Exposing The Student Servitude Scam

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Gordon Long via MATASII.com,

Many today strongly believe it is morally wrong to indenture students to the degree of liabilities presently required to achieve the education required to become a productive contributor within our modern society.

The question we need to demand answers to is why has college costs for students exploded upward, while salaries and job positions for graduates has not?  What is driving the relentless and inexplicable surge in the debt burden for students and their parents?

The well researched "Ivy League Inc" by my friends at OpenTheBooks only begins to scratch the surface of what is minimally a sham and may be better described as an orchestrated banking scam, not to dissimilar in design to the last financing bubble (i.e. the Residential Real Estate bubble in the last decade).  Let me take the discussion in a critical direction which they politically may have felt it to be too sensitive to broach?


First, to quickly grasp the underpinnings of how this sham has been symphonized it would help to frame our thinking around what might appear as two unrelated notions of how the capitalist system works (or more appropriately in the case of growing student debt - doesn't work!).

INFLATION - Money Supply and Coconuts

If three hungry people were stranded on an island, each having two damp dollar bills and one having the only coconut which he/she found - what is the price of that coconut?


This of course assumes the finder of the coconut is a former Wall Street banker. The likelihood is that the maximum price that can be extracted for that coconut (no doubt partially eaten by our banker) is $4.


If a government plane then suddenly appears and drops much needed assistance in the form of $5 of financial aid for each inhabitant (which they distribute equally) - How much is the coconut now likely to be worth?


I suspect the banker would extract closer to $14.


As Nobel Economist Milton Freedman postulated " Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon".   Credit or Money supply as this scenario illustrates, significantly determines price.

CORPORATE PRICING - "Pricing-to-Market"

When a corporation has a product it prices that product based on the market.


In the first instance, if there are many competitors then the product must be priced relative to competitive pricing.


In the second instance, if there are relatively few well know competitors and the product is not yet well accepted in the market it usually will be priced against how much money it will save or how much it will increases revenues by. The corporation then prices their product against what the customer might be willing to surrender via their expected profit increases to secure the product.


Finally, when a corporation has no competition, a monopoly exists or "unwitting" demand exists,  then the corporation will "Price-to-Market".  That is to say it will charge whatever the market is willing to pay, can afford or can secure financing for.


As in a gold rush, miners in the field paid anything for the picks and shovels they needed to strike a claim. Similarly, today parents and students will pay anything for the "degree" they need to get 'a leg up' towards needed employment.


Let's start by considering the requirement by colleges for increased tuition levels. Do they actually need significantly more money? Where is the money going?

We decided to start by examining the Endowments of US Ivy League colleges and not surprisingly found that endowments are now measured in the billions of dollars. So why are college costs for Ivy League now being raised to $63,ooo/year? Why do these financially well positioned colleges need $63,000 per year from students?

If we use an average of $2M/student from the above table as endowment levels per student from Tier One colleges, we can quickly calculate that a minimal 5% annual return on endowment money would fund full scholarships for every Ivy League student and still leave $37K/year left over for operating costs, grow the existing endowment and fund new capital expenditures. However, that is not what is happening simply because there is no incentive for this to occur. There is just too much financial aid available

Colleges such as Harvard are incredibly doing much, much, better than our 5% illustration above and frankly better than most professional investors can understand to be possible in a QE/ZIRP environment!

Who is Getting An Overall 15% Yields in an Era of QE/ZIRP?

Consider the most recent Financial Statement of Harvard University (not to pick on Harvard as all the elite colleges reflect similar financial approaches). We see that the revenues from Federal Government sponsorship aid is equivalent to 60% of the revenue received from student income (remembering that in turn student debt is sponsored by government aid funding).

As we see below, Operating Revenue is dominated by Government funding, despite Harvard sitting on an endowment approaching net asset value of ~$40 BILLION dollars (and rapidly expanding). This asset base is bigger than most major banks in America.

Similar to our three deserted island inhabitants, when the government inserts more money or credit financing aid the price of the "coconut' or 'student tuition' goes up!

The simple truth is that Ivy League schools have become non taxable, not-for-profit investment banks funding expenses through outrageous government guarantees in the form of student aid loans.

The "Ivy League Inc"   report summarized their investigations as follows:

1. Ivy League payments and entitlements cost taxpayers $41.59 billion over a six-year period (FY2010-FY2015). This is equivalent to $120,000 in government monies, subsidies, & special tax treatment per undergraduate student, or $6.93 billion per year.


2. The Ivy League was the recipient of $25.73 billion worth of federal payments during this period: contracts ($1.37 billion), grants ($23.9 billion) and direct payments - student assistance ($460 million).


3. In monetary terms, the 'government contracting' business of the Ivy League ($25.27 billion - federal contracts and grants) exceeded their educational mission ($22 billion in student tuition) FY2010-FY2015.


4. The eight colleges of the Ivy League received more money ($4.31 billion) - on average - annually from the federal government than sixteen states: see report.


5. The Ivy League endowment funds (2015) exceeded $119 billion, which is equivalent to nearly $2 million per undergraduate student.


6. As a non-profit, educational institution, the Ivy League pays no tax on investment gains. Between FY2011-FY2015, the Ivy League schools received a $9.6 billion tax break on the $27.3 billion growth of their endowment funds. In FY2014, the tax-free subsidy on endowment gains amounted to $3.4 billion, or nearly $60,000 per student.


7. With continued gifts at present rates, the $119 billion endowment fund provides free tuition to the entire student body in perpetuity. Without new gifts, the endowment is equivalent to a full-ride scholarship for all Ivy League undergraduate students for 51-years, or until 2068.


8. In FY2014, the balance sheet for all Ivy League colleges showed $194,332,115,120 in accumulated gross assets. This is equivalent to $3.35 million per undergraduate student.


9. The Ivy League employs 47 administrators who each earn more than $1 million per year. Two executives each earned $20 million between 2010-2014. Ivy League employees earned $62 billion in compensation.


10. In a five-year period (2010-2014) the Ivy League spent $17.8 million on lobbying, which included issues mostly related to their endowment, federal contracting, immigration and student aid.

What we found particularly amusing  is that Harvard's endowment had cashflow in 2016 of over $5.5B in trading changes in government repos and reverse repos.  Go figure how this is good for parents and their indebted children? What appears good for Harvard and the Government isn't necessarily good for students and parents.

We would truly like to see where all this endowment money is being invested, but of course like the teamster's union pension which under Jimmy Hoffa was invested by the 'mob' into funding Las Vegas, we will never know!  I am not for a moment suggesting anything nefarious is going on here but rather that angry and debt burdened parents have a right to know why tuition is going up despite the size of the endowments - if only for their own piece of mind.

You are probably thinking, well this may all be true for the elitist schools but my kids are going to colleges for normal kids, well down the the status ladder. They are  just trying to get a shot at a job.

What we need to fully appreciate is that the above directly affects everyone trapped in the American post secondary educational scam.


As many parents have learned, when the "Harvard's" raise their annual cost to $63K  every college then adjusts their price to close the available revenue gap in about a New York minute! As salaries rise at Ivy League schools, every college feels forced to raise salaries to attract Professors. Colleges feel competitively trapped and have little choice but to follow.

Of course all of this is nothing more than college's version of the corporate game of how to "Price-to-Market" which we discussed above as our second notion of understanding.

Whether competitive pricing or price-to-market the colleges know they have an insatiable demand for their product and can price accordingly. Its how the capitalist system works. It continues until demand falls off  because pricing becomes un-affordable. This cycle will not stop until the an affordability level is reached and the cost no longer merits the debt level. With shrinking availability of quality, well paying jobs in America, the perceived "value level" is becoming even higher.


Just so you don't think the villains here are solely the Ivy League schools, lets consider a personal example I encountered.

My neighbor's son was a terrible student and his father often forlornly related the fact that unless his under achieving son received  a full basketball scholarship (which was the only thing he had a talent for), college was probably out. The concern wasn't just his son's poor academic achievements, but also the overall financial cost burden to the family with other more academically inclined children.

Image result for college rejection

However, when he graduated high school his father suddenly appeared over my fence to tell me the great news. His son had graduated and had been accepted into college.  As I was digesting the surprise and was about to ask where he had received the basketball scholarship from, his father proceeded to unload the big news.

Though his son had not been awarded a basketball scholarship he had been awarded a $15,000/year academic scholarship.

"From where?" I blurted out uncontrollably.

His father sheepishly named a college I had never heard of and told me the annual tuition was going to be $45,000 but his son's annual funding would now only be $30K after taking off the $15K scholarship.  I knew at the time that $30K was about what a state college would cost. I therefore asked where the money was coming from to pay for the scholarship as the college he named didn't appear to have that sort of financial capabilities to reach down to his son's GPA level?

It turned out after some further investigation that it was partly some government funding to the college for the program his son was enrolling in.  The more seats they filled the greater the money flowed.

However, it was much more insidiously as I curiously investigated the situation further. It turns out it was nothing more than the college elevating their stated college tuition by $15K and then "giving it way as a scholarship". Effectively creating "funny money". It was an illusion.  It was nothing more than a marketing sham. However, it worked in filling student seats, even if some of these students simply weren't meant for college!

My neighbor was so proud of his son being awarded a scholarship that despite distance and other obstacles his son attended that college. Of course it didn't go unnoticed by other colleges that tuition was now $45K at a college not "nearly as good as theirs"  Academic communities are notoriously very competitive and highly status conscious.  They obviously reacted in a New York minute!

This young man will possibly graduate? He and his family will likely have $120,000 in debt.

The questions to be answered is; Will he be employable?  Get a job?  Will he and his parents ever pay off the $120,000 of debt?


Once the game above has begun, it quickly takes on a life of its own. Everyone immediately justifies why more "whatever" is needed and tuitions shoot up. Salaries rise. Benefits rise. New buildings spring up. Labs become more  opulent. Administration becomes larger. Today the games is being further enhanced with additional fees (fees for student activities, fees for athletics, fees for building maintenance, fees for libraries—even fees for graduation, the bills for which often arrive just as students and their families thought they were finally done paying for their higher education).

This chart which Charles Hugh Smith and myself circulated a number of years ago shows, by 2010 we felt it was out of control.  Little then stood in the way of college costs being pushed to student loans and government grants guaranteed by the Department of Education and then serviced by private unscrupulous service providers (some of which are only now being brought to court).

The real questions today is whether the education is any better and whether jobs are available for these now heavily indentured debt slaves!

If the answer is no, then the only winners have been those receiving all the endowment investments, college spending or higher government income taxes being paid.

With student debt now approaching $1.3T and over $600M now in "forebearance", there is little doubt who the losers of this sham are: students, parents and every US taxpayer.

It maybe that Tax Payers just don't know it yet!

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J S Bach's picture

60 years ago, something like 5% of the US population attended college or was considered "college material".  That is, they had a higher IQ or showed a potential for higher learning.  At that time, most people understood that everyone was not molded of the same clay.  In other words, egalitarianism hadn't yet taken its poison root.  And there was a much higher number of people who took on work as apprentices in the skilled trades.  This was not considered "beneath" them as it is our dumbed-down "intellectuals" of today.  And back then, when one graduated from high school, they were indeed capable enough in the 3 Rs to wend their ways through society with assurance.  Today, kids can't parse a sentence, do long division, nor find most countries on a map let alone excel in the higher sciences. 

Let's face it... our ancestors were intrinsically right.  Not everyone is college material and we need to put an end to what Revilo Oliver used to call the "diploma mills" whose only purpose is to herd as many debt-slaves - er, students - through their illustrious halls of ivy as possible.  This would eliminate much of the suffering inflicted upon young people who needn't have this burden upon their shoulders.  (It would also begin the suffocation of communist tenured professors whose only purpose seems to be the corruption of young minds and souls.)

GreatUncle's picture

Well if they are neets (not in education or training) and not working oh dear unemployment starts to take on a whole much bigger number.

Then make the leaving age 12 like my grandad and then you have yet more unemployment.

No work = no life.


Supafly's picture

Amortizing education.  Add it to the list of things that are overpriced because people who lack discipline can suddenly afford them.

Oh regional Indian's picture

No surprise...

Who runs the Banks/Lending Institutions?

Who runs large for profit universities?

Yup! It's the classic tribe squeeze. 

The tribe hates to see anyone prosper....

Stuck on Zero's picture

The Author of this piece should tell students to borrow, go to college, and then get a job as a highly paid college administrator.

RiverRoad's picture

The higher the tuitions, the bigger the student loans....a nice racket.

HalinCA's picture

No work no life? How does that work when robots do all the work?

LetThemEatRand's picture

You're absolutely correct, but the problem is that the economy has shifted away from offering decent jobs to people without a degree.  Back in the day, the dream of the steel town high school student was to escape the steel mill and go to college.  If his dream did not come to fruition, he got a job at the mill and made a good living.  Today, same guy flips burgers without the college degree, probably works at Starbucks with the college degree unless he's in the 5% you mention.

Kidbuck's picture

Yes Bach, all of that plus the fact that any time supply and demand get out of whack you can bet government has fucked it up some how. Mandatory k-12 is also a major fuck up. Most kids need to be learning a trade at 14. Fuck sports and after school activities associated with high schools. Child labor laws cripple these tender shoots. So do unions.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Disagree to a point.  Child labor laws have a valid purpose and were in response to children (literally, children) working in factories for long hours learning no skills other than running a machine in that factory.   The laws should be modified to permit real apprenticeships, but doing away with them altogether (same with unions) would just result in the US becoming China.  Keep in mind that unions grew out of horrible working conditions and virtual enslavement by the same types of people who now run this country, and America had some of its best economic history when unions were strong.  The fact that they became corrupted does not mean the concept is wrong entirely.

PiratePiggy's picture

"Let's face it... our ancestors were intrinsically right.  Not everyone is college materia..."


Come on, everyone can study the history of black music, the blues, rock'n'roll, and even punk. You might be jealous that those subject were not available when you learned music. ;)

Benito_Camela's picture

What makes you think the percentage is higher now, whether your 5% figure is accurate or not? 

meditate_vigorously's picture

It is a fact that IQ's have been steadily rising since the industrial revolution and that process has not stopped. Most people aren't cut out for school because they lack discipline, interest, and focus.

Going to school to get a degree is not a successful strategy. Going to school because you really love chemistry is more successful.

STEM keeps getting ever more complex, so it still comes down to relative IQ in those areas, if you want to succeed professionally.

Umh's picture

It certainly sucks when something is trending for years, you start counting on it and the trend ends.

land_of_the_few's picture

"In the United Kingdom, a study by Flynn (2009) found that tests carried out in 1980 and again in 2008 show that the IQ score of an average 14-year-old dropped by more than two points over the period. For the upper half of the results the performance was even worse. Average IQ scores declined by six points."

"Jon Martin Sundet and colleagues (2004) examined scores on intelligence tests given to Norwegian conscripts between the 1950s and 2002. They found that the increase of scores of general intelligence stopped after the mid-1990s and declined in numerical reasoning sub-tests."

Personally I favor environmental and nutritional explanations. I also have a suspicion that Facebook et al. will cause an IQ decline, which could be reversible by going to a bookshop or getting out of the armchair once in a while....

land_of_the_few's picture

I agree totally about the focus thing.

Also, the complexity or general skill level of math taught has been reducing, to the extent where new entrants to STEM courses often need to take remedial or supplementary math classes just to cope with the basics of their own STEM subject and fill in the missing subject areas that may have been taught in the past..

Also there is much hilarity getting current high school kids to try out 1950s math test papers ... it's not their fault they are not taught so extensively now, and they can see the funny side of it too.

I actually know a Mech Eng starter who is doing just that, he immediately got himself a private math teacher after seeing what was in things like international Baccalaureate and introductory level Uni math!

HalinCA's picture

More concisely, in any group of bipedal primates, at most 2 in 10 need to be able to manage the other 7. The othter one leads all 10.

Hohum, society is sooo much more complex, but the bipedal primates are still ... well .... bipedal primates.

At no time nor place in history, have more than ten percent of the group needed training beyond rudimentary levles.

And now, with AI and robots .... all that is needed is basic housebreaking.

not dead yet's picture

You're right not everyone is college material. The problem is we have been bombarded with the mantra that winners go to college losers don't. Go to college to get that dream job and make over a million more over your career than some guy getting his hands dirty. To fill seats they offer remedial courses for those who have no business in college and then blame high schools for not doing their job. Have you seen any politician or educator promote apprentiships or technical high schools? No. The Nobel Bomb Them to Pieces Prize winner constantly pushed the message that all kids should go to college. It's all about filling seats, building empires, indoctrination, and teaching liberal arts bullshit so dear to their hearts. Gaining power by filling your kids heads full of PC crap. Think your snowflakes and their just as goofy professors were born that way? We have placed too big a premium on intelligence and have allowed the the "smart" idiots who ignore reality to hijack our kids and country. Most if not all states require all education management and leaders to have education degrees. Incest at it's worst. Recently a few colleges have hired non educators to lead them and the profs and their minions went wild claiming one needed an education degree to "understand" education. Education in this country went in the shitter when we allowed the ivory tower living hiding from, or ignoring, reality ideas trump everything "smart" people to run the schools. Try to complain to your school board or whatever and those in charge, and their fellow intellectual traveler parents, would shout you down if not throw you out. Snowflakes, antifa, "fake news", etc are all symptoms of the larger problem of giving carte blanche to people because they were smart rather than question their beliefs or motives.

What's really stupid and clouds the actual problem are the ones who claim education costs are sky high because of government loans. Bullshit. For decades we have been bombarded every day with go to college or be a loser. It also doesn't help that employers want college grads for jobs a high school dropout could easily do so they can brag to their peers about their "educated" office which in reality is educated slugs instead of hard working non indoctrinated high school grads. So the kids sign on the line because they have been programmed too and with all these willing bodies the colleges are free to raise their rates due to the demand created by propaganda. Power, prestige, and fatter pocketbooks thanks to the miracle of propaganda and indoctrination.

Secret Weapon's picture

The cost of education has exploded for the same reason that health care has.  The Federal government has dangled a big fucking pot of money in front of certain businesses and they will grab for as much of it as they can.  The soultion is to have students (and patients) pay at least 20% for the purchased service upfront before they can get it.  If they do not have skin in the game there is not an effetive negative feedback loop to hold down costs and there will not be any push back to price increases. 

hongdo's picture

You have hit on an important point.  Just as Obamacare was designed for failure as a prelude to single payer under gov control, so is the run-up in education cost.  Under Hillery the gov would have been in a position to control college access by both grants to students who could not afford school otherwise and control the universities through grants as their baseline costs have grown beyond their control.  Control of their tax status is another lever.

Controlling access to education and healthcare are powerful tools - especially when selectively applied as is currently done for application of the criminal code.

hotrod's picture

FINALLY   YES lets point the finger at the Universities that are only second to Healthcare in terms of cost inflation.   The colleges laugh all the way to the bank while the kids got a back pack full of debt.  For the most part many of these degrees are worthless but the FEAR of FAILURE  drives all these naive kids to run up the tab.  Most parents are just trying to make ends meet and the avg. $100,000 is damn pricey.  This is the first article that I have seen that questions THE PRICE THE UNIVERSITIES CHARGE. 

azusgm's picture

The Mideastern money that flows into the universities distorts who gets the spots in grad/medical schools. I can't help but think that Saudi and Turkish money bids up the price.

One of the smartest things the Texas legislature ever did was institute the Texas Top Ten program. That policy guaranteed that the top 10% for the graduating classes in Texas high schools would be able to find a place in a state college or university. That does not mean that everyone would get to go to UT Austin, but they wouldn't be passed over for an out-of-state or foreign applicant. Texas should be able to retain an educated workforce instead of training students who will leave the state upon graduation.

Here's an idea for saving money at those fine institutions of higher learning. Get rid of at least half of the administrators.

Savyindallas's picture

Texas Top Ten program resulted in half the student body from minority inner city high schoolw with 900 scores on their SATs getting in (with scholarships, aid, grants and loans) getting in, while white middle class kids with 1250 SATs not being accepted and having to go to private colleges, Texas Tech or other less prominent state schools.

Yeah it really worked out well. I had three bright, fairly high achieving sons, lifelong residents of Texas, who were told to not even apply because they were not in the top 10% of their high acheiving high school. These Kids from more high achieving public schools, or private high schools-were denied entrance because they weren't in the top 10% of their high school-even though they were far more qualified than the vast majority of 10 percenter minorities who were allowed in.   

The 10% rule sucks.

pitz's picture

Scholarships are a giant scam, especially if funded from the university's resources.  They take from middle-class hard working students and give to either the poor or the rich, depending on what the criteria is for the scholarship. 

NoDebt's picture

"YES lets point the finger at the Universities that are only second to Healthcare in terms of cost inflation"

Actually, college educations costs are rising significantly faster than healthcare costs and have been for years.


jughead's picture

ya know, centuries ago kids were often indentured to "masters" at a young age to learn valuable skills , like shipbuilding, architecture, law, medicine etc.  Today we indenture them later and don't teach them jack shit. 

WTFUD's picture

Didn't some cat or other animal win a scholarship to an Ivy recently? Surely one would at least be able to tie one's shoelaces before acceptance into further education.

803Mastiff's picture

50% of college tuition increases since the early 2000's have gone toward funding underfunded college employee pensions.....so I have read

Benito_Camela's picture

I'd have to see some kind of source on that. Do you mean state schools? If not, what relation do the various pension funds have to each other besides the fact that they all lost their asses in 2007/2008 during Too Big to Jail? 

Benito_Camela's picture

Before I bother to read this, maybe someone can tell me why C-level pay has risen, in the literal sense, quasi-exponentially since the 1970s and everyone else's, including the doctors, PhDs, scientists, engineers and "doers" has flatlined or decreased? Something tells me it's part of the same trend as the rising costs of college tuition, discussion of which never seems to cover the business commuinity - like vultures - that invariably surrounds any decently sized university. Bookstores selling $130 textbooks, fast food chains charging airport prices, parking meters galore, pay to park garages, expensive private dorms, etc. And as with our total rip-off medical INDUSTRY, people often feel like they don't have a choice but to purchase (read: finance) all this peripheral shit too. I'm telling you...when the guillotines come out on Wall Street, I'm going to think real hard about bringing one with me to the state schools nearby. 

Solio's picture

All of the nuclear bomb tests in the chemical age has released nasties into our shared space that has not been good for our brains, thus  ability to think. The IQ's have certainly gone down. They may go way down.

Whsat can I offer up as proof? Go read some of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Francis Bascon (1561-1626,) Daniel Defoe (1661-1731,) Charles Lamb (1775-1834,) or Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859.)


Check out their ability to communicate compared to what passes for for writing today.


What do you think changed?

Akzed's picture

What do you think changed?

No one teaches the Trivium. Before one can learn, interpret, and apply facts using logic he is ill equipped to think, and therefore write, cogently.

azusgm's picture

Of course it never helps when the college president plays funny money games with the check book, especially when he makes himself the sole signatory on the many multiple accounts.


As far as I know, this guy has not been arrested or fired.

Akzed's picture

Men like Hobbs and Luther, I could name meny more, were in university at 14. (There was no concept called "adolescence," wholly unknown to humaity until 100+ years ago.) All universities in those days and for centuries thereafter were run by the Church/churches, and none had multi-billion dollar endowments (or the equivalent) let alone billions in yearly govt grants. Turning them into businesses has totally corrupted their mission and curricula. The same could be said about hospitals and health care. Some institutions simply do not function well in for-profit mode. Perhaps they function too well in for-profit mode since, like any business, the goal of profit tends to push out many other concerns: which is fine for the most part for businesses, but has morphed higher education into an unrecognizable caricature of its former identity. Until the money dries up -meaning that harsh economic reality forces their hand- universities will continue on their present road to perdition. My guess would be that in the wake of an economic collapse they would just double down on stupid and eventually go away once they spent their endowments, alumni can't help, and the govt can't send checks any more. A long, bumpy road awaits.


azusgm's picture

I picked up a magazine in a waiting room and started reading a story about adolescence, or at least it was supposed to be about adolescence. The first paragraph started out relating an episode about a 20 year-old. Somehow, I don't think the author uses the same age range as the rest of us.

Akzed's picture
Why Is The FBI Investigating Bernie Sanders’ Wife?

The investigation appears to stem from a January 2016 complaint filed by Vermont Republican Party vice chair Brady Toensing on behalf of Catholic parishioner Wendy Wilton, a conservative activist and Rutland City treasurer. Toensing alleged that O’Meara Sanders committed federal loan fraud by inflating the number of fundraising commitments she had secured to buy the 32-acre North Avenue campus from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. When those donations failed to materialize, the college defaulted on its loans — costing the church, which financed a portion of the sale, between $1.6 million and $2 million.



justanotherprogressive's picture

"If three hungry people were stranded on an island, each having two damp dollar bills and one having the only coconut which he/she found - what is the price of that coconut?"

Hmmm.....if I'm the one that has that coconut, it won't be for sale AT ANY PRICE because I can't eat money......I'll just let you chomp down on your dollar bills....

I might share the coconut with the other two because three people using their skills together have a better chance of surviving than one person alone.....

Odd that people infatuated with money can't figure any of this out.....

When some idiot poses a problem like this and assumes that he can buy the coconut if he has enough money, I stop reading.....

indio007's picture

Good lesson.

It certainly wasn't learned at Fyre Festival!

gimme soma dat's picture

Nothing about how much college administrators are paid?  

Falling Down's picture

I happened to catch part of a financial radio program, yesterday. Guy calls in, says he and his gf $600K in student loan debt, and her advanced degree is in psych.


Benito_Camela's picture

That's insane. No way that money ever gets paid back. 

junction's picture

$20 trillion federal debt: "That's insane. No way that money ever gets paid back." 

apberusdisvet's picture

In the time frame 1970-1975, the death of America was started on steroids:

The Cloward-Piven strategy became the Marxist agenda

Teachers became unionized and were trained in Marxist ideology

Public Schools ceased teaching civics and true American history

Nixon abolished the gold standard

Incremental genocide was started with mandatory vaccines, fluoridation of water.

The CIA came under complete control by the banksters

Grandad Grumps's picture

Before Mohammar Gadafhi was murdered by US mercenaries, he was able to provide free education, including college, and basic income for all of his people. The banking empire could not have that so they had the US wreck his country, murder Gadafhi and started up a central bank in Bengazhi (not in that order ... the started the bank before they murdered Gadafhi). Now the place is a shothole in Chaos. Thank you banks and US government for bringing freedom to the world.

Benito_Camela's picture

Don't forget about Iraq. Syria is next. 

Where's that d-bag who hangs around here saying "there cannot be peace in Syria as long as Assad stays in power" while conveniently forgetting the absolute hellscapes that we turned Iraq and Libya into. Real peaceful. 

moorewasthebestbond's picture



In 1970 10% of American adults had a 4 year or higher degree and education wasn't completely fucked yet.


Today it's 32% and people are dumbfucks.

pitz's picture

Most of our degree-holders aren't even allowed to use their education.  Particulary in STEM. 

Zero-Hegemon's picture

Kill government funded loan programs. Watch the price of kollege become competitive in a New York minute.

Benito_Camela's picture

This is actually a really good article, and the thing is that the schools with the largest endowments are the ones raising tuition the most. This includes all Tier 1 public universities too, and believe me - I know professors of engineering and in liberal and fine arts - and the latter two don't make squat, but then again I ain't anywhere near Harvard.  Even more galling, my engineering/materials science prof acquaintances - most of them don't clear $85K/yr. in cities like Austin, San Diego and St. Louis and almost nobody gets tenure anymore, so it's NOT the professors salaries driving prices up. 

pitz's picture

There's a lot of dead wood at the universities.  The one I attended, the cafeteria workers had negotiated with their union $25/hour for merely making submarine sandwiches!  And they negotiated a deal with the university that prohibited the university from bringing in off-campus food service companies.  Lots of small businesspeople would have gladly set up shop on campus and provided reasonably priced meals to the students, but alas, administration had agreed to an exclusivity agreement with some thuggery of a union. 

It was so bad towards my end of time there that sales of Pepsi were literally prohibited on campus and we had to have covert sales of Pepsi simply to thumb our noses at administration which negotiated some sort of deal with Coke to charge exhorbitant prices, in exchange for a commission.