mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
My Grades Belong To Daddy

Huffington Post published an article about college students who use  ‘Sugar Daddies’ in order to pay off their college debt. There’s even a website to facilitate intergenerational hookups. The deeply untrustworthy sources for the story claim that 35% of the site’s 800,000 members identify themselves as students. Those who enter an .edu email address to gain access to the site are upgraded to premium membership free of charge.

The lowlife founder of the misbegotten site babbles defensively about promoting “mutually beneficial relationships” to help “men and women living through tough economic times to afford college.”

This is not what I mean when I say that “value added intermediation” is the wave of the future.

Note to students: no piece of sheepskin is worth a piece of your soul. Pick a program and a pace you can afford.  And choose your major wisely.  Realize that many college majors don’t lead to good starting salaries; make sure your plans fit your circumstances.  And if you get in a financial jam, talk to your parents before trolling the web.

Note to university administrators: this bubble will burst, and sooner than you think.

Note to Congress and the President: it is a scandal and a shame that debts taken out by students — among the most vulnerable and the least well informed of consumers — can’t be discharged in bankruptcy.  America’s war on youth needs to stop.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Kenny

    The ‘war on American youth’ includes misleading them to think that:

    1. nearly everyone must go to college when the fact is far too great of a percentage already do, and

    2. a college degree is a sure ticket to a great, secure future.

    Also, if a kid is too stupid to understand the simple dynamics of debt — that it has to be paid back with interest — then he/she was grossly mis-educated in K-12 and/or is too dumb to go to college. Come on, debt isn’t rocket science.

    But the biggest war on our youth is the unpayable debt the ‘blue model’ of government has left them, a debt that Obama is intent on growing even greater.

  • Mrs. Davis

    If student loans were dischargable in BK, I would now recommend to my children that they declare BK the day after graduation from their last stage of education, particularly if they graduated from medical school. Too many figured that out when they were dischargable And that’s why they no longer are.

  • Buce

    I wonder if you have let your skeptical glasses drop behind the couch here. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this story is, if not entirely false, still vastly overhyped, of assistance to nobody so much as the eager entrepreneur, and a none-too-critical journalist in need of an August story. By my recollection, it’s a story that has turned up at least every few years since the 50s. And it certainly satisfies a lot of male fantasies.

    OTOH–if and insofar as it is true, the prices sound a bit low. Might be that there is indeed a large supply of willing victims. Or it might be that those most likely to participate score fairly high on the self-contempt (=”I don’t deserve good things”) scale.”

  • Maddog

    Sadly there are a number of alternatives to the incredibly expensive University education we have in this country, but they are all but unknown.

    For example London School of Economics (LSE) offers University degrees for about $5000. The degree in economics is considered an Ivy League equivalent. The University offers many other degrees in various fields of study.

    Note: That is not $5000 per year but $5000 for the degree. Yes it could cost more if the student needed to resit for one or more tests.

    Further no travel is required but the student must work and learn primarily on his own.

    That said many students through the world work, study and obtain these degrees each year.

    Econ Professor Mark Perry discussed this degree here:

    It is unclear why public and private Universities do not partner with institutions like LSE to offer these degrees. They could increase the tuition cost and in exchange offer lecture/tutorial support over the three years of study. The ability to obtain a high value degree for even $10,000 would be of incredible value to a large number of students.

    Until the tuition bubble actually pops, however, such thinking is unlikely.

    Mark Sherman

  • Indebted Princetonian Stud

    [What is going on] with the sexism and gender bias evident both here and Huff-Post?!?!

    Spare me the petite-bourgeois sanctimony cum prolo-academic prudery, and tell:

    Where do I go to get a Sugar-Mama to pay my bills?!?How can she go about finding me?!?!

    Come and get it, ladies: highly educated pillow-talk comes with the package…

  • Toni

    World’s oldest profession enters the Twenty-First Century.

    The best way to lower college costs is to stop subsidizing it. Be it wheat or unemployment or wind farms or college, subsidizing something gets you more of it. The higher education establishment is quite happy absorbing the subsidies and then some.

    Colleges raise tuition, fees, room and board at what? twice or thrice? the inflation rate. Then they go poor-mouthing to Congress for more subsidies.

    There’s another way to put this: rewarding bad behavior encourages it. Taxpayers oughtn’t reward profligate colleges. Let them live on a budget the way taxpayers do.

  • Luke Lea

    Open season on citizens with two digit IQ’s. That would include something like 55 percent of the population the last time I looked — about which today’s intellectual class knows little. Too bad. It wasn’t like that in Gomper’s day, back when they still spoke Yiddish on the East Side.

    Charles Murray warned that this would be happening.

    Ain’t meritocracy grand!

  • David

    Going into substantial debt for your undergrad is lunacy – doing it for grad school makes sense depending on your circumstances. The real debt bubble for students that studied Humanities is the sad thing. 250K for a PhD in the Classics. When you probably really weren’t that smart to begin with. Good luck.

  • Chris

    Student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy, actually. The court decides to what extent the loans are an “undue burden” and discharge whatever that amount is. Basically what this means is that if you spend a few years after college making $10 an hour but have to pay back $300 or $400 a month, you will likely be able to cut some of your loans out.

    That said, I would like to make a more general comment about student loans and college educations. Speaking from experience, I think students are likely to understand but discount much of the risk associated with student loan debt and job prospects. Most high school graduates can go work as a waitress or telemarketer for $10 or $15 an hour. Their earning potential will remain pretty flat for their entire life. Or they can “roll the dice” and go to college — true, their job prospects may not be much brighter after amassing $50,000 in student loans. But taking on that debt is the only way the student will even have the chance or opportunity to break into the middle class. I took that risk and got lucky, but things could have turned out much differently for me, and honestly I would still stand by my decision to get all educated.

  • Tim

    “For example London School of Economics (LSE) offers University degrees for about $5000. The degree in economics is considered an Ivy League equivalent. ”

    No,it’s not. It’s no where close to the level of U of Chicago, the Ivies, Stanford or even UCLA or U of Wisconsin at Madison as far as economics.

  • AtlantaDude

    The education bubble is one problem that President Obama could actually solve. Tomorrow. Here is how.

    Make a Presidential order that all Universities must do the following in order to qualify for federal research grants (a significant carrot).

    1. Build and offer full online degree options for at least 50% of their undergraduate majors within 2 years.

    2. Commit to make absolutely no distinctions between the online degree and the campus degree

    3. Set the price for an online degree to no more than $10K per year.

    4. Admit any and all students into the online program who meet whatever minimum standard GPA and SAT has been set for the on-campus program.

    What would happen:

    a) Top tier colleges would generate a bonanza of revenue at $10K per online student, with very minimal incremental cost. They also would see their brand value diminished in the long term (i.e. why they won’t do this on their own), but that is actually a net plus for society.

    b) The middle class would get enormous relief as the tuition bubble is popped

    c) The leading universities and their professors would get to increase their influence by reaching many more students.

    d) Obama looks like a hero for solving a real problem

    e) Short term economic boost from all the online degree technology development.

    Win-Win-Win. Except for the lower tier colleges.

  • Honors

    These have to be jokes responses/solutions. I am not saying that I have the correct answer, but each response has been worse the the previous answer. I work as an Advisor for a Tier 1 Carnegie Research institution, member of the AAU, and one of the largest student bodies in Texas/the USA. From my own undergraduate experience I have student loans, but the education (on campus) I received was amazing. To work with professors, TA’s, and GA’s who gave me guidance and critiques when needed. Was well worth the price that I paid. Which was land-grant state school, whose mission is a public good. But look nationwide at the shrinking support state schools receive from their state funding as a percentage of the state budget. At my alma matter they used to receive 21% of the TOTAL STATE BUDGET in the 1980’s, but now receive less than 10% of the total state budget. Which has resulted in escalating costs which are placed upon the student via tuition increases. Also, wait until you have kids. Do you really want to be the parent who tells your child NOT to go to college. I have a never ending parade of parents & high school SRs who sit in my office wanting to know how do they get into my school if they are not in the top 10% of their graduating class, & then how can they be in the honors program once they are admitted to the school as well. And most of them would gladly pay the 15K a year it takes to “attend” the school. But those dollars pay for research, labs, salaries, energy costs, construction of new dorms, parking garages, health insurance. So please no one else propose any other “grand” ideas until after you finish your first grad class in higher ed finance. Thanks

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service