fbpx Theater and the War Against Youth | HowlRound Theatre Commons

Theater and the War Against Youth

In his recent article “The War Against Youth,” Stephen Marche levels three major accusations against the Baby Boomers:

1. They are hoarding resources for themselves and depriving the young of their fair share of government funding.

2. They exploit young labor through un/underpaid internships.

3. They are selling impractical degrees, oversaturating the job market, and getting rich off the high cost of education.

Sadly, the theatre community, which prides itself on its progressive values, is just as complicit in this attack on the young (and the poor) as the rest of the country. In this article, I want to examine the applicability of Marche’s accusations to business practices in the theatre, and I hope to offer several solutions that can bring this unnecessary war to a swift conclusion.

Accusation 1: Hoarding of Resources and Deprivation of Government Funding   Marche notes that the federal government spends seven times as much on the elderly as on the young. This inequity, however, does not just affect individuals. It also applies to institutions. For the 2012 fiscal year, the NEA awarded $3,216,000 in grants to 119 theatre companies. Out of the 119 institutions receiving grants, only 7 (5.88%) have been in existence for less than ten years, and only $131,000 (4.07%) of the $3,216,000 went to these companies. For companies younger than five years, the news is even worse. ArtsEmerson, whose grant technically went to Emerson College (founded 1880), is the only company in existence less than five years to receive government funding.

a hand holding money
Who has control over the funds? Photo by Pictures of Money. 

The message from the government could not be clearer: if you are just starting out, do not come to us for help! Not surprisingly, most new companies are created by individuals under the age of thirty–five, so it is the young who are disproportionately affected by this bias. New voices often require new institutions, and new institutions certainly require funding. This means that our current approach to grant making jeopardizes the ability of new voices to be heard. The NEA could avoid this by allotting ten percent of its grants and funds to companies that have existed for less than ten years. It could also enact a policy of awarding at least three grants annually to companies created within the last five years.

The message from the government could not be clearer: if you are just starting out, do not come to us for help!

Accusation 2: Exploitation of Young Labor through Un/Underpaid Internships
So much has been written about the exploitative nature of internships in both this publication and others that I am hesitant to belabor the point; however, I would be remiss if I did not introduce a few statistics about internships in the theatre world.

1. Out of the sixty LORT companies that advertise professional internships/apprenticeships/fellowships, only thirty–four of these companies (56.66%) claim to pay interns a weekly stipend. Five of these thirty–four companies pay technical interns, but not administrative interns.

2. The average weekly stipend offered by these companies is $149.50. The highest weekly stipend is $400 and is offered by the Arden Theatre. The Huntington and the Roundabout come close to the Arden’s compensation package by offering hourly wages that just exceed the minimum wage. These are the only three LORT companies that offer full-time interns compensation that exceeds the minimum wage. (Note: eight of the companies who advertise a stipend do not publicly disclose the amount. It is possible that one or more of these companies offer a stipend that surpasses the minimum wage.)

3. Only eleven out of sixty (18.33%) LORT companies offer housing to all full-time interns/apprentices/fellows.

4. Only one out of sixty LORT companies (the Arden) offers health insurance to all full-time interns/apprentices/fellows.

How dire is the situation? Well, one of the country’s most reputable theatres includes instructions for getting on food stamps in its welcome packet. We can do better than this! As a community, we should not be telling the next generation of theatre artists that they must first get on food stamps if they wish to break into the profession. Furthermore, we should not be limiting internship opportunities to those whose parents can bankroll their living expenses for an entire year. Such an approach strangles diversity in the field.

So what can we do? We can start by cutting down the number of interns while giving those hired a more comprehensive, well-rounded experience. Most companies offer internships in specialized areas (artistic, literary, education, development, marketing, technical production, finance, etc.). Why not ask interns to pick two or three areas of concentration? With the budgetary constraints of the twenty-first century, theatre artists will need to perform more administrative and backstage functions. Conversely, arts administrators who can speak the language of artists will have more credibility during budgetary and marketing discussions. Cutting the number of interns on staff by half would also mean a doubling in intern wages, opening doors for applicants whose parents can’t foot the cost of their internship.

We can also grow partnerships between universities, foundations, and regional theatres. Funded by the Kemper Foundation, the Court Theatre in Chicago offers University of Chicago students a tremendous professional opportunity and fair economic compensation. In what resembles a work-study arrangement, students can make $1000 a quarter doing eleven hours of work a week. Sadly, this arrangement is in stark contrast to the “deal” received by most student interns around the country. The typical theatre-university partnership involves student interns working ten or more hours a week, receiving no compensation, and getting a course credit that they have to pay for. It is a win-win for theatres and schools and a big middle finger to undergraduate students. Theatres win because they get free labor. The universities win because students are paying anything from $250 to $1100 to the school even though the internship costs the university nothing. If the university is investing nothing financially, why can’t it give students credits without charging them (Who has heard of fee for no service?); and in those cases where the university does invest financially in students’ internships, why can’t theatres, universities, and students split the cost equally as opposed to making students cover one hundred percent of the cost?

Accusation 3: Profiting from the Peddling of Impractical Degrees
I write this last section knowing that university system is the biggest employer of theatre artists in the country. I write this last section knowing that in all likelihood I would have left the profession had I not recently been hired to teach full-time at a community college. I know I am biting the hand that feeds me, and I understand what is at stake when I talk about reducing the number of graduate and, to a lesser extent, undergraduate programs. It means fewer artists who can support themselves doing what they love, which in turn means fewer artists altogether. At the same time, we must ask ourselves if we have erected these programs to employ teachers or to help students find employment.

It means fewer artists who can support themselves doing what they love, which in turn means fewer artists altogether

When I started work at a community college, I familiarized myself with the recently passed Gainful Employment Act. Directed primarily at for-profit institutions and community colleges, this act requires new programs to prove that their students will be able to find work in their field after graduating. If a program cannot prove this, it is not eligible for Title IV funding (Federal Student Financial Aid). The Gainful Employment Act also stipulates that either thirty–five percent of graduates must be current on their loan payments or that annual loan payments must not exceed twelve percent of the average graduate’s income. If an existing program fails to meet this requirement, it loses Title IV funds. I wonder how MFA programs would fare if they were subjected to these same standards. MFA programs should start wondering about this, too, because there are going to be a litany of new regulations on “superfluous” and “impractical” degrees when the student loan bubble explodes later this decade.

The Gainful Employment Act is the first step in tying program outcomes to an institution’s economic wellbeing. For too long, post-secondary institutions have raked in cash without being held accountable for their failure to produce graduates who can enter the workforce. When talking about healthcare reform, almost everyone agrees that medical fees should correlate to health outcomes. Why, then, don’t we link student loan payments and tuition to educational outcomes when we talk about reforming our country’s graduate programs? I believe every MFA program should charge a flat yearly tuition (approximately $4500 upfront). Following graduation, students should over the next twelve years pay nine percent of their theatre, theatre teaching, and film-related income to their university. If a school produces successful, working graduates in the field, it will have nothing to worry about; however, if it is contributing to the oversaturation of the market and selling useless degrees, then it will be forced to close it doors.

Some may think of this proposal as cold, Social Darwinism. In fact, it is the opposite. It forces professional training programs to invest in their students while they are students and after they graduate. Currently, a school has no financial incentive to take the employability of their graduates seriously. They get their money regardless; however, if a school’s income becomes

Interested in following this conversation in real time? Receive email alerting you to new threads and the continuation of current threads.

subscribe

Comments

23
Add Comment

The article is just the start of the conversation—we want to know what you think about this subject, too! HowlRound is a space for knowledge-sharing, and we welcome spirited, thoughtful, and on-topic dialogue. Find our full comments policy here

Newest First

Wow! This is one of the best essays I've ever read!

Very few people realize what has been going on -- and fewer still have the courage to say so.

So my hat's off to you! (And my apologies for not reading it sooner... not sure how I missed it.)

And I say that even though I am hardly young. But I agree completely with your basic thesis, that for years older people have been using the power of government to screw younger people.

(And it especially sickens me when I see so much taxpayer money spent on the elderly to pay for necessities so they can spend their own money on cruises and such -- while so many children and young adults are going without adequate nutrition and shelter!)

Clearly some kind of balance needs to be restored. But the only way that will happen is if youth get active (something I have long advocated) and vote in legislators that aren't beholden to the elderly (as most are now).

I also agree with you about how youth have also been screwed by the whole college system. An additional reform, in addition to those you mention, would be to simply make it illegal for any job (or at least any government job) to require a college degree -- the job should be simply on merit.

For instance, no matter how accomplished a writer (or someone in any other field) is, if they don't have a college degree -- including certain specific courses -- they can't teach in public school. (For instance Steve Jobs couldn't teach a class in computer science!) This is just another way that the government indirectly subsizes colleges at the expense of everyone else.

The only area I might disagree with you on is the need for government to directly subsidize youth. It might be sufficient for it simply to STOP STEALING from youth.

I'm sorry - where does it say on Arden's site that internships are paid? I just looked at the listings of internships and each one says, "This is an unpaid position and applicants must have local housing."

Part-time internships at the Arden are unpaid. Full-time apprenticeships come with the salary and benefits referenced in the article. In compiling data, I was primarily looking at opportunities where interns/apprentices were expected to work 40+ hours a week.

I think the system says "make it by your bootstraps" like we did. I think this diatribe comes from self-entitlement. I think if internship is actually financially lucrative you will get the wrong people who are not willing to put the art first. I would not trade my theatre degree for anything-- including employment, because I HAVE BEEN TAUGHT TO DO MY WORK. jUDGING “superfluous” and “impractical” degrees IS SUBJECTIVE AND should NOT happen. The Gainful Employment Act is WRONG and crazy. Turning universities into vocational school? NO NEVER, NOT in a million years should this happen. University's ARE NOT FACTORIES-- this guy's ideas are interesting but wrong. However I do belive in a fascimile of this "schools should accept and train only the students they believe in." A student should be able to function academicaly and show a reasonable amount of propensity for THEATRE! I don't care about the young-- I care about THE TALENTED. WAH WAH WAH, Boo hoohoo. I am sick of listening to self entitlement. Shut up, get to work and make it happen . . . over and over, or move on.

If people in the theater community ever get to the point where making real change is taken seriously, count me in as willing to help make that happen. I got my BFA, but I had exited the profession before I graduated. I still perform through the year, but I make 90% of my money doing other things.

I agree that the non-profit system is a crutch. Until theater companies start focusing on the audience and learning to act like a business, we will continue to see low wages.

I recently resigned my position as a full and tenured theatre professor because working in a university department diminished who I was and diminished what theatre is and can be. I was the only prof in a department of over a dozen who worked professionally and steadily in only Equity productions as a union member. I was the only prof who brought new ideas forward and invited new artists to build on a future for theatre. I was the only prof who wrote grants to expose my students to leaders in the professional theatre realm and who provided workshops and training for my students. And I was the only prof who was honest with the students regarding the reality of life after school in professional theatre.

Even more sadly, as I investigated many other schools and interviewed with at least a dozen of them, I found their departments to be as terrible as the one I resigned from. All of the schools I interviewed with hired an adjunct - someone they already knew and worked with. I get it, but I can't shake the feeling that the adjuncts may have 'fit' their needs rather than pushed/inspired/challenged what they already had in their staid, poor programs. I could be wrong, of course. But I don't think so.

The times have changed radically in both the professional theatre world and in the academic theatre world. At the risk of intoning the old 'when I was coming up in the profession' idea - all of my teacher in undergrad worked professionally. The unions were strong and it was possible to make a good and steady living in theatre (supplemented or surpassed with steady commercial work). This was the 80s and early 90s. Now it's almost impossible to make a steady living regionally. I worked as a full-time actor for 10 years and took a giant pay cut to teach. It was something I always wanted to do. I feel I accomplished a lot (and I think that was reflected in my being promoted to 'full', requiring international recognition, at a very young age while the rest of the department were associate or assistant level). But it was a constant battle.

The overwhelming majority of theatre departments don't educate, they 'train.' A theatre artist, like any artist, can only excel with a solid, thorough and comprehensive education. What theatre departments focus on now is 'entertainment' and production, which can be learned with any community theatre group over a summer experience. We aren't turning out artists, we're turning out community theatre aficionados.

I resigned because I believe, in this day, that there should not be undergraduate theatre degrees. I believe in a strong college education for all artists and I believe in strong graduate training. But the model now needs to change. Yes - well-paid internships. It should be a requirement for all Equity companies. That was the way it was done for a thousand years or more. It worked. We need to go back to it. And any prof who works in a theatre department must not only be a union member but must also work in union theatre outside their department. That is a must for the benefit of the students.

Some of the best professional actors I've worked with, met and seen do not have undergrad theatre degrees. We are watering down our young actors and it is a major disservice to our profession. The overwhelming majority of university professors are pure frauds.

The numbers of college/university theatre programs has sky-rocketed in the past few decades. What was once not even an imaginable college major has become extremely popular. My daughter graduated 18 months ago with a B.A. in Drama and over 40 weeks credit toward her AEA membership. After a relative who produces a well-known TV show asked how much her father and I were willing to spend to underwrite her year or more as a movie extra, an occasional substitute PA, and an enrollee in even more "workshops" that apparently keep other drama majors employed, she made the decision to put the skills acquired getting her degree to another field and has been employed for going on 18 months at a very satisfactory salary with wonderful benefits! Watching college productions while she was a student convinced me that most drama majors are never going to work in a LORT theatre anyway!!! Bottom line is, I believe "drama" is becoming a university's cash cow but society is never going to fully employ the number of "actors" being produced.

 

I’d like to say a word on behalf of baby-boomers, we poor,
beleaguered people. If we keep working,
then we deny twenty-somethings the jobs that someone told them would be waiting
for them. If we comply with their wish
to get out of the way and retire, then we’re hoarding government resources
(which we’ve been paying for) that younger folks think they should have. What are we to do?

It was no different
when we began working in the theater.
Everyone must know, when they decide to enter the theater, that there
will never be a job with a good, steady income waiting for you in your twenties
on the artistic side. There will always
be too many people wanting too few opportunities. That is a challenge you have to accept.

Most of us boomers got our start in the theater doing
internships, or working for free. I can
only speak for myself, but I didn’t feel – and I wasn’t –exploited when, in the
mid-eighties, I read plays for the Manhattan Theater Club for free. Or for the O’Neill Center. I remember the people I met, the connections
I made, and the experience gained from reading and writing about a lot of
plays. I remember the exhilaration of
doing, learning, being part of something, something that might (but might not,
since there are no guarantees) pay me something close to a decent wage if I
worked hard enough, if I put in the hours.
It didn’t occur to me that these folks owed me anything.

I didn’t feel exploited when I did an internship at Circle
Rep in the early 1990s while a grad student at Columbia (with, like everyone
else, plenty of bills to pay). I think I
got a small stipend; I don’t remember.
What I remember are the valuable lessons all of us were taught by Lynn
Thompson, whom we worked for. That was
the payment. As good as my grad school
teachers were, and they were exceptional, what I learned from the experience of
working in a theater under the tutelage of a great professional was of a
different order. I don’t know what Lynn
Thompson was paid by Circle Rep, but I bet it didn’t buy her a house in the
Hamptons. Everyone who works in the non-profit theater, and the non-profit
art world generally, is underpaid, given the hours and dedication they put
in. One shouldn’t confuse internships
offered by large, for-profit law firms and investment banks, with those in the
non-profit world where the most one is likely to achieve financially is a
decent living, and that, probably, not for a long time if you’re in the arts.

Regarding degrees, I thought that the purpose of a college
or university education was to teach you to think, so that you could operate in
the world as an independent adult for the rest of your life if you were willing
to. That skill will, with luck, qualify
you for employment, but what it’s meant
to qualify you for is a more richly-lived life.
It’s not a guarantee of anything.
Is a degree “useless” because it hasn’t gotten you a job? My undergraduate degrees in American Studies
and journalism never got me a single job, but they taught me to think, and that,
with a lot of hard work and putting in the time, some luck, and the attention
of generous people above me, helped me get jobs and keep them. Columbia University could not have and should
not have guaranteed that my graduate degree in dramaturgy could get me a job as
a dramaturg. What gave me skills,
confidence, exposure to new ideas and people and then said, when I was handed
that piece of paper, “Now it’s up to you.
Yours is an over-crowded field, it always has been and always will be,
and you knew this going in. Good luck.”

This business is hard.
Very hard. There were no jobs at all waiting
for the founders of the not-for-profit theater.
They had to invent them, along with every template for the business we
take for granted now. They had to convince a lot of people, in government,
foundations, the press, and elsewhere, that what they were doing was
important. That was hard.

If I may use her as an example without her permission,
there’s a young woman named Erin Washington, who’s often written for this blog,
who didn’t expect that a job would be waiting for her when she got out of
graduate school. She wanted to
produce. So she learned how, is learning
still, and is encouraging everyone she meets to learn and work with her, in New
York, in Washington, D.C., in Ashland. She’s
an inspiration, and I’m proud that she’s a graduate of A.C.T., where I work. As I write this, she’s two blocks away on
Mission Street in San Francisco, rehearsing a reading of a new play by her
classmate Mfoniso Udofia. There are
thousands of young people like Erin and Mfoniso who are too busy working,
making their future, to ask why the old people don’t step aside, why there’s no
job waiting for them. In this business,
they job you’re waiting for is the job you make. There are a lot of very generous people in
this business; many helped me. They’ll help
you, too. But they may not be inclined
to if you turn up on the doorstep expecting them to hand you a job as if it is
your right.

As an "emerging artist" this article both terrified and comforted me. I think Marshall captures something that I've been struggling to put my finger on - there is something very strange going on in our generation, and not just in the arts. People who are now in their twenties are experiencing a job market unlike any previous, it seems to me. Of course, this can probably be said for every generation - the world is ever evolving, and so to expect that one generation would exactly mimic the previous is quite unreasonable. But what seems unique to me about the current situation is the almost blatant disregard for the reality of the situation in favor of a rose-colored glasses viewpoint that benefits the people on top much more than the people they're trying to help. I think the bloated nature of the theater industry has caused more competition at a more delicate time of life that has resulted in real difficulty launching successful lives and careers in the arts. What I mean by this is that because it is relatively easy to get an internship at a large organization, we the young are able to maintain a full-time theater career, albeit for little or no money, for several years out of school. Then, when we hit mid twenties, we realize that the entry-level/ mid-level jobs that we thought would be waiting for us after successful completion of a few years of internships are not there - they're held by people who have been working for 10, 20, 30 years! So enters a large contingent of freelance artists, all looking for full time work, some of whom quit the industry out of frustration but most of whom continue limping along with the promise of a stable job just out of reach at a time when they expected to be settling down and creating lives. In contrast, the stories of the previous generation seem to be that out of college, they found some part time work, scraped together a few jobs, and then found or created a home for themselves by their mid to late twenties. To me, this reversal of the time line, though created to be beneficial for us, is actually detrimental, because it seems that spending those first few years out of college in the comfort and stability of an internship leaves us wanting the same but unable to find it, and encourages more young artists to become administrators, thereby continuing the cycle of bloated organizations saving their staff at the expense of artists, or funnels young artists in to grad school (for cons, see article!) I do realize that pursuing theater is a choice that does not lead to riches or guaranteed success, and that anyone who does it has to do it for the love of it. And I do realize that the people who created the institutions and structures that exist now were doing it for all the right reasons (to think other wise seems to me a bit conspiracy theory). But I also realize that it is really really hard right now to understand, as a young theater artist, what kind of path could lead to success, and sometimes just hearing that we are not crazy for thinking that something is wrong and something feels broken can be enough to inspire us to continue looking for solutions.

The very real problems addressed here can never be solved by redistributing or even increasing the funds available to theater through the not for profit system. The problem is the not for profit system. The smart, hard working theater artists emerging all over the country are taught that a 501(c)3 company is the only path, this is incredibly destructive. Until theater artists focus on audience instead of grant makers to pay the bills, the form will continue its descent into irrelevance. Here are 3 reasons why we need to abandon the NFP model and look to new ways of creating plays. http://www.spotlightright.b...

This is a great article. I think it is also important to mention how low the pay is for many positions in professional theatres. I was hired to be a marketing director at a popular theatre with an annual budget of over $2million and they offered me $10 an hour. This was last year.

I have issues with some of the information. The article holds Arden as a great example of internship pay. They can afford to pay their interns (a still unlivable wage) because they pay their staff people so little (the props master position offered $525 a week when I interviewed two years ago and 50+ hour weeks were expected). Minimum wage can give you quite a bit of money when you factor in overtime (something that salaried employees see a lot of without any extra compensation). Santa Fe Opera is a great example of this. They paid $9 an hour when I worked there a few years ago, but with time and half and food and housing provided, I went home more money that I had ever seen. So while the Arden is great in comparison to other internships, it's still pretty shitty compared to what it actually costs to live in Philadelphia.

I'd say the article holds the Arden as a prime example of underpaid interns, actually, even while it calls them the highest paying. The highest still isn't very good. What it doesn't say is the Arden apprentices also work 50-60+ hours, too, though those hours have been lowered over time. No overtime pay. But yes, definitely health insurance. And one day off a week, which in theatre is invaluable. As someone who was an Arden apprentice in 2009-2010, I can say it's beyond the most valuable & difficult training & work experience I've ever had, and I didn't expect to be living comfortably while doing it. I only had savings to provide first/last/security on a place to live in Philly. I went on forebearance for my undergrad loans and lived in a basement room in an apartment in a good area close to the theatre for a reduced rent rate. I basically lived off the Arden stipend alone, and left the program with no savings, but with contacts and experience that led to work. I still live month to month with no savings, and had to defer my loans again this year. But, I self-produce my own work, which I wouldn't have known how to do without the Arden apprenticeship, and I do have the feeling sometimes that this is the sort of life we've chosen. Not sure if it's right, but it's worth pointing out that many of us young emerging artists are willing to put ourselves in these apprenticeships for the experience and the promise of future work. Ironically, I'm now hoping to go to grad school. Maybe the system's got me just fine.

Makes me proud that year round we provide paid job opportunities for young people (college students, high school students, youth ages 16-22).

Laura, Director of PR, The New Victory Theater

Oh, I guess I should also say that my MFA program doesn't have a lot of 20 somethings in it, because (as a low residency program) students aren't able to get a deferrement on their existing loans while they pursue their MFA. This means that nobody in my program is going to grad school to put off paying off undergraduate loans. Personally, rather than requiring a university to guarentee a certain percentage of all future wages come from work directly related to the degree earned by the student, it seems like it would make a lot more sense to require the government to provide subsidies to education that are equal to those given the extremely profitable energy sector.One other point, if universities need to "only accept students they believe in" rather than offering a chance to achieve success to students who may have promise but lackluster undergraduate grades (like myself), then you're really asking universities to create a very elitist structure and asking them to create acceptance criteria that will protect them from litigation, because if we accept a student we believe in who does not then succeed, wouldn't the student be able to clain their lack of success is evidence that the university shouldn't have believed in them and therefore caused them financial damage by having expectations of the student the student was unable to achieve?And as a last thought before heading off to the job I'm lucky to have, how does it work with people who have multiple degrees in different fields? Are they required to get multiple jobs (one in each area of study) earning the requisite percent of income so that their alma mater isn't penalized by the government?

In the interest of full discolosure, I created and run an MFA program in playwriting. I go out of my way to remind students that the theatre as a profession is not a wise business investment for your educational dollar. In fact, at age 50, I have yet to finish paying my own student loans, but that is also because I refinanced ten years ago, dropping my payments from over $300 to the more affordable $88 a month because at the time I was on a 9 month teaching contract and because I would be rehired the following academic year, the government would not give me a derferment during those three months i wasn't drawing a paycheck. Also, our program is low residency, so the majority of our students enter our program already having jobs, precisely because they have those three months free during the summer. I don't really think there are a lot of theatre programs out there offering promises of a life of luxury if students will only get an advanced degree in theatre. Most students do come at their academic theatre programs wanting to learn training and expect to get a job outside their degree field in order to support themselves while they pursue their art. My degree is in playwriting, but not even Tony Kushner says he can earn his living writing plays. I consider teaching to be a compromise, and a profession that I actually love as much as I would in the professional theatre. I think if you are talking about getting rid of MFA programs in the arts until the arts can provide enough jobs to justify the opportunities for training in craft that universities exist to offer, you're looking at an artistic death spiral. Not only are universities churning out job seekers, they actually do a tremendous amount to promote theatre goers, even among non-majors. As I said, based on your rubric above my job security would be pretty solid since my students not only often have work, they are actually getting work, but turning liberal arts institutions in to nothing more than arts oriented vocational schools, and artists into market driven (and evaluated) business people seems kind of crazy to me.

There are a few people writing for this blog who are starting to make practical sense and Mr. Botnivick is certainly oneof them--bravo!

A very truthful article. I once interviewed for a full-time, no pay and no housing internship at a professional theater in Florida, which had a one point five million dollar annual budget. I came to same conclusion;the internship was meant for a more privileged individual who could afford to work for nothing. The practice is not only exploitative but discriminatory. A clever way to keep certain people out.

In regards to accusation #3, your argument is very pragmatic and sensible.The student loan bubble( like the dot.com and housing) will eventually burst and the party will be over. The university system in this country is strongly in need of an overhaul. The Gainful Employment Act will force colleges and universities to align themselves with the needs and demands of marketplace, something long overdo. .