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Twenty-seven-year-old Omaha, Nebraska, resident Erin Duffy has never had — or even wanted — a credit card.

"I’ve been able to get along without it," she says, attributing the choice to ambivalence and a wariness of plastic her parents fostered in her during her formative years. "I’ve liked being able to pay for things as I go, not having to worry about missing a bill."

Duffy’s decision to live without credit cards is more common than you may think. A whopping 63 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 29) don’t have a credit card, according to a survey commissioned by Bankrate and compiled by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

Comparatively, only 35 percent of adults 30 and over don’t have credit cards.

There are, admittedly, external factors influencing the statistics. An April 2014 Gallup poll found Americans’ reliance on credit cards, in general, has declined steadily since the Great Recession. Moreover, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or CARD Act, made it harder for anyone under 21 to get a credit card.

There’s also a more straightforward reason why a majority of millennials aren’t carrying the payment method: Many, like Duffy, just don’t want credit cards.

"I don’t really feel like there’s a need for one in the way I live my life," says Melissa Pileiro, a 24-year-old resident of Vineland, New Jersey. "The idea with a credit card is you’re essentially putting money down that you don’t have."

Like many members of her demographic, Pileiro is perfectly content with her debit card, a payment method whose existence has eaten into the credit card’s market share.

Millennials “grew up in a world where the economy was tanking,” says David Pommerehn, senior counsel with the Consumer Bankers Association. “There was great concern about jobs and debts and paying off bills.”

At the same time, college costs — and subsequently student loans — have ballooned. According to the Project for Student Debt, student debt increased an average of 6 percent each year from 2008 to 2012, with college graduates from 2012 having an average student loan debt of $29,400.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/more-millennials-saying-no-credit-100000322.html

Occupy abolishes $4 million in other people’s student loan debt | CNN

After forgiving millions of dollars in medical debt, Occupy Wall Street is tackling a new beast: student loans.

Marking the third anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group’s Strike Debt initiative announced Wednesday it has abolished $3.8 million worth of private student loan debt since January. It said it has been buying the debts for pennies on the dollar from debt collectors, and then simply forgiving that money rather than trying to collect it.

In total, the group spent a little more than $100,000 to purchase the $3.8 million in debt.

While the group is unable to purchase the majority of the country’s $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt because it is backed by the federal government, private student debt is fair game.

This debt Occupy bought belonged to 2,700 people who had taken out private student loans to attend Everest College, which is run byCorinthian Colleges. Occupy zeroed in on Everest because Corinthian Colleges is one of the country’s largest for-profit education companies and has been in serious legal hot water lately.

Following a number of federal investigations, the college told investors this summer that it plans to sell or close its 107 campuses due to financial problems — potentially leaving its 74,000 students in a lurch.

(Read Full Text) (Photo Credit: US Uncut)

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Thomas Sankara was a Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. During the Organization of African Unity Summit of 1987, Sankara delivers a speech entitled “Against Debt” in which he calls upon African nations to refuse to pay debts imposed by international imperialist powers. [Link]

Student loans are destroying the imagination of youth. If there’s a way of a society committing mass suicide, what better way than to take all the youngest, most energetic, creative, joyous people in your society and saddle them with, like $50,000 of debt so they have to be slaves? There goes your music. There goes your culture. There goes everything new that would pop out. And in a way, this is what’s happened to our society. We’re a society that has lost any ability to incorporate the interesting, creative and eccentric people.
—  David Graeber

It was an ordinary Friday. Courtney Brown, 24, of Kalamazoo, Mich., was busy looking for a job. “I’ve applied all kinds of places,” she says. “Wal-Mart, Target, Verizon Wireless.”

Then she got a strange letter in the mail. “‘We are writing you with good news,’” she reads to me over the phone. “‘We got rid of some of your Everest College debt … no one should be forced to mortgage their future for an education.’”

The letter went on to say that her private student loan from a for-profit college, in the amount of $790.05, had just been forgiven outright by something called the Rolling Jubilee.

Since November 2012, Rolling Jubilee has purchased and eradicated about $15 million worth of debt arising from unpaid medical bills. Today, the group announced that it has erased $3.9 million in private student loans, including Courtney Brown’s and almost 3,000 other students of the for-profit Everest College.

These People Can Make Student Loans Disappear

Illustration credit: LA Johnson/NPR

Please fire me. I had a customer tell me that his deceased wife’s bill should have been paid off by God when she died. My response? “I apologize sir but we do not receive payments from God.” He did not believe me.

Why going into debt for (art) school is a terrible idea

In Steal Like An Artist, I wrote: “Get the education you need for as cheap as you can get it.” As anybody who’s followed my “you don’t have to go to college” tag knows, going into soaking debt for a degree is a bad idea, but even more so for artists. This graphic is from a recently published report, “Artists Report Back: A National Study on the Lives of Arts Graduates and Working Artists” by BFAMFAPhD:

In the United States, 40 percent of working artists do not have a bachelors degree in any field. Only 16 percent of working artists have arts related bachelors degrees. Though arts graduates may acquire additional opportunities and skills from attending art school, arts graduates are likely to graduate with significant student loan debt, which makes working as an artist difficult, if not impossible. We acknowledge that some arts graduates are satisfied with work in other fields, but the fantasy of arts graduates’ future earnings in the arts should be discredited.

Emphasis mine. Hyperallergic has an in-depth look at the report, and points out that it’s not just applicable to art students, either:

While this report focuses specifically on the arts, I couldn’t help but notice that it’s a part of a much larger conversation that’s been roiling across fields recently, particularly when it comes to graduate degrees. Our higher education system is producing a vast quantity of workers with educations and expectations for high-level and high-paying jobs that simply do not exist in the quantity needed to employ all these people.

…this is not an isolated issue in the arts — we’re training hundreds of thousands of young people who dream of gaining lucrative, or at least sustaining, long-term employment in a job market that is over-saturated with precisely those people and has been steadily losing good jobs.

To quote Steve Albini: “Some of your friends are already this fucked.”

The only decent argument I’ve heard for getting an MFA or teaching at an MFA program came from George Saunders:

I would feel weird if my students were going into mad debt to study with me. At Syracuse, we give 100 percent remitted tuition and about 15K a year, which a person can (sort of, approximately) live on in Syracuse. In any event, nobody’s leaving here with, you know, 80K in student loans. So this changes the dynamic dramatically. I feel good about teaching here, I feel like it’s honest. If we can help someone along their personal trajectory, great. If not, well, the person is only three years older than he/she was.

Via BoingBoing: It’s all but impossible to earn a living as a working artist, new report shows

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