This means an end to nearly four decades of corporate welfare for the government-created -- but now fully privatized -- icon of the industry, Sallie Mae. The savings to be had from terminating this subsidy -- estimated at between $60 and $70 billion over the next decade -- will go toward shoring up the Pell Grant program (which helps low-income Americans attend college), health care programs and deficit reduction. Where the Department of Ed has long paid private loan companies like Sallie Mae and Citigroup to issue and manage government-backed student loans, the department will now make all federal loans directly, without the help of a middleman, through its own Direct Loan program.This is a major victory for the Dems and the Obama administration and they should be talking about it as much as possible. If heath care reform left most of us with a sense of the blahs, the reform of the for-profit higher education industry should have us dancing in the streets. At the core of any democracy must be an educated and critical citizenry, something that higher education can create. More importantly, at the core of any democracy must be the possibility of "making it," of actually moving up through economic and social hierarchies as the result of hard work and stamina. For decades higher education provided a way for Americans to do that. But for the past 25 years, with students from the middle and working classes graduating with tens of thousands (often hundreds of thousands) of dollars in debt, higher education has become a form of indentured servitude- indentured to debt service with no chance of getting ahead. Worse, half of all student loan borrowers don't graduate- so now they have debt and no diploma. This will now end, partly. The government, at least, has set the stage for real educational reform. Now universities must do the rest and if they don't, the federal government must look into regulating university salary scales in the same way it must look into Wall Street pay packages that are subsidized with our tax dollars. The ugly truth of higher ed under the Neoliberal economy is that it has become "for profit" with an elite tier of over paid "executives" (presidents, vice presidents, provosts and deans), a few "superstar" faculty who are sought after with salary packages that are far too high for the good they produce, a dwindling core of middle management (tenure-track professors) and a growing number of day laborers (adjunct professors with no job security and usually no benefits who work for a fraction of the pay that tenure track faculty work for). The people who benefited from the Neoliberal university were few and at the very top. The rest of us, including students, suffered the most as the point of higher education became not "education" but the "experience." Universities invested in things like "climbing walls" and perfectly manicured lawns, penthouse apartments in major cities for their presidents and upper management, and far too many "support staff" who do things like hold students hands when they're stressed about exams. It's time for higher ed to get back to basics. Education requires students and professors and reasonably equipped classrooms, dorm rooms, dining halls, basic support staff and medical services. We do not need upper management making half a million dollars a year or a quarter of a million dollars a year or whatever ridiculous salaries they make. We do not need superstar academics who make similar amounts. Students want a good education from professors who care about them, not people who are in the news. Professors want a livable wage and job security and benefits. It's time for some real soul searching in academe. If those among us making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year aren't ready to self-regulate themselves, then it's time for faculty and students and even Congress to band together and throw the bums out.