In an effort to assist students with tuition costs and lessen its campus maintenance burden, The University of Miami announced the launch of an experimental Indentured Student Fellowship that will allow students to defray the costs of their education by agreeing to work for the University for a period of time after completing their coursework.
Students selected to become fellows in the school's "Student Loan Avoidance Through Vocational Effort" program ("SLAVE Fellows") must agree to work for the university during their time at the school and for a period of no-less-than 12-years after completing their degree.
Since announcing the program, over 10-thousand prospective students have applied to be SLAVEs, a level of interest which practically guarantees that the University will eliminate all of its on-campus staffing costs for at least the next two-decades.
“This is amazing! It's a free education and all I have to do is work here as a janitor or something for the next several years. Then look out grad school," said eighteen-year-old Freshman Sarah Matthews, expected to graduate by 2037.
As part of their agreement, UM's SLAVEs must work at least 20-hours a week and are required to take certain mandatory "skills" courses to assist them in fulfilling their contract, including "Basic Sanitation Skills", "Administrative Assistance 101", and "Advanced Menial Labor Theory".
“I’m really enjoying UM! I never knew there was a proper way to mop. I just wish I could ask questions in class or speak to the other students I see on campus,” said Sarah Matthews, referring to the University's rule that speaking to faculty or non-indentured students is a violation of her SLAVE contract and that every violation adds another three years of service to her debt. To avoid confusion for the University's staff and free students, all UM SLAVEs are required to wear bright orange and green jumpsuits as a means of identification.
The University's normally affluent student body, including UM sophomore Britney Moynihan, has shown a great willingness to accept the school's new attendees:
"At first I was really angry daddy wouldn’t send me to like, a fun school, like Arizona State or Bringham-Young, but these denture student whatever things have made my life really great. I can leave my trash literally anywhere I want and they're like forced to pick it up. Even if they don't want to. It's like being back at home and having a thousand Marianas around to pick up after me, but without all of the, you know, attitude or them pretending like their my parents just because they raised me," said Ms. Moynihan, referring to her Bolivian au pair Mariana Sabado, a woman who helped raise Britney from birth and whom considers the 22-year-old a member of her family even though Britney just thinks of her as "the help".
Critics of the program argue that under UM's standard SLAVE contract, most students will be well over forty-years-old before paying off their debt. The University, however, points out that its program has an accelerated repayment option that allows UM's SLAVEs to reduce the time they are required to work on campus by half for every eye, kidney, or lung donated to UM's transplant team.
When asked why she was so willing to become a SLAVE for decades of her life just to get a degree from the University of Miami, Sarah Matthews explained her decision in practical terms:
"I get it, being a SLAVE for 12-years is a lot of time. There's like a movie about that. But if I just took out loans, it's not like I would be able to pay off the six-figure tuition and housing debt I would incur, not to mention the interest, in any less time by getting a job with my psychology degree after graduation."
When asked why she did not chose to attend a more reasonably priced local university, such as FIU or Miami-Dade College, Ms. Matthews stated "UM is an institution. Everyone knows UM because they use to be really really good at football. People remember that, and it makes the degree worth something."
"Even with all of the sacrifices I am making to be here, being a SLAVE at UM is still better than going to FIU," added Ms. Matthews with a flash of the _ hand symbol before leaving to pick up discarded cigarette butts outside of the University's student center.
By Daniel Jimenez of Villain Theater