Degrees For Dollars: Students Petition Uncle Sam To Refund Student Loans For Worthless Diplomas

Tyler Durden's picture

Student debt has seemingly been the transmission channel of choice for pumping credit into the US economy for the last few years as the government addition of $1 trillion has done nothing but leave those under-55 with fewer and fewer jobs (especially above-minimum-wage jobs) while saddled with non-extinguishable debt. Of course, this 'pump' of credit has had the usual unintended 'inflationary' consequence of raising tuition prices (which as we noted this morning was the main driver of inflation in the UK overnight). So what would be fair? Cue: A Petition to "Provide University graduates the ability to trade their Diplomas back for 100% tuition refunds" The hope-driven (or hopelessness) push into higher education (and implicitly higher debt), in a nation where the marginal benefit of Calculus 101 over a strong right 'burger-flipping / coffee-machine-pressing' wrist is falling by the day, seems to warrant further societal protection. All that's needed is 25,000 signatures to move this forward.

We petition the obama administration to:

Provide University graduates ability to trade their diplomas back for 100% tuition refunds.


Because of the inability of recent college graduates to find gainful employment in order to repay their college debt, and since this college debt cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy, and most of the recent additions to the job market have been in service related industries, the Obama administration should take up the cause of reducing college debt and hold those accountable responsible.


In the name of Consumer Protection, recent college graduates should have the ability to return the diploma and not make any reference to receiving education from the college in exchange for a 100% refund of college tuition. This may be extended with a graduated (ha, get it?) reduction for the last four years, with a red line at January 20, 2008.


Click image for a link to the White House petition site...

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Global Hunter's picture

I don't blame them, however I offer a full refund back to about the year 1800

GetZeeGold's picture



Good thing Johnny has a good education in piano wire weaving.

Winston Churchill's picture

Underwater basket weaving doesn't pay.


economics9698's picture

Education is 50% useless propaganda.  If these kids were taught something of value, like how the economy operates, and not bull shit propaganda designed to get them to be useless cheerleaders for the state, than maybe they would be employable.

economics9698's picture

My kid got a 69% haircut on his student loan.  He did learn something in college.  Bankers hate default.

MillionDollarBogus_'s picture

I weigh 400 lbs.

I demand that the government pay to have all the excess fat removed from my body and pay for a stomache staple procedure.

In exchange I will deny that I gorge on fast food, drink big gulps and get no exercise. 

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

"Reality is not optional"

-Thomas Sowell

MillionDollarBogus_'s picture

David McCullough on 60 Minutes last Sunday;

"...I ran into some students on university campuses who were bright and attractive and likeable. And I was just stunned by how much they didn’t know. One young woman at a university in the Midwest came up to me after one of my talks and said that until she heard me speak that morning she’d never understood that the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast. And I thought, “What are we doing that’s so wrong, so pathetic?” I tried it again at several other places, colleges and universities, same thing. Now, it’s not their fault. It’s our fault. And when I say our fault I don’t mean just the teachers. I mean the parents and grandparents. We have to take part..."


crusty curmudgeon's picture

I thought there were like 57 original colony thingies or whatever.

Cortez the Killer's picture

if they return the diplomas they keep the knowledge.

the only fair trade would be to have their brains removed, then processed into food to serve to EBT card holders.

Even then, their brains are of such little value, a refund of tuition for more than a single GE class would be overpaying by the govt.

StychoKiller's picture

Memorizing the phone book will fill yer head with facts, but useless facts nevertheless.  If I were to purchase a vehicle, I would expect it to get me from point A to point B, but what the universities are supplying is a vehicle with the engine completely disassembled, and it's up to you to figure out how to put it together yourself, with no instruction manual.  Loads of useless courses to be found in just about every degree.

Harlequin001's picture

Fuck that. I didn't do a University course, so would you mind reimbursing me a check for the cost of a Phd in thermo-nuclear rocket science please, for the course I didn't waste my time and everybody else's money studying for?

Parasites, fucking parasites. You took the money now pay the fucking bill. If you can't find a job that's just tough. Do what everybody else does that needs money and can't find work. Go and use your highly educated arse to create one...

Oleander's picture

Homeschool your kids if you can. Its great quality time. You must be proactive in their education if you want them to be able to think. My kid knows the truth about the Pilgrims and the Indians. There are adults who actually think the cozy traditional theme of Thanksgiving is real. 

TeamDepends's picture

At least some of these kids are smart enough to realize that the lefty twaddle they were taught is completely useless in the real world.

Diogenes's picture

And when the scales fall from their eyes and they realize they have been sucked in by a load of lefty twaddle, they immediately appeal to the President for a bailout.

They may still have a ways to go.

Captain Kink's picture

...the Obama administration should take up the cause of reducing college debt and hold those accountable responsible.

The government, in it's infinite wisdom, is responsible.  Cheap money available for higher education has enabled so many to go to college that had no business going.  Now we suffer a lack of skilled labor--machinists, plumbers, welders, pole dancers, etc.--and must endure the whining of children with useless degrees who feel no responsibility for their own choices.  Just as with the subsidization of home purchases for those who had no business buying homes, when government gets involved, the market effects HAVE CONSEQUENCES.


holdingontomypants's picture

You expect college kids to take up a trade? Trades are manual work and these kids don't participate in that kind of program. Now if you said take up a trade in operating their keyboards, standing in protest lines, buying latest electronic gadgets, paying video games, ect, then you have found the right college kids. When I was growing up in the 70's they pushed trade schools so my brother became an electrician, I became a marine mechanic, my other brother became a an AC/Heating mechanic, and my sister went to college and got two degrees and is unemployed right now. My two brothers and I are still working but I am in a different employement field now as I opened a small business in 2005 that wasn't related to my training from trade school but instead related to my training in the military.

StychoKiller's picture

They were sold a pig in a poke, and now everyone that's never (yeah, right!) been hoodwinked feels some sort of righteous indignation on their naive expectation that employment should be forthcoming.  Pay attention:  the debt is non-dischargeable!

francis_sawyer's picture

Don't forget to add in 'punitive' damages for all the beer consumed in the Beer Pong tournaments... & while you're at it...

- face paint for sports games & rallies

- iPhones & videocameras for 'Girls Gone Wild' outtakes

- re-imbursement for unnecessary Spring Break expenditures on trips to Cancun

If I think of anything else I'll let you know...

LetThemEatRand's picture

Isn't that why we all went to college?   The classes and diploma were a nice bonus.   I think you have your priorities screwed up, francis.

francis_sawyer's picture

If I had to do it all over again... about the mid-80's I'd have opened up a 'Hooter's' style bar in a college town, banged drunken co-ed hotties for 20 years, then cashed out on top & gone fishing...

StychoKiller's picture

Proving only that American culture has taken numerous wrong turns.

Spitzer's picture

The sad part is that there is allot of third world students moving to the west to get in on it. They think its their way out of poverty

Mrmojorisin515's picture

Its a paper aristocracy, and those third world students need to trade all the dollars they've accumulated for something.......

Let them all fail's picture

Well if you live in the third world I would imagine that getting your education here would be a pretty good proposition in comparison, cost aside...Plus, it CAN be a way out of poverty, the thing is that most students don't take it as seriously as they find out later they should have, classes are just the things that get in the way of drinking, etc. - Professors teach their classes but most classes are pretty useless for your job prospects...Looking back, my biz pogram needs to completely overhaul the classes it offers, it sucks.

MachoMan's picture

You live in the third world, you come here for an education, and you go right back to the third world afterward...  where, somehow, the education is respected and the number of college graduates is relatively small.  It also makes collection a bit tricky...  sounds like a good gameplan.  moral.hazard

Spitzer's picture

Educations in the third world are cheaper

odatruf's picture

Spitzer - the really sad part is that people will line up to sign this damn thing and will think it is a good, solid and fair idea.  When are we going to admit that these fellow citizens are dumb as a box of rocks and probably have no hope of redemption?  There, I said it.


Totentänzerlied's picture

Yes, no mention of the fact that it is impossible to default on student loans. "Good, solid and fair" mean absolutely jack shit when you're dealing with the government. Students weren't the ones begging for higher tuition rates and the larger loan principals they necessitated or for congress to make those loans a nondischargeable debt. That would be the private lenders, the Department of Education, the College Board, the college faculty and administrators, and politicians all of whom have profited far, far more than the students they defrauded.

MachoMan's picture

So there is no responsibility for knowing whether or not the debt you're racking up is dischargeable?  Is this not one of the most fundamental things to consider before going to college?

Silver Bully's picture

'So there is no responsibility for knowing whether or not the debt you're racking up is dischargeable?

If the girl and the 13 colonies wasn't an indicator, then what is? When the System teaches these kids, don't be surprised the System abuses them further. NO ONE is informing these children what kind of debt they are taking on. There is a legal disclaimer buried somewhere in the fine print of their loans. That's it. THAT is the problem.

odatruf's picture

What is there to disclaim? "Hey this is unlike that other kind of debt where we are just kidding about wanting our money back"?

Don't borrow if you can't pay. Or if you do, understand the consequences. I am not one who holds a moral obligation to pay; they are contracts pure and simple. But I do hold that contracts should be upheld. And that whatever rights the lender has if the borrower defaults should be allowed.


Ballin D's picture

If you posted this 5 years ago in response to some kid with a basketweaving major I would agree completely.

I applied to college in my senior year at the end of 2007 and worked my ass off to get a degree in finance + work exp/extracurriculars/leadership exp and passed the CFA L1 right after graduation and cannot find work.  Was I supposed to be able to predict the markets better than the banks could as a 17 year old high school student?  You are simply out of touch if you think kids cant pay their debt back because theyre stupid or lazy.  There are certainly some that dont think their actions through but you cannot assume it as a rule.

College has been pushed on students so strongly that it is hard to blame teenagers for taking the steps to succeed that all of their parents, teachers, and mentors encouraged them to take.  Kids are told to take loans because it will pay off.  That they will be 'failures' if they dont go to uni.  I worked in tech support during the school year and could potentially make 15,600/yr at 40 hrs a week 52 weeks a year.  How do you expect a kid to survive off that income and pay back $60,000 of debt?  And thats doing work that requires some level of skill. 

I'm not saying that we should simply wipe all student debt but you arent going to squeeze orange juice from a stone.  You cannot tell some kid to pay off that kind of debt when hes making your burger for minimum wage with a degree in finance.  Talk to the people that were of voting age, who were running companies/government, or who werent bothering to take the initiative to save when incomes were higher and costs were lower.  Or just retire or die and let us work.

MachoMan's picture

If you can do rudimentary math and have access to a phone or can somehow communicate with recent graduates, then there is no excuse.  You have to do your due diligence...  All you're telling us with this nonsense is that the nanny state let you down because you decided to outsource your critical thinking ability.  I agree.

If you do not have a job lined up BEFORE you go to college, then you don't have one after. 

Yes, you can tell people to repay their debts...  there are limits as to how much of one's pay can be garnished/confiscated...  there are also programs that eliminate your debt after you make what payments you can for a certain number of years...  at the end of the day, it would all work out of the banks weren't made whole regardless of the solvency of their debtors...  (can't get "orange juice from a stone").  While it may not be dischargeable, that doesn't mean that the banks actually get anything... 

Ballin D's picture

I could have made my point better without sounding like such a whiny brat.  Of course Ive made the phone calls.  I have made the trip to my college every other week since Ive graduated.  Ive been in close touch with professors and the people running career services.  Ive met with alumni.  I did a lot of practice interviews in case that was the issue and was invited to follow up after all of them (most times on-site).  Every time Im told I need finance experience for a job (and a job for finance experience).  There are only a few jobs outside of predatory commission based positions and most of those are going to laid off bankers with a few years under their belts or the top students from top schools.  If they arent recruiting these top candidates, theyre looking for people with zero ambition who will be happy doing data entry for 30 years.  I apply for these roles but never hear back.

Ultimately, my personal experience is irrelevant but I thought I made it clear that there are people who have made good decisions that are just as fucked as those that made the bad decisions.  Asking teenagers to know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives and to have that job lined up four years in the future is about as ridiculous as people suggesting recent grads 'get a loan and start a business.'  Neither option exists in the real world unless youre a legacy at an ivy league or something similar.

You should have a realistic plan before you take loans and go to college and you should expect to pay back those loans.  Its not right to ever default on your commitments but what options are there in this environment?  Telling them to be more responsible only goes so far when they dont see anybody taking responsibility for the mess they were born into.  I dont believe there is a right answer but stubbornly saying 'just pay it back' when they cannot is definitely not it.  A side note here - I have no student debt.  My parents saved to pay for my education as I plan to do for my children in the future.  I feel strongly about the issue because Ive been in a position to watch the situation unfold as my peers are caught in the trap.  This is a very different beast than issues like credit card debt - otherwise responsible people are walking off the plank in droves because thats what everyone else has done before them.

MachoMan's picture


So you're telling me that your counter-party, your lender, is supposed to be your fiduciary?  Really?  Again, this is learned helplessness...  the better question to ask is why these "kids" didn't inform themselves...  why they didn't seek the information themselves...  it's their neck on the line.

And are you trying to say that the bankruptcy code is written by the fine print of each contract?  That's fresh...  So kids don't know how to access a google search?

I know it's hard to use the R word, but try it...

StychoKiller's picture

Your profession doesn't make it any easier to understand what kind of obligations your signature is getting you into.  One shouldn't have to hire a legalese translator to find out how much screwing over is going on in a given contract.  For example, who, besides the legal profession uses words like "whereunto" and "thereof" in normal conversation?

MachoMan's picture

The mark of any good draftsman is that his intended meaning is universally understood.  Most drafters suck shit through a straw.  It's literally this game where idiots try and picture what they would say if they had a powdered wig on and were trying to impress other powdered wig folks.  Ridiculous.

However, this is purely academic in that people don't even bother to read the contracts...  if you ever have a question about a contract, then ask the draftsman...  and get the response in writing.  It may or may not technically make it into the contract, but practically speaking I'd hate to argue against it. 

odatruf's picture

Of course students weren't begging for higher tuitions.  That's just stupid.  Do consumers beg for higher prices at McDonalds?  No, they either buy or don't buy based on what they have and want to spend - and based on how hungry they are.

These students who have taken on debt that they have no hope of paying off should go to state schools, start at a community college and then transfer or put of going a few years until they decide what path to take.


StychoKiller's picture

[quote] These students who have taken on debt that they have no hope of paying off should go to state schools, start at a community college and then transfer or put of going a few years until they decide what path to take. [/quote]

Objection!  You've assumed facts not in evidence.  If young adults possessed such intelligence to begin with, we wouldn't be in this mess!

Tedster's picture

Please recall just exactly why Student loans became "non-dischargeable" in the first place - the practice itself had become a racket, with (get this) courses at some schools devoted specifically on how to stiff the gubbmint or lender and get away with it.

Very popular with those seeking employment in Law, as models of moral integrity and probity, don't ya know.

alangreedspank's picture

They come here for IT, engineer and other wise science degrees. Not art, Mongolian 14th century women studies or social worker degrees.


StychoKiller's picture

Gasp, the Mongols had women in the 14th century?  Ya learn something new on this site every day.

I blame the Govt for:

1. Throwing munny at the universities (which is not a Constitutional requirement).

2. Changing the bankruptcy code, when what they should have done is require the Universities to eliminate bullsh!t study courses.

I blame the Universities for:

1. Creating such virtually useless courses of study.

2. Lowering their own standards via grade inflation.

3. Cowtowing to Govt mandates in the name of "affirmative action."

I blame parents for:

1. Allowing their children to pursue such idiotic courses.

2. Not educating their children about the consequences of signing contracts they don't understand.

I blame the children for:

1. Thinking that a college degree is the pathway to easy munny.

2. Not insisting on receiving a quality education.

crusty curmudgeon's picture

Education is 50% propaganda, 50% useless information and 50% partying.

"When I look back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all."

economics9698's picture

Propaganda works best when it’s a mix of truth and lies.   

ThirdWorldDude's picture

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."      -    Albert Einstein

TN Jed's picture

Yeah I was thinking any education which can be returned was never an education.