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  • Morning Bell: A Higher Education Revolution

    Speaking on Friday at the University of Michigan, President Obama declared, “I want this to be a big, bold, generous country where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody is playing by the same set of rules. That’s the America I know. That’s the American I want to keep. That’s the future within our reach.” How did the President propose to achieve his goal? The wrong kind of federal intervention into higher education with the goal of bringing down the cost of attending college.

    The President is right to highlight the rising cost of higher education. Tuition and fees continue to shoot through the roof, now exceeding $17,000 per year, rising on average 8.3 percent at public universities this year. That means medium-income Americans are struggling to send their kids to college, and graduates are leaving school with monstrous debt. Last year in America, total student loan debt surpassed credit card debt. The total bill is expected to exceed $1 trillion this next year, and in 2009, 55 percent of graduating bachelor’s degree students at public colleges were in debt, with an average indebtedness of $19,800 ($26,100 for private college graduates, 65 percent of whom were in debt.)

    One of the President’s solutions to the problem? Conditioning the amount of federal campus-based aid to colleges to slow down tuition. What the President ignores is that college costs have increased 439 percent since 1985, despite a 475 percent increase in federal subsidies such as Pell Grants. In other words, more federal funding hasn’t decreased the cost of attending college.

    The Heritage Foundation’s Stuart Butler explains in National Affairs that the increasing cost of education — and the resulting debt — will make it increasingly difficult for low and moderate-income Americans to afford the cost of college and that this burden, combined with an emergence of new technologies that breed alternatives to the traditional university model, is laying the groundwork for a revolution in higher education:

    Today, competitors are exploring markets that are ill-served by the traditional model, such as working Americans who want to enhance their skills and lower-income potential students looking for much cheaper degrees. Meanwhile, rapid change in information technology is giving creative new entrants a growing technological edge — an essential precondition for transformative change.

    The most obvious technological threat to the comfortable world of higher education is online education. Online learning changes the entire relationship between student and teacher; it enables information to be transferred, and student performance to be monitored, at a fraction of conventional costs. Often called “distance learning,” online education has the potential to completely upend today’s established universities.

    Butler writes that a fundamental restructuring of higher education with dramatically lower costs and increased flexibility for millions of students would be a great benefit to the United States. More Americans would have access to higher education, thereby increasing their mobility and value — and hence their earnings — in the work force. But that doesn’t mean that government’s heavy hand should be used to spur on this innovation, though it may have a role in ensuring quality where taxpayer dollars are at stake. Moreover, there are concerns that established institutions could use government rules to measure “quality” (as the government defines it) to block new entrants and competitors in the market, thereby actually decreasing choice and innovation.

    When it comes to helping Americans save for college and improve the debt burden of graduates, and avoid incurring so much debt, there are steps Congress can and should take. One is to remove the double taxation of all savings, including savings for college. Another is to give “human capital” investments in college education similar tax benefits to investments in physical capital. Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan does that. It would end the taxation of savings and it would allow all families to take a tax deduction for higher education costs, capped at the equivalent cost of four years in a state college. Doing so would encourage families to save for college, rather than taking on more debt.

    America’s higher education system has reached a tipping point, and with its astronomical costs for students, the system is bound to crash as innovators enter the marketplace and offer alternatives for college-bound students. Rather than prop up a failing system, the federal government should help families save for their children’s futures while also stepping back to allow the higher education revolution to unfold.

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    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    55 Responses to Morning Bell: A Higher Education Revolution

    1. Cliff Fill says:

      I have been a professional recruiter for more than 30 years and can tell you that we get very few requests from companies that have a need for degrees in Piano, Chorus, Sound Mixing, Eastern European Art, Drivers Education (really), theater, dance, sports management, etc., etc. Sure they are fun but graduating with an undergraduate or graduate degree in some major with no prospects and a dept of $20,000-100,000 is insane.

    2. Education costs rise as credit allows…….Simple fact…..trace the beginning of credit for education till now and compare with inflation…….education costs have risen at a much faster rate…….

    3. Dale B says:

      There are at least two very different components of post-secondary education: 1) the physical sciences, engineering, and business 2) the liberal arts, humanities, social work, and the like. The physical sciences, engineering, & business do a competent job, for the most part. The remainder tend to propagandize more than educate, inadvertently or purposefully. There have been legitimate increases in costs in the sciences and engineering but in all the rest costs escalate as administrators proliferate and all ignore cost-effective and validated methods of delivering high quality instruction. More money is not the answer. The answer is more difficult because it would involve abandoning antiquated methods and returning to old-style liberal values such as presenting the facts and well-reasoned and balance argument. (Disclosure: I am a retired professor with degrees from U of Kansas, Harvard, and U of Michigan: all three were educational institutions when I was a student.)

    4. Charles N. King IV says:

      While I agree with much of what you said in the article, I remain puzzled as to why the Heritage Foundation will not get behind the total overhaul of our nations tax system. To me that means throwing out income based taxation, which will always be subject to political manipulation. I have been and continue to be a great fan of the "Fair Tax" as written in the books by John Linder and Neal Boortz. Every critique I have read since convinces me that it would be the the most effective jump start this economy has seen in generations and would take politics out of the equation. The secret to effectively analyizing the benefits and drawbacks, if any, would be to analyze it as written, without all the unfounded assumptions and revisions spouted by people who are basically opposed to the idea of it, and, always castigate it before understanding it. By the rhetoric espoused by its opponents , I'm willing to bet 90% of them have never read the books. Untill we get away from punishing the successful, job creation and economic expansion are going to lag. Economic success and social policy are not compatable economically.

    5. Lloyd Scallan says:

      When are we going to realize and accept nothing Obama reads from his teleprompter can be trusted to be factual. Obama has never left his campgain mode.

    6. Gayle says:

      "The wrong kind of federal intervention into higher education with the goal of bringing down the cost of attending college."

      Yo, Mike… where's the verb?

    7. Keith says:

      Your suggestion sounds good, however when has the Moghty "O" ever done anything for the good of America. I do not expect the Teachers unions who control the official education to give you any support either. Until we remove the government and the unions from our eductaion system. It will never be designed for the good of the student.

    8. L.E. Liesner says:

      Government intervention is what's driving the cost of a college education out of reach. The college loans have flooded the campuses with students that are really not qualified to be there, while the colleges raise tuitions to cover the raise in students. It becomes like a dog chasing it's tail, there is no end.The best bet is to get government out of education, in fact get government out oif our lives.

    9. Lou Scanon says:

      There appears to be a suspicious similarity t between increased tuition costs and the rate of Federal intervention. Perhaps as in Housing and Medical Care, the Federal intervention is the driver of inflation.

      Parenthetically, I have researched a number of on-line degree programs recently and my observation is that on-line credits cost the same as on campus credits. Where are the savings?

    10. Tom Steele says:

      The costs of higher education are going to rise as long as federal grants and loans are so easy to get. Also, state funding for community colleges and four year schools must be cut. Then, the schools will have to cut personel and reduce costs or go out of business. Tax free savings accounts will help but most of the inflated costs are due to too much subsitdy from government

    11. AnnArborAl says:

      Another imporatnt appraoch is to simply reduce the total amount of money available for student loans. Colleges are businesses so they will be forced to lower costs if students can't get financing. I believe the primary reason costs have escalated is the ready availability of government backed student loans. Another classic example of good intentions gone seriously wrong.

    12. Big Al says:

      When obstacles are placed in the path of the creative, they tend to seek other alternatives toward accompishing their goals……in this case, the continuing need for providing and obtaining a higher education. Providing an online means for earning a college degree is certainly a viable and less costly alternative for the institutions and the students.

    13. mbrosch says:

      We have a preoccupation with higher education in this country that needs examination. I have often heard employers brag that they use a college education to vet employees, even when that education has nothing to do with the job. The Airlines will not hire a pilot without a degree, regardless of the field of study. In 33 years of pilot training and evaluation I have never seen anything that leads me to conclude that attendance at college produces a better pilot. In fact I could point to college attendance as a factor in producing an employee with higher expectations and a somewhat diminished work ethic. The truth is, employers would be better served if we were schooling more people in the trades and less people in political science and advanced art appreciation.
      By the way, I have two sons working on their second masters degree, neither has even earned a dime in their field.

    14. knowsit says:

      The numbers quoted in this article about Federal subsidies of 475% and and increase in education expenses of 439% prove the point I have been making, and that the cost increases in education are driven by government subsidies.
      Every Federal subsidy to education by the government is met by an equally sized increase in the cost of education, with the driving force being that no college will want to be "leaving money on the table".
      Ironically actual teaching is left increasingly to senior aids to professors, who themselves are becoming more and more politically involves in the most politically driven liberal movements.
      It is the 60's radical activists who are now making up a large majority of campus upper level professors and management, driving the extreme left / liberal policies on campuses, making education a secondary priority.

    15. Jim Bishop says:

      I attended an online "University" and the cost was still over $20K per year. While it is a place to attain the "piece of sheepskin" I was not impressed with the content. It was more indoctrination than education and focused on what I would call a liberal agenda. Environmentalism was a required course in the business degree program. Limbaugh was used repeatedly for examples of rhetoric. It was more than I could take and I dropped out after 6 classes. I just couldn't pull myself to do the work so touted by the obviously liberal "professors" (a lot of which were just graduates with businesses or employed outside) who did it on the side. The cost was way too much for what I signed up to do.

    16. Mike says:

      Education too is a commodity like everything else. Once the unending flow of money dries up, the costs will come down. Simple supply and demand. Adam Smith is right.

      Here in California, the UC Regents set the price of a quality education in state schools. In other words, government sets the price. Government will also give government loans to students (that must be paid back of course, plus interest) to pay for attendance at those schools. I recently had the opportunity to question a gang protesting students that wanted to take money from millionaires to pay for students education. "It's only fair!" I told them that they're protesting in the wrong area. They needed to hold their protest in Sacramento and try to get Governor Brown to listen. Of course the response I received was they had 'studied' the situation and decided that taking from millionaires would fix their problem. It's only 'fair'.

    17. Sam says:

      A Return to a monetary 'Gold Standard' Would bring Trust and value to all Ideas. The Truth is the "cash value" of an Idea.

    18. Joe Rogers says:

      An issue seldom raised is the low teaching loads of faculty members. Adding even one course per year would dramatically lower costs.

    19. ThomNJ says:

      In the 1990's when my wife was trying to finish her Bachelor's degree at Farleigh Dickinson her tuition went up every single semester by at least 10% – that is per SEMESTER!

      Fundamentally, a lot of things need to change – including the insidious method the schools have of basing financial assistance upon the income of anybody connected to the student; thereby allowing the schools to choose how much one can AFFORD. When my stepdaughter was headed for college some years back, the school she chose wanted her father's tax returns (he was the one who had promised to pay) – but then the school turned around and wanted my returns as well. I was angry and told them that my income was none of their business.

      If schools got rid of thePC-friendly courses that teach a student NOTHING about gaining a skill that is useful in the real world, their costs would also go down. Getting rid of "professors" who don't teach would also be a start. Getting rid of paid sabbaticals because of tenure would also be wise – tell me what other job allows one to leave the office for a year and get paid in the process – purely to go and do "research" or write a book?

    20. Pete says:

      There are so many fees on my son's tuition bill, that the cost of classes is a side issue. I am sure that the list can be wittled down so that more students could afford to go to school. I don't remember having all these fee's when I went to school. The cost of his dorm room is about the same as my mortgage each month. I certainly see why the kids move off campus as soon as they can.

      More federal funds will not get the price of an education down. The administrations will just take more money in personal compensation.

    21. Sunny says:

      What gets me is Obama acts like he didn’t “have a fair chance.” I bet if he released his school records we would find out that he was actually an “International student” here on a complete FREE RIDE, including, PELL, food stamps, free housing, power, medical and a stipend to spend as he pleased!
      Give me a break, this guy is the most coddled, lazy, spoon-fed, indolent , UNGRATEFUL ‘American’ I have ever seen.

    22. Sarasota John says:

      I really don't care what private schools charge for degrees, however all public colleges need to reduce cost. Get professors teaching not TA, only courses directly related to degree choice not basket weaving, lose tenure, and run the entire college as a business for profit but return the profit to reduce cost to students or more accurately their parents. Our public schools at all levels are country clubs for teachers, those who can do and those who can't teach, and that is OK but they are over paid and overhead is too high at public schools.

      • Brenda says:

        I have over 30 years experience in administrative tasks. I have been everything from a file clerk, intel anaylsis, budget analysis, private secretary, and office manager. But, when I apply for a job, they want a college degree. Basket weaving sounds nice. They don't really care what your degree is in, they just want one.

    23. Toni Hupp says:

      Most of our graduating high school students are not even ready for higher educatin. Their math and science skills are extremely poor. They have not had Civics so have no knowledge of the Consitution. Most of the Freshman college math and English classes are remedial…stuff they should have learned in grade school and high achool. B average today would equal a D 30 years ago.
      The USA at one time ranked 1st in the world in education. Now we are at the bottom of the heap. So much for government run education.
      So, sending dummies to college for free is great. About all these kid will get out of college will be getting indeoctination into Socialist World.

    24. Mike Carpe says:

      Every thinking (say: Check writing) parent should counsel their children to stay out of higher ed for two years. Before any student signs that note, they should consider staying out for two years. Crushing debt you can never avoid, teachers making $70k in their 50's for life; the last Oregon football coach, is paid $141,000 A MONTH! FOREVER! Then and only then would we have a chance against the racket called University.

    25. Gilbert Doan says:

      The underlying patttern – and especially the underlying intention – are embarrassingly clear (or should be)!

    26. jrcowboy49 says:

      Sports Scholarships?
      The cost of a college education is a direct result of their operating costs. I am concerned with the overly inflated salaries of College Presidents, professors, tenure, and sports related costs. Do we need scholarships for sports? I thought scholarships were for educational studies. Do we need $5 million a year for a football coach? What is the primary goal of a college? I thought it was an education! How many football/basketball players actually graduate or get meaningless degrees. Colleges have focused more on producing athletes for Pro football and basketball that produce many un-graduated student who's all too familiar response is "you know" or "I don't got this or that". Colleges have lost their primary focus and really need to rethink these issues and the costs that go with them.

    27. Jeanne Stotler says:

      With, Departmen heads and professors, along with tee deans and presidents of univrsitites getting HUGE retirement packages, it forces the cost up, utilities have risen aswell, some universities have very old buildings, ie: Georgetown, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton and Yale, these ned to be repaired. I gad. in 1949 and attended GeorgetwnUniversity School of Nursing, it was a three year program and the cost for the first year was $700.00 including Room and board, & uniforms , the second year was $500.00 an so was the third. This was a lot of money back then BUT it was affordable to most and there were scholarships available. These benefits for life were unheard of and with there coming also came huge increases in the ost for everything. They want to lower the payments to senior citizens BUT no one talks about eliminatng these HUGE give aways, Something sure isn't right.

    28. Josh says:

      The university I attend charges more for online and/or distance learning classes.

    29. M. Tobin says:

      What the US needs is better education at the high school level and more emphasis on teaching skills, rather than on obtaining a liberal arts degree, which does not really equip anyone for earning a livelihood. Many of the most successful people are college drop-outs.

    30. Andy - Texas says:

      So higher education is expensive. So what? Graduating with a $20,000 bill is not the end of the world; most of us have gone through it and come out on the other side with a better job, better pay, and better options in life than we would have if we hadn't incurred the debt. Has the President ever heard of “keeping your eye on the ball." We all have to sacrifice now for a better future. I graduated with $23,000 in debt, had a family, and lived in poverty for 8 years after graduating b/c of loan repayment for myself and my wife. But guess what? We are doing 2-3 times better than our friends who didn't graduate from college. To the youth of America: you're not the first to face the many daunting challenges that come with college (no, financing is not the only one), and you won't be the last. So stop the whining, roll up your sleeves, sacrifice a little, and get to work. It’s much better on the other side, and a lot of fun in the middle.

    31. Bobbie says:

      “I want this to be a big, bold, generous country where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody is playing by the same set of rules." the president shouldn't bother himself with these unconstitutional desires. I believe it is incumbent upon individual Americans to want the same thing dealing with matters within their reach and intellect. to want a big, bold generous country, doesn't come by force. To make things "fair' is up to individuals including "paying a fair share." too many people have gotten away without playing by the same set of rules that the president is in full favor of, increasing taxes on everyone else to protect those the president gives a free ride to playing by their own set of rules.

    32. gabe says:

      Just read an interesting piece written by a former dean/provost about the true costs/value of college these days. Rising costs and watered down academics. For those interested: http://goo.gl/iGxIJ

    33. Howard Wooldridge says:

      Tuition is sky-high for one simple reason…the 50 states have built 2,000,000 prison beds in the past 30 years to house the violators of Drug Prohibition. Sadly drugs are cheaper, stronger and still readily available to our kids = no return on this trillion dollar nonsense of a policy.

      In 1980 states spent about 1-2% of their budget on prisons. Now it is 7-8% Parents and students have been making up the difference.

    34. Ron W. Smith says:

      There's definitely room for on-line offerings to supplement the standard classroom and teachers model so long the way in higher education. Note, though, that I said "supplement." A few people can no doubt go the on-line route only and not only succeed, but benefit without significant loss from what would be gained through regular attendance at an institution of higher education. Note that I said "a few people."
      As a retired university professor and one involved in distance learning toward the end of my career, I know well the benefits to students of being in a classroom interacting on a regular basis. Learning how to think, how to question, how to use evidence (or misuse it) in argument, and so on are important skills not easily picked up in solitude and they're not easily measured They're closer to combat skills in that they need real-life situations for engagement, practice and mastery.
      I'm not ready to defend the high cost of higher education any more than I am the high cost of health care. Both need improvement toward affordability for everyone. They're essential and should not be subject to free market forces that drive their costs out of reach for too many. The on-line possibilities in higher education are a step in the right direction. We need steps in the right direction in health care, too, steps that will help arrest spiraling costs and assure that all have adequate coverage.
      Truly educated people, like truly healthy ones, are the result of right practices, right conditions, even equal opportunity. Care should be taken in the changes made to bring affordability into the picture.

    35. America1 says:

      The article and comments are all well and good as far as it goes. The real question about government's involvement in education is, do they have any Constitutional authority to be involved at all. However government does get involved, it should not be allowed to provde any influences to education at all. It is not in the powers delegated to the Federal government, but left to the states. I would say only tax incentives, but my belief is the government does not have the Constitutional authority to use any tax laws to influence behaviour. Of course, the Constitution to most lawmakers is an inconvenience.

    36. Robert says:

      First thing to look at is ROI (Return on Investment) What am I going to make when I get out. Should I go to a 52,000 school or go to county college for two years then go to a state college. The State schools will be over run.
      Why couldn't courses from a great University be run over the internet? Because of Unions. The online schools are still way to expensive. Why couldn't someone tape the finest courses from around the country and post them on You tube. Pay for them as you go. You could take the tests at your local Community College. I bet you could get through them faster. Kids could take them during high school and get jump on their degree. NOPE UNIONS WOULD NEVER ALLOW IT. IT WOULD OF ALREADY HAPPENED.

    37. Therese Kelly says:

      The only two getting rich are the two in the WH who are riping the taxpayers off of those working,or those retired after years of work,or legally disabled.THEY ARE DISGUSTING.

    38. Captdot says:

      One thing I read is that salaries for coaches and athletic directors increased 35 % this year. Fiscal responsibility must take these costs into consideration. I know athletics bring money into universities, but I doubt little if any gets to the general coffers to fund infrastructure, etc.

    39. none says:

      As the distribution of intelligence in society is arguably at best holding its own, although likely skewed lower as those who would have fallen by the wayside years ago are now subsidized by the rest; it seems unreasonable to assume any greater percentage are actually capable of some measure of academic achievement, unless it's measure is itself adjusted lower. Throwing other people's money at the fundamental problem, being that you can't fix stupid, isn't the answer to anything, and the same reason that "No Child Left Behind" is and will continue to be a failure; except of course for teacher unions love it, as it enables their ranks to grow at others expense, just as universities seek the same, i.e. more of other peoples money in exchange for empty promises, as its largely become just another business run largely by politicians, maneuvering to suck as much from society as it can with the governments support.

      What's the answer; simply seek to educate society to each's true capability of use to society; no more, no less; be it a engineer, accountant, store clerk, house painter, or hole digger. A college education is beyond the true capability of most if we were honest and didn't lower standards, let's stop waisting time and money pretending otherwise.

    40. CiaoGino says:

      Distance learning is an important part of the future of education and should dramatically lower the cost per semester hour of a college education. But I note that the per hour charges for on-line are not significantly lower than those for regular classroom instruction – in fact, they are often the same. I'm at a loss to explain it. Any help??

    41. belleboy says:

      He's using an old propaganda technique in order to get re-elected. That is, tell big lies and repeat them endlessly and then the ignorant, useful idiots will believe and vote for the liar.
      Obama is very glib when talking about higher education. But when did any of us ever see his college records?

    42. Joseph McKennan says:

      First– a person needs to know that nothing worthwhile is free. Government assistance is beneficial in pursuing a higher education but should not become a lifeline.
      Young people have to assume responsibility for their own education. I do not believe that they are ENTITLED to it.
      I achieved an education because I am very stubborn. I accepted the Pell grants and student loans etc. gladly in my pursuit of a higher education but I remembered that SOMEDAY I would have to pay it back. I became a non-traditional student and worked my way through using loans more as a supplement. I am now a microbiologist but it took me a long time and I worked my butt off. Oh– another thing……. I did it on my own! My student loans are PAID IN FULL.

    43. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      There are those who believe that higher education's highly overrated. There's a high tech official who's paying
      college students to drop out and form their own businesses. Did Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates, graduate from college
      before they started Apple and Microsucks, (I mean Microsoft?), no, they didn't. They dropped out of college.
      Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, and Steve Jobs, dropped out of a small college in California. He later went on
      to give the commencement address at Stanford. Not bad for a college drop out. Ain't it?

    44. Jim Smith says:

      All these comments and nobody bothers to point out the existence of the American Opportunity Credit__and the Lifetime Learning Credit? These are ways that people who pay taxes can recoup college__expenses. There are also numerous state-sponsored tax advantaged savings plans, and you don't__have to live in the state to invest! Let's take a step back from the Ideology folks!

    45. Donald DaCosta says:

      The internet is the key to reversing the astronomical rise in tuition costs and those institutions of higher learning that don't restructure and adapt to this trend will likely fall on their own sword. This will take some time. Distance education is still in an embryonic stage and will remain so until the degrees offered and the graduates produced begin to effectively compete with those produced by conventional means. Given the potential disastrous losses in tuition revenues that will result the big universities and colleges will be slow to open their cyber gates until free market forces drag them kicking and screaming into the game.

      Given the success of the intellectual left and other radical elements in infiltrating and becoming a predominant force within the halls of traditional academia, perhaps, monitored carefully, this long term trend can be reversed as well. This might be the more significant benefit than the affordability issue.

      This is not however simply a free market issue. The products produced in this enterprise are, to a great extent, America’s future. As has been amply demonstrated, courses and course materials will need to receive constant oversight, preferably by concerned citizenry, to avoid the anti-American, anti Jewish, anti-Capitalist, pro Islam indoctrination evident among America's student population.

    46. Pamela says:

      I am so sick of this guy campaigning all THE TIME He sickens to so much and he's as dumb as what he thinks he knows and talks about. He and all the liberal Dem's are the reason things have gone up and continue to go up. AND all the CAREER politicians who live off all of us and continue to play games to get votes and DO NOTHING to get rid of welfare for those who SHOULD BE WORKING etc. And the unions, don't get me started. Those that have pay for those that have not but the problem is that the have not's have as many goodies as those of us who work our butts off to get there and just like my daughter-in-law who should have gotten many breaks ended up with 360,000 in student loan because she wanted to be a doctor to help people . HER DREAM from a family that lived on $10,000a year and the fat of the land. SHE NEVER COMPLAINS and they are still 160,000 in the hole with the loans after 10years of working etc. So mr. O BETTER LEARN THE TRUTH about student loans and how people really make ends meet and not how many illegals he can send free to OUR SCHOOLS and give loans to and free this and that. I PRAY EVERYDAY AND EVERYNITE THAT THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF HIM AND THE REST OF CAREER POLITICIANS AND GAMES THEY ALL PLAY AND VOTE HIM OUT OF OFFICE.

    47. Bob Iveren says:

      I sure wish the authors of Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner, (or some people like them) would root out the base cause of why college fees have increased faster than inflation, then we would have something definitive to work on/problem solve. Health care would be yet another great topic for their type of analysis.

    48. Anne Galivan says:

      There is one simple way for kids to go to college without debt: live at home.

      There are very few families in this country that do not live within driving distance of a state college. Even if it's an hour drive, students can work their schedules so they only have to attend school two or three days a week.

      The biggest problem with the whole "paying for college" issue is that our culture has conditioned parents and teenagers to believe that the WORST possible thing is for our children to still live at home after the age of 17.

      I have four children. My two oldest are both college grads who lived at home while going to college. My oldest son had such high academics that he was essentially paid to go to college since he didn't need to use his scholarship money to pay for a dorm room or apartment.

      My middle son is dual-enrolled at the local community college (I have homeschooled all my children and they dual-enroll in their junior and senior years of high school). My son will have 42 college credits when he starts at FSU in the fall and he will live at home. He will have no debt when he graduates in three years with a degree in computer engineering.

      When you raise your children right, they are a pleasure to have around. I love that my kids live at home while they're in college…and it allows me to continue to be influence in their life decisions.

    49. Doug Nicholson says:

      "…college costs have increased 439 since 1985, despite a 475 percent increase in federal subsidies such as Pell Grants." DUH! Does no one else see the correlation here? As long as subsidies continue to go up, so will tuition costs. DUH!

    50. Doug Nicholson says:

      Although colleges and universities are largely staffed by anti-capitalist instructors, the administrations are still run on a capitalistic model. They will charge whatever the traffic will bear. When the government makes student loans easily available to just about any would-be student, tuition and other college expenses will automatically rise.

    51. PADDY O says:

      Has anyone done a study to compare Government funds given to Universities as a percentage of their total budget, with the percentage of the budget that goes for increases in salaries in that same period?
      Oh, that's right, it would be the Universities that would conduct that study, right?

    52. Steven A. Sylwester says:

      Mike Brownfield,

      Just so you know: http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2012/02/he

      I do not know if you moderate the comments for your own articles, but you should if you do not.

      I submitted my comment (now at the above link) when no comments were yet posted for this article. In fact, my very reasonable hope was that my comment might be posted as the first comment. But, alas, my comment was rejected by the blog moderator. At this point, you might safely post this comment as a last comment after all the readers have already left. Good enough. Just do it.

      What my comment reveals is startling. It startled me, and I am already jaded to the point where all of my illusions are long-ago shattered. I am so jaded that I am now convinced that liberalism is a sinking ship and that conservatism is the last hope for America. However, conservatism akin to an ostrich with its head buried in the sand is as doomed as any pie-in-the-sky liberalism; lies, half-truths, wild imaginations, wishful thoughts — call them what you may — but know this: anyone who does not look at the stark bare-naked problem plainly and close-up is basing his/her thinking on guesses that have been formed by biases and prejudices.

      Do Not Be Stupid. That is my First Rule for myself, and it should be your First Rule, too. Think about things as if your life depended on it — as if your children's lives depended on it — as if the life of your nation depended on it. Throw out "Stupid" — eliminate it! Confront the truth of the matter, whatever that truth might be.

      The truth is this: at UMich (and at every other university in America with a similar student : teacher : staff ratio), the student must pay as much as $11,230.00 in tuition costs per year to pay for health insurance for someone else, even if the student has no health insurance at all for him/herself, and that — a translated $1,200/month/employee premium — pays for an excellent full-coverage policy on a group health insurance basis. That is an outrage, yet that is the buried truth fueling the rising costs of higher education.

      Mr. Brownfield, have you ever participated at the table in a labor contract negotiation from the first meeting through the last meeting? I have — twice! It is an excruciating process, and the second time through shatters every illusion you ever had, and then crushes the shards of your illusions to sand and then to dust before your eyes. Finally, after all of that and the pondering of all of that for years thereafter, the sun comes out again and you can see things clearly like you have never seen them before. That is the vantage point from which I am sharing what I know.

      What I know is this: The paradigm requiring employers to fund and process group health insurance policies that are contracted with profit-driven private health insurance companies is what is destroying America's economy by destroying America's businesses and America's educational institutions. The paradigm thrives on a self-perpetuating collusion that is plain-as-day to anyone with eyes to see it, and the collusion is unavoidable and inevitable because the Health Care Loop is a closed economic system that is not vulnerable to free market corrections except at the point of total economic collapse at the national level. I am not kidding — not at all. If pragmatic conservative capitalists cannot see what I see, America is doomed to a slow death that will be catastrophic in the end.

      Get This Straight: A free market economy must have free markets that are absolutely and completely vulnerable to market corrections in every respect or there is no free market economy at all. Instead, there is only the illusion of a free market economy that is in truth hiding a fertile ground on which economic cancers will inevitably sprout and grow and thrive wherever market corrections are not allowed to happen until after the economic cancer has already metastasized and economic death is certain. That is dire — and that is where we are now.

      Do not fiddle around with this. Do not create false hopes around illusions that hide the truth. The problem can be solved. The problem must be solved. And conservatives must lead the way.

      Steven A. Sylwester

    53. recce1 says:

      One has to wonder if this is but another example of squeezing out the middle class. The rich can afford to send their children to college and the poor are being subsidized. It's the middle class who will see their children denied a higher education, even if those children score higher on entrance examinations.

      We are going the route of many third world nations, a two class system; the very rich and the poor. Yet it was the rise of a strong middle class that gave rise to democratic institutions. Could it be our elite see no need for such institutions?

    54. lennox says:

      It is great to plan for lower cost of college for all Americans. A bigger problem is preparing the pre-college students with below passing grades, absentees to the school, the lack of parents becoming involved. I see that education the parents in becoming involved in their child's education instead of putting the burden on the gov.

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