Default: The Student Loan Documentary Needs Your Vote On Ideablob!

ideablob2July 9, 2009 Update 7-13: 24 hrs. left for them to qualify this round, lend a hand if you can!

“Default.” Say what? It’s rare that I’d ‘advocate for default’ but in this case, it’s well-warranted, as it’s an important movie-in-the-making (trailer after the jump) by the same name! The DEFAULT movie is the passion project of two filmmakers (now friends) of mine that I met via Teens in Tech founder Daniel Brusilovsky.

This week they’re in a massive ‘push’ to qualify for the monthly IdeaBlob $10K showdown, so they need to rally votes now through Tuesday, July 14th to show the folks at IdeaBlob they have some solid backers giving a thumbs up to finish their indie film! It’s FREE, easy to vote, and important work to support, given that rising tuitions and doubled student debt over the past decade have equated to what could be perceived as a generation of indentured servant.

I met and interviewed the films’ creators Serge Bakalian and Aurora Meneghello hoping to post it before graduation season, but it’s just as relevant in the summer slump as kids struggle to earn bucks and prep for fall.

I’m hoping they’ll finish the film with a Common Craft approach (‘in plain English!’) to decipher the ‘tripwires’ in student private loans and the federal loan sector, before kids ‘blow up’ their debt in lopsided balloon-style grandeur, crashing through their lives like an errant character in the Macy’s Day parade.

Default shines a glaringly harsh spotlight on the need for lending reform, as some student scenarios reveal opportunistic (downright dastardly) deeds of  private funders beckoning a clarion call for change.


It’s become readily apparent to me why so many of the Teen Entrepreneurs at the Teens in Tech conference wanted to ‘cut to the chase’ and hopscotch formal education with debt figures like these stats below for students to shoulder. (those that don’t have familial backing or scholarship wherewithal, etc.) sigh.

It’s easy to get sucked into the quicksand of student debt, swamped with unrealistic payback plans and a lifetime of ‘owing’ which is NOT the fiscal fitness our country needs to layer on our already problematic snapshot of the education quagmire.

It’s a shame that education itself is becoming a ‘have and have not’ example of ‘buying’ knowledge…based on zoning, access, recruitment of parent posses to subsidize lacking institutional funds, etc.

Even in the public school sector we’re functioning like private schools, and our private schools are churning out a student debt culture by ‘default’ from the get go…

Something’s gotta give. But that’s for the full post of the interview forthcoming, meanwhile, here’s the trailer with an informal nudge to help ’em out by voting…So “DEFAULT today!!

Facts From “Default” (all statistical sources are found on their site here)

* By the time they graduate, nearly two-thirds of students at four-year colleges and universities have student loan debt (66.4% in 2004). In 1993, less than one-half of four-year graduates had student loans.

* Over the past decade, debt levels for graduating seniors with student loans more than doubled from $9,250 to $19,200 – a 108% increase (58% after accounting for inflation).

* At public universities, debt levels for graduating seniors with student loans more than doubled from $8,014 to $17,250 over the past decade – a 116% increase (65% after accounting for inflation).

* At private universities, debt levels for graduating seniors with student loans nearly doubled from $11,356 to $22,125 over the past decade – a 95% increase (49% after accounting for inflation).

I’ll cover more in the interview, but for now, it’s elucidating to learn what it must feel like to have that type of ensnarement; tangled in a net where you feel like you can’t break free…(which doesn’t even touch students’ credit card debt, but that’s another media/marketing story!)

And on a pragmatic note: I’m also learning more about how IdeaBlob works for when Shaping Youth strives to compete on one of our projects at some point…(recall we pitched in for DreamVillage in this Ideablob post about creating kids’ books with a socially responsible twist, and Suneet ended up winning; can’t wait to do a follow up soon!)

Evidently if Default gets more votes than any other ideas during this week, they’ll qualify, otherwise, votes get reset to zero and we have to vote again down the line.

Soooooo…make it count, people!

One quick click to make a difference and tell a story that is all too pertinent for our debt-ridden times. “Default” now!

“Default: The Student Loan Documentary is a feature-length documentary chronicling the stories of borrowers from different backgrounds affected by the private student lending industry and their struggles to change the system.

In 2005 private student loans were exempted of ALL consumer protections. No matter when their loans were taken, many borrowers now find themselves in a paralyzing predicament of repaying two, three or multiple times the original amount borrowed, with no bankruptcy protection, no cap on fees and penalties and no recourse to the law. The consequences are dire, with stories of borrowers in financial and emotional ruin.”



  1. You helped us, we’re happy to follow your marching orders with respect to Ideablob and this iteration. Good luck to “Default”, and we look forward to catching up soon, Amy!

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