Oliver: Student Debt Is Like HPV — ‘You’re Almost Certainly Going To Get It’

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“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver set off on a 15-minute tirade on Sunday, delivering a sweeping indictment of for-profit colleges in an era of ballooning student debt.

“Student debt is like HPV: if you go to college, you’re almost certainly going to get it,” he joked. “And if you do, it will follow you for the rest of your life.”

Oliver noted that that student debt has tripled in the last decade, and set out to diagnose the problem: “Like LBJ’s testicles, the federal student loan program has now swollen to uncomfortable proportions,” he said.

The former correspondent for “The Daily Show” cited data showing nationwide cuts for public education by 23 percent, resulting in higher tuition rates and therefore more borrowing from students.

Oliver focused most of his ire on the industry of for-profit colleges — one of the prime drivers of student debt as community colleges scale back — and particularly their methods for recruitment among low-income youth.

He rolled a clip of an ex-recruiter at one for-profit school, who was instructed to target potential candidates by zeroing in on their insecurities, or “pain points,” essentially shaming them into paying for higher education.

“They are told to hit people’s ‘pain points.’ The only professionals who should be doing that are dominatrixes or emo bands,” he said. “That’s it.”

Watch the entire clip below, courtesy of HBO:

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Notable Replies

  1. Emo bands. Hah! John Oliver is almost worth the price of getting HBO.

  2. that’s what the conservatives call THE AMERICAN DREAM…watch out for getting trickled down on

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