The education corporation vs. the American dream

This week, Elizabeth Warren published her book, A Fighting Chance, in which she illuminates another important issue that, for a graduating high school senior, soon to attend college, has been at the forefront of my mind and that of many other students in my situation.

No matter whom you talk to in my situation, the consensus is the same: It’s rough out there. We’re frustrated. We wish there was some transparency in the process. We wish we could trust that all of our merits were being considered by benevolent strangers who endeavored to understand why we perhaps could not do extra volunteer work two summers ago, and that our hard work will translate into scholarships the way we were promised they would.

Most of all, we wished we wouldn’t have to pay off student loan debt for the crime of being middle class. And, with the interest federal loans pile on, who knows how much an education will actually cost, with no guarantee of any sustainable jobs after we take off the cap and gown.

While the impending doom of student loan debt dissuades many from attending colleges that are priced horrendously high, the government is making billions of dollars off interest from federal loans. Loans for large corporations and banks however, are charged much less interest. Elizabeth Warren condemns this practice and the education system that seems not only to admit people arbitrarily to college, but also is priced outlandishly. One has to wonder where that money actually goes.

Not only does this issue pain all young Americans looking for an education and taking out federal loans, but it also threatens to rip the fabric of the American dream. Cutting welfare, destroying wage caps on campaign contributions (as if their influence on the campaign process isn’t big enough), voter restriction laws and loan traps for college students—it seems like the disparity between the 1% and the rest of us is being encouraged. It seems like corporations are being treated more like people than people. Since when are businesses’ rights more important than human rights? Colleges are essentially corporations. Is it possible for a rags to riches story to happen now? Because for students today, the stories of escaping poverty through sheer force of will are sounding more and more like fairy tales.

However you look at it, the conversation today is very different. Students who have been told all their lives that college is the answer have to reevaluate what $50,000 a year tuition will actually help them achieve. Meanwhile, we have to wonder what kind of power we actually have to change the system.