The Education Crisis, Rising Student Loan Debts Loom Large in ‘Ivory Tower’

Stephanie Stark


Andrew Rossi’s new documentary Ivory Tower highlights the rising cost of higher education and what students are getting for it in the United States.


Ivory Tower shows university after university simultaneously touting their rock-climbing walls and shopping-mall-esque student unions and failing to ensure that the student will be able to compete in the job market. “An arms race,” the documentary calls it.


It’s a problem that’s shown in the statistics: student loan debt has grown 517 percent in the last five years; colleges are spending money on fancy buildings; and graduates are unable to find jobs. The documentary shows some students who are opting out of a formal education for one that is self-led and highlights alternative learning centers like Deep Springs College and the dramas at Cooper Union, the NYC school that recently went from entirely free to regular tuition. Ivory Tower seems to suggest this might be a better solution for prospective students.



While it is surely convincing, Ivory Tower’s message is not groundbreaking. Student loan debt has been a hot topic for years, and earlier this month, President Obama signed a memorandum directing the Secretary of Education to propose regulations to cap student loan payments at 10 percent of income.


The timing of Ivory Tower is its downfall: it’s a novel in the middle of a #studentloan Twitterfeed: we’re hearing about student loan debt and working to fix it already.


Author Bio:

Stephanie Stark is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.

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