Mortgaging Our College Youth

September/21/2011 16:35PM
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One segment of our country has been totally unaffected by the recession, or recessions, of the past 3 years. Colleges and universities keep raising tuition, hiring employees, getting private donations, and keep tenured professors whose classes are taught by assistants while they consult or write books or travel.

From the academic year 2005 to the past academic year ending in June, here are the tuition raises: pubic 4 year: 24%, private 4 year 17%, and public 2 year 11%.

How can these institutions justify these raises when the economy is in the tank? Today 66% of undergraduate students now borrow money at four-year colleges. They accumulate an average of $24,700 from these loans by graduation.

Another key statistic tells a lot. The average median family income for people with at least a bachelor’s degree is now over ninty thousand a year.

Because Obama chose to corner the market on student loans, this is a Freddie and Fannie deal in the making. Colleges and Universities can keep raising tuition because our Federal Government is covering the cost increases. But, the poor student who can’t get a job after graduation is paying the tab. Plus, the government, since junior can’t make the loan payments while living at home and working at Starbucks.

Many top private colleges and universities have billions in the bank. But, they keep increasing tuition. Public universities keep pushing for out of state students since they pay more tuition. Forcing in-state students to go out of state and pay more tuition.

This whole system is broken. There is no legal threat for collusion to keep the entire universe of academia from raising tuition in sync.

Since only sons and daughters of the wealthy have the money to pay cash for these onerous tuition fees, and few can get scholarships to pay the freight, the vast majority are left to take out loans from our Federal government. To qualify, one must only show need. To succeed, one must only stay in school. Those who don’t become sub-prime loans. Even those who do become sub-prime if they can’t get a job.

The only solution is not good. When tuition gets too high, enrollments will drop. Our pool of educated professionals will drop. Already, businesses are asking to have more work visas for foreign employees to fill the pool today. Is letting tuition get so high that we let this happen the right answer?

Who can stop the greed, and how much will our government lose in bad loans ,to justify that greed of the people who run these institutions? Enrollment at two year colleges are up. And, the average percentage of student loans is much lower with 62% graduating with no debt. Many work and attend school at the same time.

There’s lot’s of focus on the educational problems in K-12 schools today. But, few seem to be looking at what greed is doing to the post-high school world of academia. It’s serious and it’s getting worse. If a full-blown recession can’t dampen tuition costs, what can?

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