As Student Loan Debt Increases…

On Sunday, The Attleboro Sun Chronicle posted an editorial about the ‘perks’ many of our college-level administrators and teachers receive. As more money becomes available for student loans, colleges have no reason to cut their costs or seriously consider how they spend their money. The Sun Chronicle pointed out some of the things currently impacting the cost of a college education.

The article reports:

Massachusetts state university costs students around $9,000 a year, or 24 percent less than the average New England private university.

But that could be changing, putting the economic future of many Massachusetts citizens – and the fiscal future of the state as a whole – in jeopardy.

As an example, at Bridgewater State University, which draws scores of undergraduates from the local area, students face a potential $700 increase in student fees next fall, the largest hike since 2007.

Bridgewater State’s board of trustees is already projecting a 4 percent reduction in department budgets alongside the increase in fees, as Sun Chronicle correspondent Kayla Canne noted in an April 9 story.

Since 2007, the state’s Department of Higher Education says, tuition and fees at Bridgewater gradually increased from $5,866 to $8,928.

Part of this is due to the failure of the Legislature to fully fund the state’s higher education budget, particularly the $8 million in union contracts that universities have negotiated with faculty and staff.

But it also makes it all the harder to justify the perks of office handed out to top university administrators.

Dana Mohler-Faria, Bridgewater’s ex-president, cashed in his unused sick and vacation time for a one-time payment of $269,984, accepted a $183,421 annual pension in addition to an annual $100,000 consulting contract with the school. (Mohler-Faria eventually gave up the consulting contract after facing criticism.) His perks were hardly unique, however. A recent story in The Sun Chronicle by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that presidents and other top administrators at public colleges and universities are provided houses, cars, free tuition for their spouses and children, country club dues and other perks. Some are eligible for bonuses of up to $201,000 per year.

Might some of this be responsible for the high cost of a college education? When you consider that the government took over the student loan program during the Obama Administration, leaving the taxpayers on the hook for defaults on college loans, the cost of a college education becomes important to everyone. It’s time for colleges to look at their budgets and consider how they are spending their money.

 

We Need To Stop Screaming About Wall Street Greed And Start Screaming About College Greed

The Texas Tech University College of Education...

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Yesterday The Daily posted an article about the rising cost of a college education. The numbers are startling. The class of 2034 faces a college bill for a top college of $422,320 in today’s dollars.

The article reports:

The Daily analyzed historical, inflation-adjusted price data from the College Board to see what a bachelor’s degree might cost the class of 2034 in 2011 dollars. The result: Total tuition and fees would top $232,000 for an average-priced four-year private college and nearly $81,000 at an average-priced public university — up 111 percent and 167 percent, respectively, from the average class of 2012 tuition.

Room and board brings the average price of a four-year college education up to a projected $288,000 in 2011 dollars for four years beginning in 2030 at an average private school and $123,000 at an average public school. The class of 2012 paid about $149,195 for a private school and $64,591 at a public university, according to College Board data.

The solution to this problem is NOT government regulation or intervention. This is a case where the free market will actually correct itself (if allowed to). The government has intervened with financial aid programs and loan programs that have allowed tuition and costs to be raised, but as the Occupy Wall Street people complained, it has also caused many students to graduate from college with crippling debt. The free market correction, if it is allowed to occur, will be fewer students going to the more expensive colleges and those colleges being forced to cut their budgets and their tuition. Unfortunately, the student loan and grant programs, as much as they allowed lower-income students to attend college (a good thing), also resulted in inflated tuition costs. It’s time to let the free market bring balance back to the cost of a college education. 

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