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Why Student Loans Are an Even Bigger Sham Than You Know | Alternet

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That was eye opening. How did we as a country let the cost of education go so high so quickly?

The roughly two-thirds of U.S. students who take out loans to finance their college education can end up in a situation most resembling the historical concept of indenture. In medieval times, peasants would sign deeds to work land, which would then get cut in a jagged line (looking like teeth, or “dentures”). Each party would get half, and rejoining them would prove the authenticity of the contract. Colonial indentures would trade years of labor for the opportunity of transportation to the New World. The indentured could not alter the terms of the contract, no matter their circumstances. One way or another, the debt would get paid.

This is basically how student loans work. A college student might remember freshman orientation, when an instructor told them to look to their left and right, explaining, “One of you won’t graduate.” But student loans aren’t extinguished for those who don’t finish college; instead, the debt becomes a burdensome reminder of this early mistake in life. This is also true for students snookered into matriculating at sketchy for-profit colleges, which offer almost no marketable skills or career preparedness to justify the cost. And it further describes recent college graduates who, through an accident of timing, entered the real world during the Great Recession and its aftermath, finding it difficult to obtain work in their field of study.

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