Saturday, December 05, 2009

Tuition Inflation

Full article:
...colleges have learned they can charge whatever the traffic will bear for tuition, even during a deep recession, because they know the government will keep increasing financial aid for low income students. As long as the aid spigot is turned on for the poor, the colleges can get away with gouging middle income families because those are the ones that traditionally put up and shut up.

The upshot is that the college cartel bleeds middle income parents dry, keeps their children in debt for years after graduation, and inexorably drives the USA toward fully socialized higher education...
My father told me, years ago, that college tuition only got out of control when government got into the aid business.
Is there any way to break up the cartel? Yes, but it would take a revolt against the university system, which started out as benign and progressed to a tyranny that is wholly supported by society's inertia,
15 years ago, when my daughters were born, I was sure that by the time they were college-aged, the system would have been up-ended, by some combination of technology and revolt. The technology disruption has been slow in coming, and the revolt non-existent.


  1. Seems like the other problem is that way too many people go to college anyway. It's kind of heresey to say anything other than every American should go to college, but like the HS diploma a few decades ago, a bachelor's degree is getting less and less meaningful outside perhaps of hard sciences.

    There is so much middle class status anxiety too that is convinced that any amount of debt is worth it to get that ticket punched, and probably a concomitant movement toward vocational majors that will have a payoff for that debt - such as majoring in accounting - which seems like training to me, as opposed to education. The bare minimumn credential for professional employability now is a bachelor's degree but it seems like a lot of the training-oriented majors would be better off in some system other than a 4-year degree.

  2. Anonymous08:54

    I agree with both of you. We said years ago when both of you were in college that things had to change, but they have not - other than to get worse.

  3. Yep. Arts & Letters had a link to a good roundtable discussion on the subject of how many students should go on to college: