Nov. 24, 2020
By Mencken's Ghost
TUCSON – As part of a nationwide federal sting operation named "Bring Social Justice," deans and top administrators from the Tucson-based University of Arizona were arrested at their homes last night and taken away in handcuffs by FBI agents and U.S. Marshals, for what could be the biggest fraud in U.S. history.
The operation also resulted in the arrest of thousands of faculty and staff from other colleges across the nation.
I'm kidding about the arrests but not about the fraud.
Unfortunately, it's no laughing matter. The self-righteous preachers of social justice and diversity deserve to be arrested for the injustices they've inflicted on Americans in general and poor minorities in particular.
An indictment would be clear and indisputable. It would detail how colleges conspired with the federal government to encourage students to take out student loans, even if they did not have the k-12 grades and the personal commitment to ever graduate; or if they picked a major that wouldn't command a high enough salary to pay off the loan in a reasonable time.
The government had, and continues to have, such loose loan criteria that basically anyone can get a student loan, regardless of credit history, grades, and chosen major. But colleges didn't have to aid and abet such a recipe for financial disaster and could've blown the whistle loudly and incessantly on the fiscal insanity, instead of taking the money and covering up the truth about the loan program.
Shamefully, college faculty and staff went along with the scam out of self-interest. They got the benefits of the money in terms of better job security, opportunities and working conditions for themselves, but at no cost to themselves when the borrowers defaulted, as many were obviously going to do, especially so-called minorities.
Anecdote: My son has two engineering degrees from the University of Arizona, a bachelor's and a master's. Before the start of his freshman year, I attended an orientation with him for new students and their parents. The engineering dean asked for a show of hands of those students who had not taken the required math placement test before enrolling, to see if they had the math skills to major in engineering. About a third of the students raised their hands, and most of them were minorities. It didn't take a crystal ball to know that their odds of staying in the discipline were not good.
The latest estimate shows that the government is going to lose $435 billion on the student loan program, which means that taxpayers will have to foot the bill, including poor taxpayers who have never gone to college, or degreed taxpayers who worked their way through college without taking out a loan or took out a loan and repaid it.
Social injustice, for sure.
At the same time, the easy money made colleges even more inefficient, complacent, and spendthrift than normal. They built swank dormitories (er, residence halls), first-class exercise facilities, dining options that rivaled those on a cruise ship, resort-like grounds, and huge and hugely expensive sports complexes for their football and basketball teams. As a result, prices for college tuition and fees were 1,413% higher in 2020 than in 1977 (an increase of $282,614.47), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Now a move is afoot in Congress and the new administration to excuse all tuition debt and even make college free. There is already a loan forgiveness program for some targeted groups, and especially for those who take a public-sector job, which is an example of the government looking out for its own.
Anecdote: The notion of free college brings to mind a time years ago when I went to Iceland to conduct management training. Over dinner one evening, my host lamented that as a result of the tiny nation having free college, students tended not to rise before ten o-clock in the morning and took six years or more to get their degree.
Of course, history shows that nothing is more expensive than a free government program.
If there were social justice, free college would be a moot point in any event. That's because colleges would be devoid of faculty and staff. They'd be serving time in prison for their role in the $535 billion college loan scam.