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Commodifying the Occidental Student through the ‘College Experience’

Comments (2)
  1. Ben says:

    Mr. Watson,

    This article is disappointing. Not so much for the message as the content. Occidental is not a private college, and as far as I can determine, the default rate of Oxy grads is under 3%. You might also remember that a default is a missed payment, not a complete refusal to repay the loan.

    “With 96 percent of all Occidental students receiving either subsidized or unsubsidized loans, there’s an even higher chance of students defaulting because they don’t have the money to pay initially. ” Higher chance than what? As far as I can tell, this sentence has no meaning besides sounding scary.

    The average debt is concerning, but also below average by a small margin. I believe Oxy still meets financial aid based on need for every student, correct?

    ” We need to protest the tendency to rate institutions by the growth of their endowment, ” This seems like an exceptionally poor argument to make in an article complaining about high tuition. The endowment is what allows Oxy to afford providing need-based financial aid to every student. There is a reason institutions are rated by their endowments, a large endowment ensures long-term financial stability. This is attractive to prospective students and professors alike.

    As an alumnus, I certainly would like to see my donations spent on professors before frivolities, but this article abuses the “college is too expensive” trope without demonstrating that Oxy is wasting money. You gripe about a few minor expenses- tens of thousands of dollars of arguably justifiable outlays, which wouldn’t even pay a single adjunct, and you severely exaggerate the financial struggle facing the average Oxy grad (apparently through misunderstanding of basic facts). Oxy grads do much better than average college graduates despite Oxy meeting 100% of need-based financial aid- this is an area where Oxy deserves nothing but praise.

    This article is intellectually sloppy and I expect better from current Oxy students.

    Ben Tway ’09

  2. Bob says:

    For the most part this article does accurately depicts Occidental’s issues as part of a greater nationwide problem with sky-rocketing college costs. However, the author calls Occidental a “for-profit” college and then goes on to state that 1 in 7 students will default on their student debt. However, Occidental, along with the other colleges described in the linked pdf is a private non-profit college. As the linked Washington Post article notes, 7% of these students have defaulted on their debt. While this is still a bad situation as ideally no one should have to bankrupt themselves attempting to pay for college, it is not as dire a situation as it is for students of for-profit colleges such has DeVry and Phoenix University who have predatory student recruiting practices.

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