Over the weekend, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second-largest teachers union in the nation, alleged that the government’s student loan forgiveness program for public service workers does not function properly, and they demand a fix! According to the lawsuit filed against the Department of Education in July, the AFT asserts that “The very agency that is supposedly the champion of our nation’s education system has failed to live up to its role in administering this Program.”
According to recent reports, about 43 million adult Americans – roughly one-sixth of the US population older than 18, currently carry a federal student loan, which totals $1.5 trillion. Also, an estimated $119 billion in student loans from private sources are not backed by the government. President Michael Mulgrew of the United Federation of Teachers (UTF) provided the following comment – “Because the thing is, I went to school, I went to college, I wanted to become a teacher. I took loans. And now, I’m paying $600 – $700 a month right off the bat every month for my student loan. It is a horrendous situation for them to be in.”
As cited in the lawsuit, the federal loan forgiveness program allows teachers and government and non-profit workers to wipe away their student-loan debts if they fit the right criteria – most importantly, 10-years of uninterrupted repayment. But, as indicated in the suit filed on August 15th, the teacher unions allege that Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education is engaging in “gross mismanagement” of student loans.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was created in 2007 and began to receive applications in 2017, but according to the file suit, has allowed for only a mere 518 public service borrowers forgiveness out of the 73,554 received applications (1% success rate) since March 2019. Of the total outstanding student debt, the Department of Education has discharged a total of $30.6 million. According to a recent survey by Fishbowl, student debt has increased 500% since 1999 and found that 65% of teachers have student debt.
With all the horrendous statistics, what steps can be taken to ease the financial burden on college graduates? First, Americans today need to accept the fact college isn’t for everyone; every child is hardly designed for postsecondary education. Over the last generation, high school educators, guidance counselors, politicians, and parents have been duped into believing that a child without a college degree is a failure! Second, while mountains of student-debt are piling up on credit reports of recent college graduates, not one politician is inquiring and providing possible legislation on the out-of-control wages currently being offered to college professors. According to recent statistics, in July, the national average of annual base salaries of college professors was as follows:
|Job Title||Salary||Hourly Rate||Location||Date Updated|
|Professor – English||$90,422||$43.47||United States||July 30, 2019|
|Professor – History||$97,930||$47.08||United States||July 30, 2019|
|Professor – Law||$167,848||$80.70||United States||July 30, 2019|
|Professor – Mathematics||$100,199||$48.17||United States||July 30, 2019|
|Professor – Architecture||$109,736||$52.76||United States||July 30, 2019|
|Professor – Chemistry||$101,467||$48.78||United States||July 30, 2019|
|Professor – Communication||$94,581||$45.47||United States||July 30, 2019|
|Professor – Dentistry||$131,595||$63.27||United States||July 30, 2019|
|Professor – Drama||$90,910||$43.71||United States||July 30, 2019|
|Professor – Economics||$116,630||$56.07||United States||July 30, 2019|
After just a glance of the above compensation figures, it is no wonder that the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. With some college professors nearing or clearing 100k a year, let us not forget the insane salaries being earned by chancellors and the dozens and dozens of vice-chancellors at each college campus. According to a recent 2019 study, the average college chancellor salary in the United States is $275,128.
Americans today should be both ashamed and upset! Sure, the amount of student-debt is insane. However, with Fortune 500 salaries being paid to tenured professors and chancellors abroad, the real lawsuits, if any, should be aimed not at the Department of Education, but at the state’s legislators that believe a bachelor’s degree in underwater basket weaving is worth all of the underlying costs.
Is student-debt out-of-control? Yes. Is it Betsy DeVos to blame? No, this policy was initiated well before her tenure and that the Trump Administration. Is the federal government to blame for the failed policies of the student-debt forgiveness? Quite possibly! However, the solution to this mess is not to align with Senators Sanders and Warren and offer free college tuition to every child.
The real problem and culprit for the insane amount of debt absorbed by our nation’s citizens is the out-of-control spending and compensation being offered for college. Forget the Dot Com and Housing Market failures, the next bubble to burst will be college tuition. Our nation can no longer afford to pay the liberally infested, postsecondary education faculty of America hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. We are meanwhile leaving our nation’s younger generation in identical amounts of debt. As a nation, the choice is ours – college or poorhouse bound?