition has saddled millions with crushing debt and priced many others out of the classroom. Student loans now exceed all other forms of consumer debt except for home mortgages. This year’s graduate class is the most indebted in U.S. history, with borrowers owing an average $33,000, most students are now looking for the best student loan refinance option. More than 70% of this year’s class has taken on a student loan, up from less than half of graduates twenty years ago. We are joined by two guests: Pamela Brown, a Ph.D. student in sociology at the New School and leading activist on the issue of student debt; and Andrew Rossi, director and producer of a new documentary on U.S. higher education, "Ivory Tower."

Part 2  (approx. 8 mins.)  -  Is College Worth It? New Doc "Ivory Tower" Tackles Higher Ed’s Unsustainable Spending, Student Debt

The cost of a college degree has grown by over 1,120 percent in the past three decades, far surpassing price hikes for food, medical care, housing, gasoline, and other basics. Coupled with $1.2 trillion in student debt, the U.S. is facing a crisis that threatens not just the economy but the nation’s education system itself. The issue is explored in the riveting new documentary "Ivory Tower," which argues the model for higher education in the U.S. has become unsustainable. The film contrasts the struggle for quality, affordable education with a growing corporate atmosphere on college campuses, where hundreds of millions of dollars go to football stadiums, lavish salaries, and high-end perks. We are joined by "Ivory Tower," director and producer Andrew Rossi. The film opens this Friday in New York City and Los Angeles.

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