The Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education (CACHE) is an alliance of students, educators and activists committed to eradicating student debt and creating a free and comprehensive education system for all. United in the conviction that free education provides the foundation for a democratic society, CACHE opposes the neoliberal bid to transform higher education into yet another instrument of corporate dominance.
Corporate warriors and their privately owned policy-makers in state and federal government are steadily undermining higher education, turning what was once a public good into yet another means of private gain. As states slash funding for public higher ed and tuition costs skyrocket, corporate America is hard at work recasting aspiring college graduates as consumers, thereby shifting the cost of education and job training onto students and their families. In addition to driving today’s unprecedented levels of student-loan debt, corporatization is changing the face of the university, forcing many institutions to abandon long-held commitments to fairness and diversity in order to stay afloat in an era of ruthless competition.
As a result of corporatization, college tuition is spiralling out of control, worsening in recent years as states cut budgets for public higher education. At the same time that skyrocketing tuition costs are taking up an increasing percentage of families’ incomes, many Americans’ earnings have remained stagnant or contracted. Consequently, student-loan debt is reaching record levels, as students are forced to take out large loans in order to afford an education that is increasingly unnecessary in a job market dominated by low-skilled, low-paying work.
While students are forced to finance an increasingly expensive college education by themselves, private corporations have sought to cash in. For-profit colleges are exploiting students, demanding hefty tuition while offering staggeringly poor graduation rates. At the same time, the pressures of “free” market competition are reorganizing traditional colleges and universities from within. Caught in a battle for scarce resources, many institutions are turning to strategies developed by corporate consultants, leveraging their financial-aid offers in order to attract the best and wealthiest students. Predictably, the result is to exclude low-income students, accelerating the pace at which higher education becomes a mere tool of the rich and powerful.
But neoliberal administrations can’t take over our colleges and universities if we don’t let them. Across the nation students, faculty, and staff are standing up to the corporate attack on higher ed. In addition to demanding an end to out of control tuition and a commitment to high quality, publicly financed university education, we are fighting the forces of privatization that have transformed college campuses into centers of low-wage work and contingent employment. In opposition, we are proposing a truly democratic system of higher learning organized on the principles of open access and free inquiry. To learn more or to get involved with CACHE, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or tune in to our UStream channel.