I think I’ve written before about how profoundly stupid this is. But I may have neglected to mention that it is also perverse.
And I was shocked to see a Brookings Institute “report” seemingly endorsing it.
“It” is Income-Sharing Agreements (aka “indentured servitude”), currently being promoted by former Indiana Governor and current Purdue President Mitch Daniels as a private-sector remedy for the growing burden of student loan debt.
Income Share Agreements are an innovative tool that will, as I have argued elsewhere, allow students to finance college by selling “shares” in their future earnings. Graduates pay back in proportion to the pecuniary value they get from their degree. If the degree proves worthless, the students will pay little or nothing. If the degree is immensely valuable, then the students will pay back a lot. Either way, the payments are, by construction, affordable.
This is a great idea, if your definition of “education” is job training.
How many “investors” are going to finance that philosophy major’s education? How about the student pursuing a degree in English literature? Or romance languages? or basic scientific research that doesn’t promise a quick payoff, as opposed to training in technologies that generate prompt turnarounds to satisfy consumerism?
Even for students in more “promising” fields, the plan doesn’t eliminate debt; it simply changes the identity of the creditor and the schedule of repayment.
Ultimately, this is one more step on the road to devaluing scholarly inquiry–one more bit of evidence (as if the current crop of Republican Presidential candidates wasn’t evidence enough) of the triumph of American anti-intellectualism.
If it can’t be monetized, it evidently isn’t worth knowing.