The cartoon's message was clear. If Post Office employees went on strike and refused to deliver the mail, no one would notice.
I think ITT Technical Institute's former students will get a similar ho-hum reaction to their announcement that they are on strike and refusing to make their student-loan payments. Who will notice?
After all, almost 50 percent of students who took out student loans to attend a for-profit college default on those loans within five years of beginning repayment. Some former for-profit students are making loan payments under income-contingent repayment plans, but most of these borrowers are making payments so small that they aren't even paying off their loans' accruing interest.
So a student-loan strike, like a postal worker strike, is basically a non-event.
That is not to say that ITT Tech's former students don't have real grievances. ITT has more than 40,000 students on 130 campuses. When it closes tomorrow, all of ITT's students will be left in the lurch. Who can blame them for refusing to make payments on their student loans?
Students who are enrolled at ITT at the time it closes are eligible for a "closed school" discharge of their federal student loans. According to Inside Higher Ed, about a thousand ITT students have applied for a "closed school" discharge. But why should they be forced into an administrative process to get their loans forgiven? Why doesn't the Department of Education simply forgive the loans of everyone who was enrolled at ITT at the time of its closure or who withdrew from their ITT studies within the last six months?
And, as I've said before, why doesn't DOE admit that a high percentage of the people who enrolled at ITT over the years did not get good value for their tuition dollars and forgive the student loans of all ITT's former students?
That would be a fair thing to do but damned expensive. That's why most of ITT's former students will be on the hook for their student-loan obligations even if their ITT studies were a complete waste of their time.
Ashley Smith. ITT Tech Students Launch Debt Strike. Inside Higher Ed, September 15, 2016. Accessible at https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2016/09/15/itt-tech-students-launch-debt-strike?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=c72eec25d2-DNU20160915&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-c72eec25d2-198565653&mc_cid=c72eec25d2&mc_eid=1b70c08403
Ashley Smith. The End for ITT Tech. Insider Higher Ed. September 7, 2016. Accessible at https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/07/itt-tech-shuts-down-all-campuses