[-empyre-] Fwd: Debt Culture--types of debt

Annie McClanahan anniejmcclanahan at gmail.com
Sun Nov 25 02:19:31 EST 2012

I think the point about salaries is well-taken. I do think our health
insurance plans and our pensions (to the extent we have them) are arguably
"paid" with student debt (in the sense that those are the only fixed costs
that have increased at anywhere near the same rate as tuition in the last 2
decades). Certainly the insanely rapid growth of the uni administrative
class--presently in a 1:1 ratio to full-time faculty in the UC system--is
being paid for with debt; ditto almost any new construction projects
(student debt typically is often used as financing collateral for bonds on
these projects, since it constitutes unrestricted income for state schools
and they can promise their own lenders that they can raise it infinitely!).
If you're interested, Bob Meister has absolutely amazing essay that really
gets into the nitty-gritty of student debt as a form of financing the
public university in *Representations* from a couple issues back: it's
hair-raising and radicalizing.

On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 7:28 PM, Susan E Ryan <faryan at lsu.edu> wrote:

>  As a member of a faculty this idea that I'm paid with student debt
> appalls me.  However, I think it was not always that way.
> Also I know that in the long term (going back to when that wasn't the case
> so much) faculty salaries haven't risen in an exponential
> way.  I haven't had a raise in 4 years, and our raises before that were
> about 2% every 2 to 3 years. However, I have witnessed the
> escalation of university administration, both in the number of
> administrative positions and in the rather breathtaking salaries that I
> have heard
> quoted to me.  These are elite corporate executives. I assume this is part
> of the corporatization of the university, and that that is the real
> culprit. I wonder how many university
> presidents, provosts, and chancellors and their associates, assistants,
> and deans, have signed the pledge. Certainly, collectively
> they have the real agency.
>  Perhaps there are other faculty that have different experiences from
> mine, but I found out recently that as a tenured professor,
> at an accredited, research-level public university, I make on average the
> same $ as a dental hygienist. Also, the growth of adjunct teaching
> has skyrocketed.
>  We have lost tenured salary lines to adjunct professors, in our
> university's "cost cutting" efforts, efforts that seem like part of some
> ruse, as the cost of education never recedes.
> I'm not sure the salaries of our actual educators are responsible for the
> costs that demand ever mounting student debt.
>  Susan Ryan
> Begin forwarded message:
>  *From: *Deena Larsen <deenalarsen at yahoo.com>
>  *Date: *November 23, 2012 9:21:20 AM CST
>  *To: *"bhcontinentaldrift at gmail.com" <bhcontinentaldrift at gmail.com>, "
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au" <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>,
> soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>  *Subject: **Re: [-empyre-] Debt Culture--types of debt*
>  *Reply-To: *Deena Larsen <deenalarsen at yahoo.com>, soft_skinned_space <
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>  I agree with Brian's discourse, and it is a complicated problem:
>  >How can crippling debt become an issue on campus, given that the
> students have yet to be affected by it, while the faculty are actually paid
> with student debt? How to break the status quo of isolation and corruption?
> What can we do to transform the basis of social solidarity that Annie talks
> about in her post?
>  Thanks to the "truth in lending" credit cards now calculate the amount
> of interest paid and the amount of time if you pay the minimum payment. The
> difficulty is that this does not translate well to student loans. Putting a
> price on an education as a "cost" and showing the only "benefit" as a
> potentially higher salary is a lousy way of doing a cost /benefit
> analysis--kind of like saying the only "benefit" worth mentioning in the
> Grand Canyon is the ability to channel water (fish, beauty, etc. don't
> count).
>  So...either you find a way to calculate non-use values, and the risks of
> not having an educated populace or individual, or you completley revamp the
> school system.
>  I wonder how students/faculty/society would react to a proposal along
> the lines of:
>  The state provides 4 years worth of academic credit tuition for each
> student. Students would still have to pay for books, living expenses, etc.
> Then, in return, students' future wages are garnished at 10 percent for
> their lifetime...
>  Some would manage to repay that "loan" a hundred fold, while others
> would never repay it at all.
>  There are other educational-fudning methods out there.
> Deena Larsen
> http://www.deenalarsen.net/
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