Crushing, inescapable student debt is a national crisis that no one seems to be in any hurry to address—no one, that is, except Northeastern University in Boston, which is texting alumni with an extremely fucked up offer.
Northeastern, where undergraduate tuition will run you roughly $60,000 a year, has begun a fundraising campaign pegged to the student debt of its alumni. The following text message was sent to us by a Northeastern alumnus from the class of 2011:
Here’s how it works: Give Northeastern money, and there’s a chance they might relieve some of the debt you incurred from your education. Or, probably, you’ll win nothing and simply be out the sum of your donation, and further away from being able to pay off said debt. The campaign is running through MobileCause, a tech company that touts its ability to “give your supporters the power to donate from anywhere, right on a mobile device.”
Northeastern spokesman Matthew McDonald confirmed the MobileCause campaign in an email:
A Northeastern donor’s innovative idea and support led to a text message campaign for recent graduates. The campaign intended to fulfill two of the donor’s goals: to raise support for the university and to lend a hand to alumni with student loans—an issue that Northeastern University takes seriously. The university offers lifetime support for Northeastern students and alumni on issues around financial literacy and student loan repayments.
I will counter with an innovative idea that I believe would raise more support for the university and better lend a hand to alumni with student loans: A concrete plan to lower tuition, and funds to provide student debt relief.