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Is Higher Education in America Imperiled?

March 8, 2021

By Edward Snow   

Thorny national issue has percolated just below the surface in troubling times

The 2020 U.S. Presidential election is barely behind us but astrologers already are looking ahead to 2024, when the country’s citizens once again go to the polls to choose a national leader.

By then, we’re probably done with Covid-19 and the horrific disruption caused by this insidious virus. There’s hardly a chance the page will have turned on churlish partisan political rhetoric, but the extreme drift towards insurrection, domestic terrorism and the like is an aberration that likely will be marginalized over time.

In the political camps, polarization is extant but civil disobedience is not a banner that’s likely to fly high for long in the coming astrological weather.

It’s unlikely anyone will be experiencing an “ask what you can do for your country” moment by the time Election Day 2024 rolls around. But Chicago astrologer and educator Omari Martin, MAFM, thinks it’s possible some progress will have been made in dealing with a thorny national issue that has percolated just below the surface in the current cycle.

“President Biden’s victory last November practically assures that economic concerns related to the mushrooming student debt crisis in America will move to the front burner as the new administration’s priorities are more fully identified and energized,” he says.

Martin is a life member of the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA) and the Organization of Professional Astrologers (OPA). He is President of Friends of Astrology, Inc., a Chicago-based astrological organization, and Chairman of Kepler College of the Astrological Arts and Sciences. He teaches
accounting and finance courses at Harold Washington College in Chicago, and is treasurer and a member of the executive board for Astrology News Service, Inc.

“Student loan debt is a very big problem. At this time, it has grown to approximately $1.5 trillion, which makes it the second largest debt category in the U.S. behind housing. Student debt is problematic because it impacts the ability of Generation X and Generation Y (millennials) to be self-sufficient purchasers of big ticket items, like housing and autos.

“At today’s high levels, student debt is working as a drag on the economy,” he noted.

In December of last year, Martin says planets Jupiter and Saturn were energetically sharing the same Zodiacal degree on the 360-degree horoscope wheel, aligned in what astrologers and astronomers call a conjunction. The astrological community reads a great deal into the Jupiter/Saturn cycle, which roughly renews every 20 years when this conjunction occurs on cue.

“Jupiter and Saturn are the business planets, and their conjunction coincides with the start of a new business cycle. Astrologically, Jupiter rules higher education. The conjunction was exact at zero degrees of Aquarius, which is the sign of humanitarian and universal brotherhood. In this sign Jupiter’s participation in the human drama is more generous and expansive,” he explained.

Martin says the Biden Administration may address the student debt crisis by canceling some portion of the debt. From the student borrower’s perspective, this help should arrive sooner rather than later as the next stressful 90-degree aspect between Jupiter and Saturn will be forming in the heavens approximately three months before the 2024 Presidential election.

In the battle of gas giants that ensues, we’re likely to see Jupiter’s optimism dialed back or mitigated by Saturn’s more practical, realistic and strident approach to problem resolution, he suggests.

The other major planetary player impacting potential outcomes in the current cycle is tiny Pluto, the influencer astrologers have linked with transformation, cultural angst and revolutionary zeal. The planet’s fingerprints were all over the unconscionable January 6 uprising in the nation’s capitol as Pluto inched closer to the position it occupied 245 years ago in July 1776. And the transiting planet has also been causally implicated in the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed more than half a million lives in the U.S. alone.

On March 10, 2022, Pluto will reach the exact degree in Saturn ruled Capricorn that it occupied at the time American colonists signed their Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. The expectation is that the slow-moving planet will enliven what promises to be spirited, possibly ugly, midterm elections in the U.S. six months later in November.

But insurrection will have no support in the White House. And its doubtful law enforcement agencies will let their collective guard down, as happened before, he said.

Martin describes a different type of revolutionary energy that is profoundly changing the way Americans learn and share knowledge. Earlier in this century, Pluto’s transit through the sign of Sagittarius “transformed the model for higher education in America.”

Martin says the educational system was transformed by what came to be known as distance or online education, which proliferated and ultimately became a mainstream commodity or fixture. As part of this transformation, the for-profit sector of higher education expanded significantly, creating opportunities for many to more economically complete a college degree, obtain certification or earn an advanced degree online. Then non-profit colleges and universities began offering online classes and degree programs as well.

These distance learning programs helped colleges and universities limp through in survival mode as the Covid pandemic interfered with human enterprise at every layer of existence. But proliferation of these programs comes at a time when traditional demand on the education system is slowing. “The potential number of students will be less with Generation X and Generation Y compared with the Baby Boomers that came before,” Martin says.

Meanwhile, at colleges and universities across the land, tuition costs continue to rise. “We’re definitely in a transitional period where institutions of higher learning will be forced to leverage resources to cut costs. Survival is at stake,” he said.

On the demand side, Martin says prospective students and their families must weigh the rising costs of a college education against potential short- and long-term benefits. Once again, the challenge loops back to finances.

“More progressive government funding programs would help. Currently, much more money from the Federal budget is being spent on the military than on higher education,” he said.

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About the author

Edward Snow is Managing Editor of the Astrology News Service. He is a former news reporter, publicist and public relations executive and has studied astrology for many years.

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