A Place of Higher Learning (Spending?)

If you already thought that your school was indirectly ripping you off via $2 book buybacks, highly over-priced cafe sandwiches, and dorms similar to living quarters for Chinese factory workers (this is not an exaggeration), you can now feel better that it is likely going out of its way to screw you.  Many of the nation’s prominent universities, along with some help from our cuddly friends in the credit card industry, are creating peons for life by facilitating large consumer debt among young students.

While I’m generally hesitant to trust the Huffington Post, this recent article by members of its “Investigative Fund” shows that many schools across the country earn handsome amounts of cabbage for selling personal information of students to credit card companies as well as for allowing companies to gain special access to students at particular events (ie, orientation).  Among the more notable schools who engage in this practice are all of Cornell’s more esteemed cousins in the Ivy League.

But that of course does not mean that Cornell is innocent.  According to the article, Cornell must give Chase Bank tickets and priority parking passes to sporting events.

It’s amazing that schools with the biggest endowments in the country are the prime culprits.  It merely reinforces the horrors of what I have described on this blog as the University-Industrial Complex.  This is essentially universities, governments, and the business community working together to funnel almost every young person in the United States into post-secondary school, regardless of whether it’s a good idea for that particular person.  As displayed by this finding, it is clear how business and universities benefit.  However, the federal government also benefits because this structure allows it to delay making necessary reforms to American education; it merely patches up the deficiencies of the nation’s K-12 system by trying to send everyone to college.

*Full Disclosure: I have taken the term ‘University-Industrial Complex’ from a libertarian source that is cozy with the Ron Paul crowd.  For all the negative connotations associated with this group, I will not disclose the actual source.  For the record, I am NOT a Ron Paul fan (read my bio), but I do read this particular blog from time to time.