13 January 2017

Hammers in the Air

A short time ago I posted here about the situation at Charlotte School of Law. The U.S. Department of Education cut access to federal student loans to those attending CLS. CLS seems to be trying to line up sources of private student loans but it remains to be seen it that will be enough to keep it in business.

Now you can go here to read a post by Paul Caron that lists more law schools (several owned by the same entity that operates CLS plus a few others) that are also at risk of DOE sanctions. (For a list of all schools and programs likewise at risk--and there are hundreds--go here.)

The DOE's test for these schools and program is an arcane "gainful employment" formula. Quoting Caron:
Programs fail the gainful employment standard if graduates’ annual loan payments are more than 12 percent of their total earnings, or if those payments exceed 30 percent of their discretionary income. [Programs are in the zone if graduates’ annual loan payments are 8-12 percent of their total earnings, or if those payments are 20-30 percent of their discretionary income.]
While least of all I want to see good taxpayer dollars thrown down the rat hole of substandard higher education, I am very concerned about the more extensive federal involvement in this sphere of life. One needn’t be a libertarian conspiracy theorist to wonder if federal tentacles will go ever deeper into higher education and continue to turn it into a particular form of social formation, i.e., service to the pervasive corporate-consumer state.

We see this already in the relentless shilling for classes in app development for grade-school children and STEM education for college students. Postmodern consumer capitalism, just as much as one fixated on sexual autonomy, exemplifies a society without ends, a purely secular age. (See some of my posts about the commodification of contemporary life here and here.) Such an age sees human beings as no more than ever-green consumers of ever more products, an age that may soon collapse under the weight of its inconsistencies.

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