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“Columbia and other wealthy universities steer master’s students to federal loans that can exceed $250,000. After graduation, many learn the debt is well beyond their means,” notes the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reports on Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts Film program, one of the worst examples, in an article titled “Financially Hobbled for Life: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off”:
Recent film program graduates of Columbia University who took out federal student loans had a median debt of $181,000.
Yet two years after earning their master’s degrees, half of the borrowers were making less than $30,000 a year.
The Columbia program offers the most extreme example of how elite universities in recent years have awarded thousands of master’s degrees that don’t provide graduates enough early career earnings to begin paying down their federal student loans….Recent Columbia film alumni had the highest debt compared with earnings among graduates of any major university master’s program in the U.S.
Columbia is one of America’s most progressive universities, and one of the richest: “Its $11.3 billion endowment ranks it the nation’s eighth wealthiest private school.”
It is now graduate students, not undergraduates, “who are accruing the most onerous debt loads.” That’s because “the federal Grad Plus loan program has no fixed limit on how much grad students can borrow.” Its “no-limit loans make master’s degrees a gold mine for universities, which have expanded graduate-school offerings since Congress created Grad Plus in 2005.” As a result,
Highly selective universities have benefited from free-flowing federal loan money, and with demand for spots far exceeding supply, the schools have been able to raise tuition largely unchecked…Universities, which receive their tuition up front, have an economic incentive to expand graduate degree programs and face no consequences if students can’t afford to pay the federal loans after they leave.
As James Stoteraux notes, “There were 55 students in my incoming class at Columbia’s MFA Film program. Only 4 of us ever managed to make a career out of it. And of those 4, one guy dropped out the first semester. Funny enough he’s the most successful one having co-directed Avengers Endgame.”
But as Ian Lamont of Lean Media observes, “a graduate financing program enabled by Congress ~15 years ago basically lets Columbia charge whatever it wants and get paid up front. Students are on the hook for hundreds of thousands; if they can’t pay it off taxpayers are on the hook.”
Even students who can find jobs after graduating often dump much of their massive student-loan debt on taxpayers. Once out of school, the students enroll in an income-based repayment program, in which the federal government forgives all loans after 10 or 20 years. This “Pay as You Earn” program allows eligible student-loan borrowers to cap monthly payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income, and have their remaining federal student loans forgiven after 20 years — or just 10 years, if they go to work for the government.
Stoteraux describes how little he got for his tens of thousands of dollars in annual tuition at Columbia: “During my 2nd year I suspected that the school wasn’t providing a launching pad to a career — most of the instructors were struggling to establish a career themselves & many weren’t even much more experienced than their students. A 4th yr student taught our cinematography class.”
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After getting their MFAs, his classmates, unable to find jobs as filmmakers, sometimes ended up “teaching… in MFA programs.” So the MFA programs became a never-ending cycle of failure, in which people who already have the useless MFA degree help transmit it to others who spend a fortune on the degree.
Columbia film students received little for their massive tuition. As Stoteraux explains,
The brass ring the program dangled was that your film could be chosen for the annual festival where, in theory, big-time agents would see it and maybe sign you. But it was cutthroat to even be selected for the festival. And tuition didn’t cover the cost to make those films. You were on your own to pay for them…Students were going into debt to the tune of 100K to make films with the hope that they might maybe have a chance to be seen by a CAA agent.
Not having the money to make a film, I switched to writing. I teamed up with a friend to write a screenplay that we hoped could be our calling card….Within a year, that script sold — not because of anything my fancy school did, but because randomly I met a producer’s assistant who offered to read it, liked it, & championed to his boss.
I was officially a working writer, but I was still 2 credits shy of getting my degree. I asked if there was possibly a way I could finish my degree while in LA starting my career. But Columbia was offended by the request and refused. So I dropped out within 2 credits of MFA.
After Stoteraux became successful, the MFA program wanted him to speak to its students. In exchange, he wanted Columbia to allow him to finish his degree. But the Chair of the MFA program would only do so if he provided a special favor to the Chair himself: “the Chair began pitching me his idea for a TV pilot. In excruciating scene-by-scene detail…He made it pretty clear if I wanted my degree, I needed to help him sell his tv pilot. Yep, the Chair of Columbia’s prestigious graduate film program tried to shake me down in order to jump-start his own stalled out career…I still don’t have my MFA. That Chair is no longer the Chair, but still teaching there. And to my knowledge, they never sold their pilot.”
This Liberty Unyielding article was republished with permission.
Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
American Patriots Uniting to Fight Tyranny from, Well, Everywhere
We’re building a new conservative news network. Based on responses from fellow patriots, we’re heading in the right direction.
It may be hard to believe based on what we’re seeing around the nation today, but there are many reasons to be hopeful. First and foremost, the false narrative that most of America hates traditional values or the foundations of our nation are finally being proven false. Despite the best efforts of globalists and Neo-Marxists, patriotic Americans are starting to unify in droves. Meanwhile, Joe Biden can barely muster a half-filled auditorium to deliver his message to the scant few watching CNN and the paid shills in the “crowd.”
The “silent majority” that drove Donald Trump to victory in 2016 and 2020 (yes, he won by a landslide but was robbed along with the American people) is finally starting to realize we cannot stay silent any longer. We used to win with our votes, but those are being stolen. We used to win with truth, but the radical left and their agents in mainstream media, Big Tech, and academia are building a post-truth society to drown out reality. Today, we are waking up to the realization that only through direct action and fearlessly spreading the truth can we overcome the nefarious forces working against us.
We are proud to be working our way up to the tip of the conservative media spear. Our network is growing. We’re establishing strong partnerships with like-minded news outlets and courageous journalists. Even as Big Tech suppresses us, the honest messages they’re trying to quash are finding their way to the eyes and ears of patriots across the nation. With the help of new content partners like The Epoch Times and The Liberty Daily, we’re starting to see a real impact.
We don’t allow Google ads here. We won’t post foot fungus treatments or soft-porn ads like other conservative news outlets. We WILL support MyPillow because they love America. You can support them and me by using promo code “JDR” at checkout.
Our network is currently comprised of nine sites:
- NOQ Report
- Conservative Playlist
- Truth. Based. Media.
- Freedom First Network
- Based Underground
- Uncanceled News
- American Conservative Movement
- Conservative Playbook
- Our Gold Guy
Some of our content is spread across all of these sites. Other pieces of content are unique. We write most of what we post but we also draw from those willing to allow us to share their quality articles, videos, and podcasts. We collect the best content from fellow conservative sites that give us permission to republish them. We’re not ego-driven; I’d much rather post a properly attributed story written by experts like Dr. Joseph Mercola or Natural News than rewrite it like so many outlets like to do. We’re not here to take credit. We’re here to spread the truth.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $2200-$7800 per month. May, 2021, for example, was amazing and we almost broke even. June, revenue was sluggish at best and we had to make up a big difference out of our pockets. But we’re not just trying to get out of the red. If and when we start getting enough contributions to expand, we will do just that. Very few get into journalism to try to get rich and we’re definitely not among those who do. Our success is driven by spreading the truth, profitable or not.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring proper news and opinions to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal or Bitcoin as well. Bitcoin: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
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Thank you and God Bless,
Yes, We Need Your Help
I hate being “that guy” who asks people to donate because I think our conservative news network is so crucial, but here I am…
When I left my cushy corporate job in 2017, I did so knowing that my family would have to make sacrifices. But I couldn’t continue to watch the nation slip into oblivion and was inspired by President Trump’s willingness to fight the good fight even at his own personal expense. What I didn’t realize then is that conservative media would be so heavily attacked, canceled, and defunded that the sacrifices would be extreme.
Many in this nation are struggling right now even though we weren’t struggling just a few years ago. I’m not alone. But I wake up every morning and operate the sites we’ve been able to build because there’s really no other choice. I refuse to be beholden to Big Tech like so many other conservative news outlets, which is why you won’t see Google ads here. With that said, it’s often challenging to pay the bills and it’s even harder to expand so we can get the America First message out to a wider audience.
The economic downturn has forced me to make a plea for help. Between cancel culture, lockdowns, and diminishing ad revenue, we need financial assistance in order to continue to spread the truth. We ask all who have the means, please donate through our new GiveSendGo. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to expand our reach so the truth can get to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
We currently operate:
- NOQ Report
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- Truth Based Media
- Five other conservative news sites
I would even be willing to entertain investments and partnerships at this stage. I’ve turned them down in the past because editorial purity is extremely important. I’ll turn them down again if anyone wants us to start supporting RINOs or avoid “taboo” topics like voter fraud, vaccines, or transgender supremacy. But I’d talk to fellow America First patriots who want to help any (or all) of our 10 news sites. Hit me up at jdrucker (at) substack (dot) com if you’re interested.
For those who have the means and just want to help keep the mission of spreading a conservative, Christian message to the nation, please consider a generous donation.