How US Should Rein in College Tuition, Curb Student Debt

Career College Central Summary:

  • Parents don’t need an army of economists to tell them college is too expensive and too many students will default on their education loans.
  • An economy that creates too few good-paying jobs is part of the problem, but colleges and universities are spending foolishly and not providing the kind of education students need to compete.
  • Eighty percent of students attend public colleges and universities and, at most, inflation-adjusted spending per student has hardly changed over the last 25 years.
  • Meanwhile, colleges and universities increasingly compete for students by shifting resources from educational purposes into athletic arenas, lavish student centers, and other frivolous amenities, euphemistically justified as building community and enhancing the student experience.
  • Compelling elite institutions, which already offer scholarships to qualified disadvantaged students, to enroll additional low-income students would put the latter into competitive environments they cannot handle.
  • Their prospects for completing a degree and paying off their debt would be less than if they enrolled at a middle-range state college.
  • The whole regulatory process would become political and subject to abuse, but lobbying and gaming bureaucracies are what university presidents and faculty do best.
  • Many historically black state colleges would lose applicants to elite institutions and be among the most vulnerable to losing federal aid, an outcome liberals would not tolerate.
  • In the end, the only institutions not receiving high enough ratings to maintain full access to federal loans would be the for-profit colleges that mainstream academics absolutely loathe.
  • A better solution would be to compel colleges and universities to be more careful about the programs they offer and how much money their students borrow. For example, deny access to federal student loans to institutions with more than 10 percent of their former students behind in payments or 20 percent of their students failing to pay off their debts within 15 years of first enrollment.

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