Killer Student Loan Debt

It’s no surprise that student loan debt is entering the political arena. Student loans outstanding exceed total credit-card debt, and will exceed $1 trillion for the first time this year. And that total is growing at a rate of $100 billion a year.

The current amount of borrowing and student debt has prompted a national conversation over whether these burdened students brought their misfortunes among themselves through poor decision-making or whether they are victims of a system that has failed to deliver on the promise of higher education as a surefire means to a stable, decently paying job. Others still are questioning the notion that obtaining a college degree is even worth the cost at all.

Tuition is rising – fast.


College tuition across the country has been steadily climbing in the past few years. The average cost of tuition and fees for colleges across the country has grown by more than 400 percent between 1985 and 2005, with costs doubling over the last decade. The rise in tuition has greatly outpaced the rate of inflation as well as medical, energy and housing costs, according to a study by Moody’s Analytics (pdf). In one of the starker examples of tuition hikes over the years, author Michael Lewis notes in his new book, “Boomerang,” that “in 1980 a [University of California] student paid $776 a year in tuition; in 2011 he pays $13,218.”

Exactly why tuition has been increasing at such great speed depends on a variety of factors. Four-year universities generally receive income from a number of sources: state and federal appropriations, alumni giving, endowments and, of course, student tuition. As the recession caused state budgets and university endowments to shrink (university endowments on average reached their lowest point since the Depression in 2010, reports BusinessWeek), colleges have had to make up the cost elsewhere. Moreover, high-profile schools often face pressures to attract and retain top talent by expanding their campuses, building state-of-the-art facilities and increasing services, leaving students to help foot the bill where endowments and other funding fall short. In the high-demand world of education, there are no market forces that compel colleges to push down costs.

Colleges also use student tuition to fund financial aid for financially disadvantaged students, which theoretically creates a bit of a vicious cycle: If schools with funding shortages want to attract bright students with financial need, they need to raise tuition higher yet to cover the cost of providing for these students. Recently, however, reports are revealing that many universities are now putting a stronger emphasis on admitting students who can pay for themselves.

While most consumer borrowing has slowed, student loan borrowing continues to grow.

Shrinking funds and limited grants are prompting students nationwide to borrow more and more to get through their education. The aggregate amount of all student loan debt in the country is likely to clear $1 trillion in the coming months. Student loan balances are highest in California and the Northeast, but are rapidly rising in regions like the Southwest. Moody’s Analytics’ July 2011 report found that while aggregate consumer lending balances have gone into decline since 2009, student loan balances continue to grow at a steady rate of more than 10 percent per year. The report also estimates that the pool of borrowers will likely continue to grow at a rate of 2 percent per year.

The economics behind a push for borrowing and obtaining higher education are fairly simple: In tough economic times, the conventional wisdom for those facing unemployment or underemployment is to go back to school, wait until the wave passes, and hopefully graduate with extra skills and credentials that give them an edge in finding employment as recovery begins to pick up. But if long-term economic prospects are dim, as they are proving to be in the current economic downturn, graduates emerge from school with a heavy debt load and few means of paying it off.

So exactly how many students get saddled with debt after graduation, and by how much? Studies from the Project on Student Debt show that 67 percent of students graduating from four-year colleges in 2008 had student loan debt, a 27 percent increase from four years prior. The graduating class of 2011 alone had the highest estimated average student debt at $22,900, according to Mark Kantrowitz of and – an 8 percent growth from last year and an inflation-adjusted 47 percent increase from just ten years ago.

Not surprisingly, the combination of high student debt and low job prospects has resulted in a spike in federal student loan defaults, with the default rate reaching 8.8 percent in 2010 – the highest rate in more than a decade.

With soaring tuition, borrowing and default, fear of a bubble in higher education spending has proven to be “one of the year’s most fashionable ideas.” The idea that an education bubble could burst in the same manner as the housing market did made headlines earlier this year when businessman Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, established the Thiel Fellowship to offer a select group of young adults $100,000 each not to go to college and start companies instead. In an interview with the National Review, Thiel said:

[The education bubble] is, to my mind, in some ways worse than the housing bubble. There are a few things that make it worse. One is that when people make a mistake in taking on an education loan, they’re legally much more difficult to get out of than housing loans. With housing, typically they’re non-recourse — you can just walk out of the house. With education, they’re recourse, and they typically survive bankruptcy. If you borrowed money and went to a college where the education didn’t create any value, that is potentially a really big mistake …

In response to Thiel’s ideas, Slate’s Annie Lowrey scoffed at the idea that current trends in educational borrowing are similar to the subprime mortgage crisis:

It could be that Thiel is right, that college students, en masse, are overpaying for their educations. But it seems more likely that some college students attending certain types of schools are overpaying. If you want to be an aerospace engineer and have the chops to get into Caltech, the quality of the education, contacts, and fellow students on offer might really be worth $200,000 to you. A diploma from the school practically guarantees a good salary.

That is not true for many other institutions—particularly not for online, for-profit schools, the worst of which egregiously overcharge for worthless degrees … But that marketplace is rapidly changing. The federal government is cracking down. Share prices for such companies have plummeted. Students have gotten savvier. Low-cost, high-quality competitors have entered the market. It might take some time. But tuition should drop too.

But what of the loan bubble, the outstanding pool of nearly $1 trillion in debt students have racked up paying those spiraling tuitions? It is worrisome, but mostly for the individuals on the hook for ballooning payments, not for the whole financial system, as with mortgage-backed debt.

While the debate rages on over whether an educational bubble is really on the brink of bursting, it may be much clearer to see how trends in debt and educational payoff are causing major shifts in the idea of education in American culture. Far from yesterday’s assumption that all education is valuable education, and that paying a premium for a degree from a prestigious university is a safe investment for a secure, well-paying job, today’s resounding advice is much different: choose your field of study carefully, consider affordable options above prestige and don’t make the assumption that a degree from a high-profile institution will grant significant employment advantages.

The “Muppets” New Full Length Movie

Disney has openned  the first big-screen Muppets movie in more than a decade.

“A feature film can be a very powerful way to relaunch a brand,” says Toper Taylor, president of Cookie Jar Entertainment. But in relaunching brands, Taylor says, it’s crucial to make sure you “don’t disenchant their core audience.”

The old Muppets guard — writers and performers involved in creating the franchise — is eager for the neglected troupe to shine again. But though they have not yet seen the movie, some wonder whether screenwriter and star Jason Segel, an obsessed Muppets fan, has a true grasp of the characters they helped create.
Go to this link for the trailer of the film:

Teachers Who Bully

The problem of teachers bullying students is more common than you think. Learn how to prevent your child from becoming a victim.

In recent years, a slew of books have offered parents ample insight into the minds of young bullies.

But what if it’s the teacher who screams, threatens, or uses biting sarcasm to humiliate a child in front of the class?

Sibling rivalry can strike at any age. My daughter, for instance, was one and a half when her little brother was born. Not long after, she suggested we throw the crying, nursing bundle away. “Baby twash,” her little toddler self said, finger pointed toward the garbage bins. Very normal, says parenting guru Adele Faber, the author with Elaine Mazlish of the classic Siblings Without Rivalry and How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. Helping children name and accept their…

Teacher bullying gets little attention, say Stuart Twemlow, MD, a psychiatrist who directs the Peaceful Schools and Communities Project at the Menninger Clinic in Houston. But his new study, published in The International Journal of Social Psychiatry, hints that the problem may be more common than people believe.

In his anonymous survey of 116 teachers at seven elementary schools, more than 70% said they believed that bullying was isolated. But 45% admitted to having bullied a student. “I was surprised at how many teachers were willing to be honest,” Twemlow says.

He defines teacher bullying as “using power to punish, manipulate, or disparage a student beyond what would be a reasonable disciplinary procedure.”

Twemlow, a former high school teacher, insists that he’s not trying to denigrate a praiseworthy — and often beleaguered — profession. “This is not being done to victimize or criticize teachers. There are a few bad apples, but the vast majority of teachers go beyond the call of duty. They’re very committed and altruistic.”

Nevertheless, bullying is a risk, he says. When Twemlow quizzed subjects about bullying, “Some teachers reported being angry at being asked the question,” he writes. “But more reflective teachers realized that bullying is a hazard of teaching.”

Problem Teacher
Robert Freeman, an elementary school principal in Fallon, Nev., agrees. He recalls one teacher who was a notorious bully. When he came onboard, “Other teachers inundated me with complaints about her,” he says. “One year, I got 16 requests from parents asking me not to put their child in her class.”

Freeman investigated and found a cruel streak. When elementary students asked for explanations during lessons, she sometimes retorted, “What’s the matter? Didn’t your parents give you the right genes?”

Triton College Foundation is Honoring Key Supporters at the President’s Reception on November 2

The Triton College Foundation will honor Geoffrey Obrzut, president and CEO of the Illinois Community College Board; Thomas Olson, executive director of marketing of Triton College; and Dr. Kathryn Robbins, superintendent of Leyden High School District 212, at the 19th Annual President’s Reception set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the Student Center (B) Building on the west side of Triton’s main campus, 2000 Fifth Ave., River Grove.

Mr. Geoffrey Obrzut, a West Leyden High School and 1972 Triton College graduate, who received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois—Springfield, held administrative roles with the Department of Human Services and the United Cerebral Palsy of Will County, before being elected to the Illinois General Assembly as a state representative for the 52nd District. He also served as an aide to Illinois Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan, as well as Illinois Gov. Dan Walker. Today, Obrzut is in a rewarding career as president and CEO of the Illinois Community College Board, holding his position since 2004.

Obrzut has won numerous awards, exemplifying his commitment to contributing to student success. Awards include the Meritorious Service Award from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) in 2007, the Outstanding Service Award from the Illinois Student Association in 1992 and the ICCTA’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1986.

He also has served on the Triton College Board of Trustees, the ICCTA and chaired the National Council of State Directors of Community College in 2009 and 2010.

Mr. Thomas Olson holds the position of executive director of marketing at Triton College, where he has been employed since 1983, previously serving as a graphic designer and director of creative services.

In 1998, Olson was recognized as Communicator of the Year by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, a highly-recognized national collegiate organization, for his graphic design and marketing skills and is a member of Triton College President Dr. Patricia Granados’ 2009 President’s Leadership Academy. In November 2010, he received the president’s Excellence in Service Award – an award given to individuals who repeatedly go above and beyond the call of duty for Triton College.

A lifelong Melrose Park native, Olson is a 1974 graduate of Proviso East (Maywood), a 1977 graduate of Triton College and parishioner of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. He is an active supporter of many youth and civic organizations throughout the area. In 2003, he was elected Veterans Park District commissioner and was re-elected in 2009. In 2007, Olson was honored as the 114th Annual Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Man of the Year and in 2009 as the 48th Annual Melrose Park Flowers of Italy Club Man of the Year. At each event, he set up and pledged student scholarships via the Triton Foundation to support the mission of each organization and benefit the students of Triton College.

Dr. Kathryn J. Robbins has an accomplished career in education, beginning as a high school teacher at Manteno and Proviso East High Schools years. As superintendent of Leyden High School District 212, a position she’s held since 1999, Dr. Robbins is responsible for all school district operations for 3,500 students and 550 staff members. During her tenure, she has worked with the Board of Education, her administrative team and staff to establish professional learning communities and to restructure the school day, currently leading the effort to bring 21st Century learning and technology skills to all Leyden students.

Dr. Robbins has served in a variety of capacities on boards and with professional organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Illinois High School District Organization, the West Cook Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Superintendents Round Table of Northern Illinois and the Leyden Area Superintendents Organization. She was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Association of School Administrators in 2005 and will serve as president of the state organization next year. She received her Bachelor of Science in business education from Northern Illinois University, her Master of Science in education from National Louis University and a doctorate in educational administration from Loyola University.

Tickets for the President’s Reception are $60 and include food, refreshments and entertainment, all produced by Triton College students or donated by area restaurants. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the college, to be used toward student scholarships and other programs at Triton College and are tax deductible as allowed by law.

A commemorative program book is being produced as part of the festivities. Ads for the book can be purchased for as little as $25 for a patron listing (name only), and up. If assistance is needed in designing an ad, the Foundation can help at no additional cost.

The Foundation also is looking for silent auction items. These items can be gift certificates, tickets to events or merchandise, including autographed sportswear, artwork, ceramics, sporting equipment, and food items arranged in gift baskets.

To purchase a ticket, place an ad in the program book or to donate an item for the silent auction, call the Foundation at (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3758, or send an e-mail to

The History of the USS McCampbell Commissioned in 2002—-I am proud to be related for whom this ship has been named

DDG 85


Construction of DDG 85 took place at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, starting with the ship’s keel being laid on July 16, 1999. The McCampbell was launched in July 2000, ran her first sea trials in January 2002, and was delivered to the Navy in March 2002.

USS McCampbell was commissioned on August 17, 2002, in San Francisco at Pier 30. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright served as ship’s sponsor while Buffy McCampbell, wife of the ship’s namesake, served as matron of honor. The Aegis destroyer honors Capt. David S. McCampbell, the Navy’s all-time leading ace with 34 aerial victories during World War II.

May 12, 2003 In the predawn hours, off the coast of Central America, ship’s force and members of a U.S Coast Guard law enforcement detachment conducted a discrete boarding of the “Sin Rumbo,” a Canadian flagged sailing vessel. Inside the vessel, the boarding team from USS McCampbell discovered 1.36 metric tons of cocaine packaged for shipment and valued at more than $20 million.

June 24, USS McCampbell returned to homeport from its first deployment. She has been conducting counter-narcotics operations under the operational command of Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) West and South in the eastern Pacific Transit Zone since it left San Diego April 19. The McCampbell completed eight boardings, 34 Right Of Approaches, and 108 sightings and identifications of various vessels. The crew enjoyed several port visits to the cities of Mazaltan and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Balboa, Panama.

May 5, 2004 USS McCampbell departed San Diego for its first six-month deployment in the western Pacific. The ship and its crew are headed to Southeast Asia in support of a Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) cruise. CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually throughout Southeast Asia that began in 1995, by combining a number of existing exercises to be conducted sequentially by a single U.S. Navy task group. The guided-missile destroyer will be conducting joint naval exercises with the countries of Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.

August 5, The 2004 edition of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series ended Aug. 4 with the closing ceremony of the Philippines phase. CARAT Singapore was conducted from May 31-June 11 while CARAT Brunei took place from June 21-26. The 10-day CARAT Thailand phase ended July 9. CARAT Malaysia was performed from July 12-22. The CARAT Task Group ships arrived in the Philippines July 27 for the final phase of the CARAT series. DDG 85 returned to homeport in September.

January 4, 2006 USS McCampbell departed Naval Base San Diego, as part of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group, for a scheduled deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism, as well as national and theater cooperative security commitments in the western Pacific.

February 17, DDG 85 recently departed Republic of Maldives after a goodwill port visit.

March 25, USS McCampbell and The Kiribati-flagged merchant vessel M/V Rokya 1 collided at 11:09 p.m., local time, approximately 30 miles southeast of the Iraqi coastline in the North Persian Gulf. Two U.S. Sailors received minor injuries as a result of the collision. Two crew members from Rokya 1 also received minor injuries and were treated on-scene by McCampbell’s independent duty corpsman. Both ships received damage on the bow and are deemed seaworthy. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

April 29, USS McCambell, commanded by Cmdr. Vincent McBeth, and USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), along with Bahrain Coast Guard emergency management teams, participated in a proof-of-concept demonstration off the port of Mina Salman. Two U.S. Navy ships executed the proof of concept, which entailed simulating an oil spill and conducting the subsequent containment and recovery.

June 3, DDG 85 pulled to Singapore for a scheduled port call. The ship is en route to its homeport in San Diego after five months on station in the Gulf.

June 13, The guided-misile destroyer departed Hong Kong after a three-day port visit.

June 16, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, along with other ships and military personnel from around the U.S. Pacific Fleet, is making preparations for Valiant Shield 2006, one of the largest joint military exercises in this region in more than a decade. Two ships from DESRON 7, the McCampbell and Decatur (DDG 73), will be operating off the coast of Guam June 19-23. The exercise will involve more than 20,000 Sailors, Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.

July 6, DDG 85 returned to San Diego after a six-month underway period in the Persian Gulf and western Pacific Ocean.

June 21, 2007 USS McCampbell departed San Diego for its new homeport in Japan.

July 9, USS McCampbell, commanded by Cmdr. William Triplett, arrived in Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) to take the place of USS Gary (FFG 51), which is scheduled to leave FAY and return to San Diego.

August 13, DDG 85 is currently participating in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007, as part of USS Kitty Hawk CSG, off the coast of Guam.

November 16, USS McCampbell completed its participation in ANNUALEX 19G, the maritime component of the U.S.-Japan exercise Keen Sword 08.

December 12, Sailors aboard the USS McCampbell successfully completed the Ship Anti-submarine Warfare Readiness and Evaluation Measurement (SHAREM) 155 exercise, a bilateral exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), which took place Nov. 30 to Dec. 4. McCampbell served as the command ship and was joined by USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Topeka (SSN 752), two JMSDF surface ships, and U.S. and Japanese aircraft during the exercise.

June 23, 2008 The guided-missile destroyer recently arrived in Singapore for the third phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2008 Exercise.

August 12, USS McCampbell departed homeport to participate in a multilateral exercise FRUKUS 2008 in the Sea of Japan Aug. 15-23.

August 13, The United States has cancelled a joint naval exercise with Russia after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Moscow that it’s attacks on Georgia have jeopardised its integration into international institutions. The exercises were to involve warships from Russia, France, Britain and the U.S. in the Sea of Japan as well as an onshore component in the Russian port of Vladivostok.

October 2, DDG 85 departed Yokosuka to conduct training and to participate in exercises with regional naval partners, for the first time as part of USS George Washington (CVN 73) CSG.

March 4, 2009 The McCampbell is currently participating in Multi-Sail ’09 exercise in the western Pacific.

May 17, USS McCampbell departed Shimoda, Japan, after a two-day port visit in support of the 70th Shimoda Black Ship Festival.

July 14, The guided-missile destroyer is currently off the coast of Australia supporting bilateral training exercise Talisman Sabre 2009 with the Washington Carrier Strike Group.

August 6, DDG 85 pulled to Darwin, Australia, for a scheduled port visit.

August 15, The McCampbell, commanded by Cmdr. Charles Johnson, arrived in Bitung to participate in the Indonesia International Fleet Review (IFR).

September 3, USS McCampbell returned to Yokosuka after a summer underway period.

October 3, The guided-missile destroyer departed Hong Kong after a two-day port call.

October 9, USS McCampbell joined USS Denver (LPD 9) off the coast of Padang, Indonesia, to assist in humanitarian efforts in West Sumatra following two earthquakes.

April 13, 2010 DDG 85 is currently participating in Multi-Sail 2010 exercise off the coast of Okinawa.

May 13, USS McCampbell, along with USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), arrived in Hong Kong for a scheduled port visit.

May 26, The McCampbell is currently conducting Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) with the GW CSG.

July 25, The guided-missile destroyer departed Busan, Republic of Korea, after a four-day port visit to participate in “Invincible Spirit,” a combined alliance maritime and air readiness exercise involving the Republic of Korea and the United States in the East Sea, July 25-28.

August 11, USS McCampbell pulled into Changi Naval Base for a scheduled port visit to Singapore.

September 4, DDG 85 arrived in Manila, Republic of the Philippines, for a four-day port call.

October 2, The McCampbell pulled into Laem Chabang, Thailand, for a scheduled port visit.

March 12, 2011 USS McCampbell is currently at sea east of the Boso Peninsula preparing to move into position off Miyagi Prefecture to assist Japanese authorities with providing at-sea search and rescue and recovery operations, in the wake of a catastrophic magnitude 9.0 earthquake that left thousands dead on Friday.

April 18, USS McCampbell conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Republic of Korea Ulsan-class frigate ROKS Seoul (FF 952).

May 16, The guided-missile destroyer pulled into Changi Naval Base at Singapore for a five-day port visit to participate in International Maritime Defense Exhibition (IMDEX) Asia 2011.

June 12, USS McCampbell intercepted a Belizean-flagged North Korean cargo ship M/V Light May 26, south of Shanghai, suspected of carrying missile technology to Myanmar and, after a standoff at sea and several days of diplomatic pressure from Washington and Asia nations, forced the vessel to return home.

July 4, DDG 85 arrived in Sydney, Australia, for a port visit before participating in a biennial joint exercise Talisman Sabre.

August 22, USS McCampbell returned to Fleet Activities Yokosuka after four-and-a-half month patrol.

August 30, The McCampbell departed Yokosuka to avoid Tropical Storm Talas in anticipation of the typhoon’s projected arrival on early Friday morning.

October 13, USS McCampbell, along with USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), departed Apra Harbor, Guam, to participate in a joint anti-terorism exercise Pacific Eagle 2011 with the Russian Federation Navy (RFN) forces, including Pacific Fleet flagship Slava-class guided missile cruiser RFS Varyag (011), off Mariana Islands, Oct. 13-15