Monday, June 9, 2014

A Good Salon Article on College Tuition In America


You should read the whole article, but here are some of the best bits

Over the three decades of the tuition spiral, by far the most forthright antagonist of the inflation-happy colleges was the Reagan-era culture warrior/education secretary William Bennett, who seemed to delight in blunt statements like this one: “Some of our colleges and universities charge what the market will bear. . . . The heart of the matter is that colleges raise costs because they can.” Were some member of the compromise-minded Obama team to talk like that today the centrist earth below Washington DC would gape in outrage and swallow them up...
Democrats today worship education, while Republicans today worship the market, neither of which faith has brought us close to a solution. The efforts of the Clinton administration, for example, were almost unbelievably feeble: With great fanfare, the Democrats streamlined the student loan process, proposed a tax cut for parents who paid for college, and—hooray—cracked down on student borrowers. (“We have tracked down defaulters and made them pay,” Bill Clinton boasted in 1997.)

They are happy to talk about the “return on investment” when it’s a vague promise of a million bucks for anyone who pays up and goes to college; when someone actually takes them at their word and tries to measure the claim, it seems that fundamental principles are being trampled...
The Reagan administration was always hostile to universities and loved to bemoan the tuition spiral; what’s more, over the period in question, the universities themselves embraced a hyper-leftist public image that helped them distract attention from the catastrophe they have visited upon the nation’s young.
As the article suggests, the tuiton spiral has been mistakenly thought to be running out of steam before. However,  I have had more and more conversations with current and former students, parents, and others questioning whether a college degree is all it is cracked up to be.

I will say this with conviction and as someone with a degree from a fairly respectable European university: going to college is a great thing for all kinds of reasons besides improved employment prospects, but it is not worth what the American universities will charge you for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment