The Student Loan Scam
The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History and How We Can Fight Back
By Alan Collinge
(Beacon Press, Paperback, 9780807042311, 184pp.)
Publication Date: February 1, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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The Student Loan Scam is an exposé of the predatory nature of the $85-billion student loan industry. In this in-depth exploration, Collinge argues that student loans have become the most profitable, uncompetitive, and oppressive type of debt in American history.
This has occurred in large part due to federal legislation passed since the mid-1990s that removed standard consumer protections from student loans-and allowed for massive penalties and draconian wealth-extraction mechanisms to collect this inflated debt. High school graduates can no longer put themselves through college for a few thousand dollars in loan debt. Today, the average undergraduate borrower leaves school with more than $20,000 in student loans, and for graduate students the average is a whopping $42,000. For the past twenty years, college tuition has increased at more than double the rate of inflation, with the cost largely shifting to student debt.
Collinge covers the history of student loans, the rise of Sallie Mae, and how universities have profited at the expense of students. The book includes candid and compelling stories from people across the country about how both nonprofit and for-profit student loan companies, aided by poor legislation, have shattered their lives-and livelihoods. With nearly 5 million defaulted loans, this crisis is growing to epic proportions.
The Student Loan Scam takes an unflinching look at this unprecedented and pressing problem, while exposing the powerful organizations and individuals who caused it to happen. Ultimately, Collinge argues for the return of standard consumer protections for student loans, among other pragmatic solutions, in this clarion call for social action.
Alan Michael Collinge is Founder of StudentLoanJustice.Org, a grassroots organization, and political action committee. He holds B.S., M.S., and Eng. Degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.
Since Founding StudentLoanJustice.Org in March, 2005 as a result of his own personal experiences with college loans, Collinge has been featured on 60 Minutes, and also in print media including Fortune Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Phoenix, The Village Voice, Inside Higher Ed, and others. He has published editorials in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, and many other outlets.
Prior to founding StudentLoanJustice.Org, Collinge was Associate Scientist of Aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology, and also was regional project director for a government loan program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"Alan Collinge has lived through the national student debt crisis, and he has an astonishing tale to tell. Read and be outraged."
—Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt
"Alan Collinge has been to student loan hell and has managed to survive to tell about the experience. Turning his personal nightmare into a cause for activism, Collinge has emerged as one of the most effective critics of the student loan industry and its patrons in Washington. Readers will be as outraged as he is with what passes for federal student loan policy."—Barmak Nassirian, Associate Executive Director, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
"Students and parents planning to borrow money to finance a college or technical school education should read Alan Collinge's warnings and advice before they sign any loan papers."—David Cay Johnston, author of Free Lunch and Perfectly Legal
"If you plan on borrowing money for college, spend a few extra dollars and buy a copy of The Student Loan Scam. Relevant and deeply timely, this book's excellent advice could very well save you thousands of dollars and spare you a ton of grief."—Lynn O'Shaughnessy, author of The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price
"Think credit-card debt is a problem? Take a look at the lives ruined through the corporate thug tactics, usurious fees and vicious harassment employed by some of the nation's largest student-loan providers in this shocking exposé from Collinge, founder of StudentLoanJustice.org. The author had a manageable $38,000 in loans-until he missed a single payment . . . and his debt mushroomed to more than $100,000. The author reveals that since lenders make far more money from defaulted loans than they do from borrowers in good standing, they go to extraordinary-and illegal-lengths to force borrowers into default. There are currently more than five million defaulted loans on record, and incredibly, student loans are the only type of loan in U.S. history to be nondischargable in bankruptcy. The author exposes the engineers (and profiteers) of this predatory system and urges Congress to restore standard consumer protections to student loans, concluding with a call to arms for progressive changes, refinancing rights and a plethora of practical advice for borrowers. Comprehensive and stirring, this extraordinary book is whistle-blowing at its finest.—Publishers Weekly, starred review