A Lucrative Technical School or a Four-Year College Degree?

“The Ideologies that killed more than 100 million people last century are being praised at our universities today.” – Turning Point USA

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a skilled technician to fix anything. Everything is disposable – something breaks down, let’s buy a new one. There are fewer and fewer technical and trade schools and, even if there were more, American students are not interested in learning a trade. They have been conditioned by society and by their parents that, unless they get a four-year college degree, anything else is not worth their effort and time.
Technician and trade jobs are generally filled by foreign workers, legal and illegal because Americans are not qualified, nor interested in pursuing such jobs. When our home was completed and there were some problems, every company I called to fix something sent a foreign national. I counted twenty-seven individuals born outside of the U.S. who did not learn their trade in this country. How is that possible?
Germans have trade schools attached to most large companies and only about a third of high school graduates are interested in going to college even though college is free. They attend a trade school or a technical college. Those jobs pay well and are easy to find.
Why are American students not interested in studying something that would assure them employment when they graduate and the satisfaction of a job well done?
Why are American college advisors promising them a six-figure salary when they are pursuing majors in fields in which they have no chance of ever getting a job or making a decent living?
What good is your passion if there are no jobs to feed this passion? Why can’t their passion be pursued as an extra-curricular activity while doing something else that earns them a decent living?
Why have Americans been conditioned to think that a soldier wearing a helmet who defends his country should make way less money than an athlete with a helmet who defends and chases a football on a grassy field?
Students are advised to pursue majors in multiculturalism, postmodernism, feminist theory, gender studies, indigenous psychology, complexity theory, post-colonialism, ecological studies, Eastern thought, racial studies, and contemplative practices and traditions.
Unless they plan on becoming radical activists or community organizers with ANTIFA, BLM, Pink Hats feminists, and other such violent groups, they will find zero jobs but will have a huge baggage of debt hanging around their necks like an albatross.
According to Forbes, the total student loan debt of $1.2 trillion is negatively affecting the economy and those who owe thousands of dollars in student debt upon graduation with a diploma hardly worth the ink that it is printed on. One in ten graduates owes more than $40,000 in student loans. https://www.forbes.com/sites/specialfeatures/2013/08/07/how-the-college-debt-is-crippling-students-parents-and-the-economy/#376a43a02e17
The national debt clock counts student loan debt at $1.5 trillion, a much higher number than the $1.02 trillion credit card debt. With the median income at $30,592, one wonders how these students will ever pay back these huge school loans. http://www.usdebtclock.org/
Steve Odland acknowledged five years ago that, “Education is the great equalizer in this country. It is the facilitator of the American Dream. People can grow up poor, in an urban or rural setting, but can hope to pull themselves up out of poverty with education. Unlike many other areas of the world, America mostly is a meritocracy facilitated by education.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveodland/2012/03/24/college-costs-are-soaring/#5163c9281f86
Unfortunately that is not the case anymore in many areas of education where jobs no longer exist or are scarce as automation and artificial intelligence replaced the need for humans. Students are forced to live in their parents’ basement looking for that six-figure salary their advisor promised, eventually having to settle for baristas in coffee shops, retail associates, waiters, or protesters for hire.
Yet advisors keep steering students into majors that are totally useless in today’s world. At the same time, college costs escalate way beyond inflation rates to pay for inflated tenured professorial salaries, university trust funds, and athletic programs and expensive stadiums. I don’t see any liberals protesting the escalating tuition costs; they just want more money for education and school loans.
Who makes money from the 44 million Americans in debt because of student loans? The short answer is the federal government, banks, private investors, and Wall Street.
Before President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Higher Education Act of 1965, prospective students had to pay for education themselves from savings, a generous scholarship, or from an inheritance. Poor but smart people could not pursue higher education unless they made a personal loan.
Congress created in 1972 the Student Loan Marketing Association or Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae bought loans from banks after banks had loaned money to students, thus freeing the banks to make more loans. At the time tuition was much lower and much more manageable on an average salary.
Congress decided in 1996 to turn Sallie Mae into a private agency thus giving it power to make its own loans, both federally guaranteed loans, as well as private loans with higher interest rates but no strings attached.
Sallie Mae became so large and powerful that in 2014 it turned its federally-guaranteed student loans into a new company, Navient, leaving Sallie Mae to handle only private loans. According to James B. Steele and Lance Williams, “CEO Albert Lord received pay and stock totaling hundreds of millions of dollars before he retired in 2013.”
Ninety percent of the $1.5 trillion student loan debt is held by the federal government as either original lender or a guarantor of a loan. The Department of Education has certainly become an enormous bank funded by taxpayers.
“In fiscal year 2014, students borrowed approximately $100 billion through federal loan programs.” The highest default rate was experienced in consolidated loans both in 2014 (20.9%) and 2015 (21.2%). In 2013, the default rate of such consolidated loans was 25 percent. http://www.edcentral.org/edcyclopedia/federal-student-loan-default-rates/
“The government earns as much as 20 percent on each of its loans” because it borrows money at a lower rate and lends to students at a higher rate. According to the Government Accountability Office’s 2014 report, the government made $66 billion in profit from student loans made between 2007 and 2012. https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/news/press/release/gillibrand-statement-on-new-gao-report-released-showing-federal-government-profit-of-66-billion-on-federal-student-loans-graduates-currently-saddled-with-over-1-trillion-in-student-loan-debt
Congress lowered student loan interest rates in 2013 but those who already had outstanding loans did not benefit from this “bonanza” of generosity. As most students can attest, it is easy to begin with a loan of $50,000 that balloons with compounding interest and penalties to over $125,000 in a few years.
The loan becomes unpayable when the student is unable to find a job or the job barely pays enough for the student to survive on because the worthless diploma they earned in utopian thought or women’s studies has not taught them any useful or marketable skills in the real world.
Filing for bankruptcy is hardly a fix since Congress has made student loans not dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings except in very rare cases. Even in old age, the government can take as much as 15 percent of a debtor’s Social Security check in order to service an unpaid student loan balance.
Delinquent borrowers who have fallen on hard times are often surprised to learn that the government can make “administrative offsets” from tax refunds and disability checks.
How can the federal government ask U.S. citizens to pay back student loans when illegal aliens are getting their education free? Illegal aliens are “dreamers” but legal citizens are considered “racists” when questioning such liberal insanity.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that there are eight million loans in default out of 41 million loans and “one out of four borrowers are delinquent or in default on a student loan.” (p. 3) http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201509_cfpb_student-loan-servicing-report.pdf
According to Steele and Williams, the DOE hires debt collectors with taxpayer dollars to harass and collect from those who fell behind their student loans or cannot afford to pay them. These collectors make an estimated $2.1 billion in commissions.
It seems that it would be much less costly for taxpayers if these students did not receive so many loans to begin with, especially if their majors show that there are no jobs available in the economy, their grades are poor, or simply scale back their indebtedness through write offs.
Counseling students the right way, without the profit motive in mind, would benefit students, the economy, and the taxpayers. But colleges plan to keep their student enrollment up, professors need their classrooms full, college financial advisors aspire to distribute as many loans as possible, and banks want profits.
Not every college student I have ever taught was really college material, motivated enough to succeed, or even enjoyed being in college. Some could have benefited from attending a trade school or a technical college.

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