ON THE ROAD WITH THE UNDOCUBUS: On a night in late August, Knoxville’s Church of the Savior was buzzing with energy. Local residents had prepared a potluck feast for UndocuBus riders, who had spent the last three days in eastern Tennessee. The riders included undocumented students, day laborers and domestic workers, and they were headed to the Democratic National Convention.
The UndocuBus is reaching out to those most affected by draconian immigration laws, while also building community with white allies who are helping to feed and house the riders as they head toward Charlotte. In Knoxville, Sheriff J.J. Jones is seeking to help the Department of Homeland Security enforce federal immigration law. Alejandro Guizar, 19, is among those who want to challenge him. Arrested after his high school graduation for public intoxication, Guizar still faces deportation proceedings even though the charge was dropped. He was recently arrested again after an act of civil disobedience protesting Sheriff Jones—but mounting pressure from the UndocuBus and its network swiftly secured his release.
Arrested with Guizar was 66-year-old Fran Ansley, a white woman who works with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. The last time she’d been arrested was back in 1969, during an anti–Vietnam War protest. But she’s been so inspired by today’s activists that she wants to contribute as well. On the way back from dinner, the riders sang, “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido.” (The people united will never be defeated.) The UndocuBus challenges how we define “the people” and who creates change. AURA BOGADO
SCAMMING STUDENTS: This summer, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin released the results of a two-year investigation into for-profit colleges that confirmed the suspicions many have had for some time: the rapidly growing industry is focused more on profits than on its students.
The study, conducted by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, probed thirty for-profit colleges, half of which are publicly traded, such as the Apollo Group’s University of Phoenix and the Washington Post Company’s Kaplan Higher Education. The results were staggering. “The for-profit schools take in about 10 to 12 percent of all the students of higher education,” Harkin told NPR, but “they account for over 50 percent of the defaults. Right away, you look at that and you say: Something isn’t right here.”
The for-profits’ programs appeal largely to lower-income people and veterans looking to earn degrees on their own time through online classes. Many of these institutions can cost up to 420 percent more than their public counterparts—and in some cases, even more than Ivy League colleges. Plus the vast majority of students enrolled—95 percent—will seek federal or private loans to pay for the tuition.
The result? At a time when public institutions face debilitating budget cuts, 86 percent of the for-profit colleges’ revenue comes from taxpayers, to the tune of $32 billion in the most recent year. Only 17 percent of this revenue goes to actual education; 22.7 percent (roughly $4.2 billion) is spent on marketing and recruiting schemes that have been criticized as relying on predatory practices.