April 18, 2012

Virginia Foxx Defends Student Debt While Predatory Colleges Who Create Debt Fund Her Campaign

Rep. Virginia Foxx

Last week, ThinkProgress’s Scott Keyes found an amazing interview with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) where she totally dismissed the concerns of students who have large amounts of debt as a result of getting an education. “I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that,” she told a radio host. She also complained that students want success “dumped in their lap.”  Listen to it:

Many commentators have prescribed Foxx’s harsh words as evidence of her being motivated by callous ideology. While it is possible that this is one of her motivations, there’s one other very big factor at play here.

Foxx is one of Congress’s most outspoken proponents of for-profit colleges — an industry rife with scam schools that charge students exorbitant tuition and fees. This veritable subprime school industry gets the majority of its funding through federal loans and grants that students use to afford school.  “About 87 percent of the revenue at the biggest for-profits comes from federal taxpayers, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. They belong to a class of company that I call Subsidy Sucklers,” writes the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney. Records show that executives at the top 15 of these for-profit schools “also received $2 billion during the last seven years from the proceeds of selling company stock,” with Strayer’s chairman earning “$41.9 million last year. That’s 26 times the compensation of the highest-paid president of a traditional university.”

Because the outcomes at these schools are so poor — the students who attend them account for 44 percent of the nation’s loan defaults despite being only 11 percent of the country’s student population — federal regulators have repeatedly tried to pass new regulations that say that schools where huge portions of graduates can’t find work and are buried in debt shouldn’t be getting federal dollars. But Congress keeps voting against these regulations.

Among the top 20 financial contributors to Foxx in the 2011-2012 cycle are the Association of Private Sector Colleges/Universities, the Apollo Group (owner of the University of Phoenix), and Corinthian Colleges,” reports Salon’s Andrew Leonard. “Since federal student loans comprise the vast majority of the revenues of those for-profit schools, it follows that their campaign contributions to Foxx are also made possible by U.S. taxpayers.”

So to recap, Foxx is blaming students for their student debt. She then is defending federal loans to for-profit colleges that create this debt with their poor quality education and high tuition. Finally, these companies then turn around and use this federal money to give her campaign contributions.

It’s a perfect racket for Foxx, and it’s one that’s only possible because of the corrupting influence of money in politics.

  • Guest

    Sadly, I believe she’s a representative from my state of North Carolina (not Virginia).

    • Vote her out of there.

  • Williams_judith

    When I went to UMass in 1967 tuition was $1500 a semester. So that’s probably about what she paid for her education. I wonder how she would do these days with most tuitions more than the median income.

  • Amy Laitinen

    My colleague did some digging to find out just how much Foxx paid in tuition. Turns out, Foxx paid $87.50 in tuition in 1961. This is the CHAIR of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training? She’s leading the country on higher education policy?! Out of touch doesn’t even begin to cover it. Oy…

  • Lars

    She went to school in the 60’s when tuition was in different universe than it is now and was for the most part subsidized by most states. California is a good example from the 60’s where most people had access to education through either state junior colleges or universities. Everyone had a shot at an excellent education that didn’t bankrupt them and allowed them to enter the workforce unencumbered by enormous debt. Her statements are so out of touch with the current cost of education and the difficulty to repay the often enormous debt accrued to acquire that education…not to mention the difficulty getting work after getting a degree from a for-profit school. If you live in N.C. and are going to school…vote her out as she doesn’t represent your interests as a college student, being for profit or not. Besides, it’s obvious she is in the pockets of the non-profits.

  • whateverittakes2

    Oh, wow! Who is the idiot? a Congressional representative? Someone needs to bring her up to date. And then we need to ask what the minimal qualifications, mental, spiritual, ethical, intellectual, should be in order to run for elected office…

  • CatKinNY

    Here’s another possibility to explain Congresswoman Fuxx’s cluelessness: she’s old, stupid and uninformed. Keeping abreast of things requires a lot of independant reading, and I seriously doubt that granny does it. Her staff feed her what they want her to think, based on the interests of campaign contributers; it’s not actually her fault that she’s the Emily Litella of congress, it’s the fault of her dumbass constituents who keep sending her back, year after year. It’s John Boehner’s fault that this senile specimen is the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training. Drop him an email and let him know what you think of his ‘leadership’; let him know that there’s a whole country full of people who share Eric Cantor’s disdain for his ‘skills’.

  • One can’t reveal the whole corruption behind the student loan debt crisis without considering the influence of the financial industry, namely, Student Loan Asset Backed Securities, or SLABS. More here: http://bit.ly/zVsIBF

  • The University of North Carolina catalogue for 1962 estimates the cost of tuition, books, fees, and supplies for a male student at $355.00 and the cost of subsistence – dorm room, laundry deposit, and meals at $2.00 a day – at $661.50. I could find no estimate for a female student. The total of $1016.50 would be $7721.09 in 2012 dollars, far less than than the $19,764 charged to in-state students and the $38,922 levied on out-of-state students in 2010-2011. In other words Foxx paid approximately 40% of what a Chapel Hill student would pay today – not a breeze, but certainly a bargain. Foxx was born poor, but poverty taught her nothing about compassion and solidarity. She is one of those repellent ex-poor who make a career of sneering at victims of misfortune.

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  • I have been writing about the student loan debt for several years now when I started the the student loan debt was $850 Billion That’s with a “B” it’s now estimated at $1.3 Trillion that’s with a”T” Can anyone really comprehend what a $Trillion truly means and the real problem it’s growing faster today than ever before.Congressional Political Cronyism has caused this mess. Congress no longer is concerned with the amount of debt they are saddling our children with …they have a bigger interest in making sure that the lenders that are for the most part the debt collector as well..why is this important because Congress has taken away student loan consumer protection rights.Congress is telling us our children are going to commit fraud if they don’t impose the harshest penalties,late fees ever imposed on an American Citizen!
    I ask you to read and watch “Why are only our children held accountable”
    http://projecttuitionreimbursement.com When you are finished call your Congressman and have then justify their actions at the very least student loan consumer protection rights should be reinstated immediately.All sides should be held accountable yes first the student but more importantly the lenders the student loan debt collectors the schools for raising cost of tuition and fees and fees and more fees!
    ” A baby comes into this world with only hope……the only gold we will leave this earth with is our ….word”
    Anthony Eller
    Now ask our President and Congress when was the last time they kept their word? Ask them to justify…I promise you they can’t

    There are solution to $1.3 trillion student loan debt, but first our children have to become more important than the huge ungodly profits being made of their backs with their futures being taken away!