Overall the "you must go to college" marketing is absolutely brutal to the point that it should be considered child abuse.
Excuse me, but at 18 you're a legal adult.
Now if you wish to argue fraud (and there was plenty) then fine -- let each of them who claims they were unwitting victims (of which I'm sure there are many) make THAT argument. Fraud vitiates ALL contracts, so if they can show it they can shove it back up the University's asshole. But, this is, I'm reasonably sure, a minority.
@Packetcap, @Tickerguy -- The fraud angle is an interesting track.
Growing up, it was common to hear the older generation talking about how essential going to college was, usually with advice of the form of "get a degree, any degree
". (This is also where the meme of "burger-flipping" comes from, where the Boomer says: "You need to get a degree or else you'll end up flipping burgers.
") -- And when I entered community-college and then the university, I had already resolved that I would not go into debt, at all, for my degree... but it was surprising (and off-putting) how strongly loans were pushed --and I went to a state university; I've heard it's a LOT
worse in private universities-- to the point that I have no doubt that, if they could, they would make student-loans automatic on admission with some hidden "opt-out" check-box hidden in the application.
So, let's examine the elements of fraud, to see if there's any merit to considering this.https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/construc....
Elements of Fraud wrote..
Under contract law, a defendant can be liable to a plaintiff for constructive fraud if there was: (1) a false misrepresentation; (2) in reference to a material fact; (3) for the purpose of inducing the other party to rely on such representation; (4) on which the other party did justifiably rely; (5) which resulted in damages or injury; and (6) a fiduciary relationship between the parties.
Clearly, the usually-implied-but-sometimes-explicit construction of "degree = job
" is a false misrepresentation: not only are there trades, but the refrain of "take any job, even if it's flipping burgers!
" when confronted with the difficulties of finding employment clearly illustrates its falsity; this also does not take into consideration the active undermining of the "good jobs" that getting a degree was supposed to secure: just look at H1B and tech-jobs. -- This clearly satisfies #1 & #2.
#3 is shown in the sheer pervasiveness of pushing "get a degree, at any cost
" & "get any degree
" -- the intent of inducing the obtaining of a degree is, again, obvious.
#4 is shown by the pervasiveness of the student debt problem: obviously if they had not relied upon the advice of their elders (parents, teachers, aunts/uncles, family-friends, etc) this would not be the case... or certainly not to the extent it is. -- This is to say that certainly a majority of society has been pushing for degrees, whether it be in obtaining career-advice or in job-application requirements, there can be no denying that there has been great pressure to obtain a degree. -- and because of #4, we see how this has undercut many people's ability to thrive, which is why many millennials (albeit a minority of society) are advising their youngers to stay away from student debt, proving #5: this has harmed a large quantity of people.
#6 is the most difficult to prove. If we were to allow the argument of the social contract, then we have a generation of people who were promised that if they obtained a degree they would obtain good and gainful employment; while the employer-employee relationship certainly is
fiduciary in nature, one could argue that the promise of employment is not and, furthermore, that the advice and instruction of society did not rise to "promise" or "contract" (even verbal)... so that is all arguable. -- HOWEVER
, what is not arguable is that there was a literal fiduciary relationship between the university and the student, and between the lender and the student also. As I showed above, given the PR/marketing and pushing of student-loans by and on campuses, it is also
arguable that there is a fiduciary relationship between the lenders and the universities (certainly if you consider the student as their medium of exchange).
So, in that light perhaps voiding student debt is not unjust; however, I would want something in-place to keep it from happening again: perhaps something to the effect that all student loans must be co-signed by the university, putting them on-the-hook for repayment.
And while it might superficially appear be just having the university guarantee employment, such a law would violate the right of association of the employers, arguably making slaves of them. -- Perhaps a better thing to do would be to allow employers to record degrees of those they hire and, upon dismissing employees from a certain university above a certain ratio, to sue the university for issuing degrees