Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Soaring college costs promote inequality

Nicholas Lehman of the New Yorker has written an important column about how the soaring costs of higher education are perpetuating growing inequality.

Lehman writes:

"In higher education, the United States may be on its way to becoming more like the rest of the world, with a small group of schools controlling access to life membership in the élite. And higher education is becoming more like other areas of American life, with the fortunate few institutions distancing themselves ever further from the many. All those things which commencement speakers talk about—personal growth, critical-thinking skills, intellectual exploration, breadth of learning—will survive at the top institutions, but other colleges will come under increased pressure to adopt the model of trade schools. Student loans open access to students, and give colleges more freedom. Obama and Romney will have plenty to disagree about, and it’s good that the interest rate on student loans isn’t on the list. For the federal government to pump extra tuition money into the system, in the form of low-cost loans, in order to spread opportunity more widely, and to allow more schools to provide more than skills instruction, seems like a small price to pay for the kind of society it buys." -

The entire article is linked here.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

As soon as schools like MATC STOP giving students money to "live on" in the form of grants and loans, we will be much further ahead. How much of taxpayer money is wasted when students use the FA system to "survive". They probably shouldn't be in school then.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be prudent to try to lower the cost of high education instead of expecting students to borrow more money? Sine 1986 inflation has gone up 115%. The cost of college tuition has gone up 498%. If tuition cost $10,000 in 1986, and it had increased with inflation the cost would be $21,500 today. Instead tuition has increased to $59,800. More than 2 1/2 times the inflation rate.

Lowering the cost of education = lower borrowing for students at any interest rate. Treat the root of the problem (cost of education), not the symptom (interest rates).

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