Friday, April 21, 2017


"Public education as a whole came under brutal attack as part of the Obama administration’s effort to shift the burden of the financial crisis onto the backs of the working class."
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos reverses Obama-era decision on student loan debt
By Kayla Costa and Genevieve Leigh
21 April 2017
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos signed an order last Tuesday halting plans made under the Obama administration regarding the national student loan servicing and debt collection system.
In a memo to James Runcie of the Federal Student Aid Office, DeVos formally withdrew three Obama-era memos calling for the federal government to select a single vendor to build a new system for servicing its student loans.
Currently the Federal government has $800 million in contracts with nine different loan servicing companies to carry out the tasks of sending bills, collecting payments, and dealing with borrower issues for the more than $1 trillion of student loans. Under this setup the federal government has directly profited from the student loan crisis to the tune of about $10 billion per year.
The Obama-era plans to consolidate the vendor contracts into one did not represent a genuine effort to address the student loan collection scandals or reform the exploitative loan system more generally. The memos were the product of a damage control campaign following a series of lawsuits and scandals involving the Department of Education and the explosion of the student debt crisis following the 2008 financial crisis.
Public education as a whole came under brutal attack as part of the Obama administration’s effort to shift the burden of the financial crisis onto the backs of the working class. Major cuts were made to spending on education and consequently public universities compensated for the loss by increasing tuition nationally by 33 percent over the course of the first six years of the Obama administration. These costs, paired with the rising costs of living and stagnating wages, resulted in a sharp spike in student debt.
As the situation was seized upon by the loan companies with the backing of the Department of Education, the government agency became the target of growing anger for employing and protecting the predatory student loan collection agencies.
The token measures offered under by the Obama administration, and only after enormous pressure, did nothing to curb the loan collectors’ scandalous behavior. While consolidation of the loan agencies may appear to have been a progressive step, it is doubtful that this move would have made any positive difference at all to students. This is supported by the negotiating process leading up to the plan’s implementation.
Bidding for the single vendor contract to service student loans, which would have been the largest federal contract outside of the military, started about a year ago. The largest student loan servicer in the country, Navient, quickly emerged as the frontrunner.
Navient oversees roughly $300 billion in student loans for more than 12 million borrowers, 6 million of whom are under contract with the Department of Education. In total, the Delaware-based corporation, formed out of the split of student loan servicer Sallie Mae in 2014, accounts for nearly one-fourth of all student loan borrowers.
Navient is among the most notorious student loan agencies. The company paid $97 million in a settlement in 2014 alone for illegally maximizing late fees on the student loans of military personnel. Over 60,000 loans were affected by the violation of the 6 percent interest rate cap which is afforded to active duty service members. It was this company which the Obama administration was prepared to task with overseeing great “reforms.”
Any attempt to paint the Obama administration as an ally of students or good for education falls flat in the face of the facts. However, this is not to say there is anything positive about DeVos’ reversal.
Last week’s withdrawal of the Obama-era reforms indicates a further shift to the right by the new Trump administration. DeVos’s actions, in line with the Trump administration’s moves on foreign policy, immigration, and environmental protections, mark an escalation based on the framework established by the Obama administration.
DeVos has repeatedly expressed plans for the Department of Education to slash federal funding and regulations—as weak as they were to begin with—shifting the weight of public services into the hands of state officials and ultimately private investors.
The recent order claimed that the previous plans lacked “proper management cohesion,” in addition to being too costly. Without laying out a new policy agenda, DeVos stated that an effort was underway to “acquire new federal student loan capabilities that will provide borrowers with the tools necessary to efficiently repay their debt.”
DeVos, a billionaire from Michigan, is a well-known ideological opponent of public education. She and her family have donated millions of dollars to politicians and lobbying groups that support the funneling of tax dollars to private and religious schools through voucher programs and removing oversight of education spending through the establishment of charter schools.
Her inner circle is filled with some of the most right-wing conservative figures in the US. There is no question as to her intentions as head of the Department of Education: to destroy public education in the service of private interests.
Opposition to DeVos and the attack on education will not come from the Democratic Party despite the theatrical campaign they waged during her senate confirmation. Behind their nominal defense of “struggling families” from “unnecessary financial burden,” as leading Senators have put it, lies the Democratic Party’s own legacy of attacking public education and promoting charter schools, extending back decades. The Democrats’ complicity in the corporate-driven school “reform” is well documented in cities like Chicago and Detroit.



What is left for Legals is only the tax bills for La Raza's looting!

The new reports show that in addition to “traditional” coping strategies of skipping meals and eating cheap food, these teens and pre-teens are increasingly forced into shoplifting, stealing, selling drugs, joining a gang, or selling their bodies for money in a struggle to eat properly.


 OBAMA-CLINTONOMICS pounds America’s youth as they build a border to border Mexican welfare state on our backs!

…… ILLEGALS SUCK IN BILLIONS IN WELFARE… they also get our jobs!

The new reports show that in addition to “traditional” coping strategies of skipping meals and eating cheap food, these teens and pre-teens are increasingly forced into shoplifting, stealing, selling drugs, joining a gang, or selling their bodies for money in a struggle to eat properly.



THE  GIG JOB – In America, No Legal Need Apply

"Possibly most affected by this shift in the economy is the Millennial generation, those  aged 18-30. The report notes that more than half of those under age 25 participate in independent work, not just in the United States but throughout the European Union as well."

One in eight community college students in the United States are homeless

By Bryan Dyne 
31 March 2017
A new study by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab has revealed that about half of community college students in the United States, which make up 46 percent college students in the country, do not have consistent housing and that 13 percent are homeless. In absolute terms, this means at least one million people trying to receive postsecondary education do not have a roof over their heads.
These results confirm and expand upon previous studies that have looked at college student homelessness, including earlier work by the HOPE Lab and studies done by the College and University Food Bank Alliance.
This estimate is an order of magnitude higher than the official homeless statistic of the US, which is 0.5 percent of the population, and more than twice the rate of youth aged 10-19 which face homelessness at least once during a year, which is just under five percent. It is also more than 29 times the official student homelessness rate recorded by the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the only federal body that collects data on homeless students.
In order to clarify the disparity between the official statistics and the HOPE Lab survey, the World Socialist Web Site spoke to the Wisconsin HOPE Lab founder, Sara Goldrick-Rab. She noted that “The FAFSA is notorious for undercounting homeless students. First, students have to fill out the FAFSA, which many do not. Furthermore, since a homeless student counts as being financially independent, and thus is eligible for more money, FAFSA requires that they fill out a large amount of paperwork, essentially to prove that they are homeless. Since we just asked the students themselves, we captured a much better picture of the problem.
“Even our results, however, are undercounting the problem. Since it’s a voluntary survey, we are going to miss some people. We also do not count things like couch surfing as being homeless because that’s often considered something which college students just ‘do’. As a result, we include that in our housing insecurity statistics, which includes about half of all community college students.”
The latest HOPE Lab survey is the most widespread study of homelessness amongst college students and, according to the research done by the authors, is likely the only study that looks specifically at the plight of community college students.
One of the few comparable studies was done by the California State University (CSU) system, which included more students but only looked at California schools and achieved its estimates based on interviews with CSU staff, faculty and administrators rather than asking the students directly.
In contrast, the Wisconsin HOPE Lab sent a survey to more than 750,000 students across the country with a monetary incentive to garner participation. The final survey response was 33,934 students, making it the largest national study which focuses on food and housing insecurity among college students to date. While the nature of the study does not immediately lend itself to broad generalizations, the agreement between this study and all other studies looking at hunger and homelessness on US campuses suggests that the data collected do represent trends throughout all 50 states.
One thread which supports this hypothesis is that housing insecurity, which includes the inability to regularly pay utilities or rent or the need to move frequently as well as those without a permanent place to live, is not a problem isolated to urban or high-poverty community colleges but a largely uniform problem across the areas studied. Rural and urban community college students are equally likely to be housing insecure, but homelessness is actually higher for those students living in cities (15 percent) than those living in suburbs (14 percent), rural areas (11 percent) and small towns (9 percent).
Moreover, the data collected show that housing insecurity is unrelated to things like eligibility for Pell Grants or immigration status.
Of students ineligible for Pell Grants, 12 percent were homeless, compared to 16 percent for those who did receive a Pell Grant. The difference in homeless rates between US citizens and permanent residents was less than one percent. And while students who are African American or Hispanic both were overrepresented among homeless undergraduates in the study, the largest single racial category among homeless community college students in the study is non-Hispanic white.
Even the cost of attendance, which includes tuition as well as food, room and board, books, supplies and transportation, does not greatly affect the rates of housing insecurity. The community colleges studied with the lowest cost of attendance ($11,934 per year) had a housing insecurity rate of 50 percent while the most expensive colleges ($26,563 per year) had a housing insecurity rate of 46 percent.
The one factor that the study did find that impacts the homelessness rate is whether or not a given student was a former foster youth. Almost 30 percent of community college students among this demographic who were surveyed are homeless.
Similar to the previous studies, which looked primarily at the levels of hunger amongst college students, the current research shows that working or receiving financial aid does not alleviate the stress of finding adequate housing.
More than 40 percent of homeless students have a job, and more than half of those work between 20 and 40 hours per week. One-third of homeless students are receiving student loans. And, in another indicator of the financial distress among these students, one-sixth of homeless students are getting through college through credit card loans.
There is also little federal assistance for homeless students. To quote the report, “among students experiencing housing insecurity or even homelessness, less than 13 percent received any form of assistance with housing costs, and only about six percent got assistance with utilities. Even though 28 percent of students in this study have children, and of those 63 percent were food insecure and almost 13 percent were homeless, barely five percent received any child care assistance. Instead, the most common forms of support these students received were tax refunds (likely from the Earned Income Tax Credit) and Medicaid or public health insurance (e.g., via the Affordable Care Act).”

Report: More millennials live at home than with spouse

An interesting study released by the US Census Bureau shows that about 1/3 of millennials 18-34 live at home or in a college dormitory. A quarter of 25-34 year olds living at home are either not employed or not going to school.
What's striking about these figures is the difference between young adults today and those in 1970. 
More 18- to-34-year-olds live with a parent than with a spouse, according to the report, The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975–2016 (pdf). That's a major shift from the 1970s, when young people were more than twice as likely to live with a spouse. Young adults today are also likelier to be enrolled in college or graduate school than their counterparts in the '70s. 
Most of those who live at home but neither work nor study have a high school diploma or less, and about a fifth have a child. Half are white, and the majority are male. About a quarter have a disability.
"Almost 9 in 10 young people who were living in their parents’ home a year ago are still living there today, making it the most stable living arrangement for young adults," the report said. "In 2005, the majority of young people lived independently in their own household (either alone, with a spouse, or an unmarried partner), which was the predominant living arrangement in 35 states. By 2015—just a decade later—only six states had a majority of young people living independently."   
Making sweeping generalizations that reflect badly on young adults today is probably unavoidable. But I think it more important to look at the underlying causes that are forcing young people to live with their parents.
It comes down to an economy that is not creating entry level jobs that pay a living wage. A college degree used to be a gateway to a white collar job in the 1970's. Those jobs not only paid enough for a young adult to live alone, but also put the worker on a management track. 
Even high school graduates with few skills could find employment at a factory or shop that paid a decent wage.Those jobs are all gone now, never to return. Employment has become specialized to the point that graduate school is almost a necessity for finding a job after college that would allow a young adult the independence to live by themselves.
An even more radical change is the refusal of young people to get married. This is a titanic cultural shift, the consequences of which are still not fully understood. Clearly, at least part of the reason for young adults to shy away from marriage is economics. But there is also far less emphasis placed on sex and marriage by young people today than there was in the 1970's. Most millennials don't see an upside to having a spouse and a family, and with housing prices what they are, even a two income family will have a hard time affording one.
I think there's a chance that, with a better economy, the number of young adults living with their parents will drop. But attitudes toward marriage may have been permanently altered. The priorities of young adults would have to change for most of them to once again, look to fall in love, marry, and raise a family. 

No comments: