Many may disagree with me but let’s be honest about the meaning of “higher” education in the United States. Simply state it, it is a one big fucking business. A very big and profitable one at that. They shouldn’t call it a higher education, rather they should call it “how to fuck students real good” by way of complicated level of busines. Although I won’t compare it to the likes of Enron or Halliburton, no doubt the business of higher education will soon reach that level of corrupt and thievery of Enron, Halliburto etc., if no one stops it.
The average student graduates with at least, well, I don’t know, maybe $20,000 in student loan plus interest? That is not to say that some students will graduate with debt-free but the majority of American students graduate with some sort of debt. Medical students are basically screwed for life. I read somewhere that the average medical student graduates with debt between $200,000 to $250,000 plus interest! No wonder insurance premiums are through the roof and continue to skyrocket daily. I am not a rocket scientist but I’m pretty sure that many students are not interested in medicine these days since not only are they have to sacrifice their whole youth for their education and suffer the infinite study gruelings, but they also have to deal with bullshit after finishing school. By the time they’re finished, their whole ideals have dashed and reduced to the survival of the fittest, rather than healing. I’m sure there will be very few doctors rushing to sign up for Doctors Without Borders or work in a poor country.
The problem with higher education in the United States is that education has been privatized to such an extent that everything comes down to which student is willing to not only suffer the long days and nights of study but as well as get bugged down in a long, unending debt, which by the way can NEVER EVER be forgiven unlike other types of loans in the United States. It is really sad to see many American students go to other countries to get their higher education, like Cuba. Cuba just graduated its first patch of American medical students. All these students are asked is to heal their patients wherever they go to and not pay back a cent. On the other hand, American students have completely given up on science and technology degrees and Chinese and Indian students are filling the holes. If you go to any company in Sillycone Valley, most of their employees are non-American – thanks to India and China, yet assholes like Lou Dobbs continue to blame where the blame doesn’t lie in. Why should these companies are blamed for outsourcing their jobs to other countries when they know that they can get the best people for less? And you know these countries have educated their students for free and therefore the student is not worried about paying back his or her debt and can basically work for lesser wages to live comfortably? While on the other hand, if these companies hire an American student with a degree in science or technology, the companies have to pay these employees higher wages because the employee is paying back his/her debt therefore cannot work for less? Do you see how everything is connected together? But unfortunately the people who can make a difference are not interested in fixing the problem from the root. The root cause of outsourcing and higher premiums in medical insurance lie in student’s education, not just how these bloodsucking insurance companies do business. Students ought to be educated for the future, not to be bugged down in debt.
Perhaps the most infuriating part of higher education is the robbery that occurs in buying text books, especially when they keep churning out the same goddamn books with a patch of “newer edition” slapped on it. Yeah right. The material is exactly the same, yet you’re forced to buy an edition that is supposedly new but still has the same exact material from edition one. They’re clever, I give them that much, but what I don’t get is the professors and instructors making students buy a new edition every freaking semester. For example, my first semester I bought a 5th edition book for a world religion course while we were supposed to buy the 6th edition even though the material is a carbon copy of the earlier editions but way cheaper. It didn’t effect me but I felt sorry for students who had to spend $30-$50 extra for the supposedly “new” edition for absolutely nothing. I mean, what is there “new” thing to add in a established religions? Why is an upgrade needed when the material is not new? I may sound conspiracy theorist but I believe my suspicion is well-founded. I think there is a palm-greasing going on between textbook publishers and colleges/universities i.e. bribes, kickbacks, free vacation etc. to professors and instructors or the Dean of each department who require students buy a “new” edition every semester. I am not accusing everyone but I’m saying that this needs to be looked at like the New York State Attorney General did with college loan practices that found many, many financial aid officers and loan companies in bed to rob students. In that investigation, the AG found that financial aid officers were encouraging students to get a loan from a “certain” company which has a higher interest rate kicking in after the student graduates but are not told that upfront by their financial aid officers, and in return, the financial aid officers receive bribes, kickbacks, and other forms of reward for their signing students to that particular company. However, in the end, it is the student who suffers. My solution? I never buy books from the college book store…always buy from other students or online. And I don’t sell it back to the bookstore because if you thought buying the book from them is robbery – guess what happens when you return them the book for buy-back: worst than buying it in the first place because not only will they only buy it back for 80% less than the original price, there is a 10-15% “restocking” fee, surcharges, and other bullshit; leaving the student to receive less than 10% of what his/her books are actually worth. I’ll either sell my books to other students, give them for free, or just keep them and recycle it when appropriate.