A relatively innocuous tweet by student loan giant Sallie Mae caused an eruption of disdain and hate on Twitter Monday.
The nation's leading education-related financial services company drew the ire of mostly black Twitter users far and wide, and became a nationwide trending topic in the process, when it tweeted a self-congratulatory message acknowledging its 40th anniversary.
Today we're 40 years old!
— Sallie Mae (@SallieMae) May 13, 2013
According to Sallie Mae and Ipsos' 2012 study, "How America Pays For College", the percentage of tuition costs paid for through borrowed funds is higher among black students and their parents than that of their white counterparts. This may explain why the reaction amongst Twitter users of color was so swift and visceral.
Sallie Mae also made news recently as The Huffington Post reported that some of the highly profitable company's biggest investors are university endowments and teachers' pension funds. According to the report:
The previously unreported investments mean that education professionals are able to profit twice off the same student: first by hiking the cost of tuition, then through dividends and higher valuations on their holdings in Sallie Mae, the largest student lender and loan servicer in the country, which profits by charging relatively high interest rates on its loans and not refinancing high-rate loans after students graduate and get well-paying jobs.
Check out some the more colorful responses to Sallie Mae's anniversary in the slideshow below.