Why is College So Expensive?

by Ryan on August 25, 2013

in Culture,Economy,Education,Politics

With millions of college students poised to return to school soon and with the job market as awful as it is, that question becomes more and more relevant.  Here’s an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal which attempts to answer that question:  fifty years of increasing government subsidies to student loan programs have all but eliminated a market-based cost to higher education.  But there’s more — read the article!

However, our culture has been programed to connect money spent on education with the quality of education.  Based on public spending and student test scores since 1970, there seems to be no correlation between the two!  College is a gateway in our economy to higher paying jobs.  But, college is also expensive.  So, the government wanted to help.  It makes sense, but now that the taxpayers are on the hook for $1 trillion in student-loan debt with a terrible job market for graduates, this has become a real problem for all of us.

So what does one do?  Advocate cutting money for schools/student loans?  While the previous link demonstrates that funding is not linked to performance, for a politician such a position would be a death knell for their career.  The President’s plan of tying government subsidies to college student performance is also a dead end for the above-mentioned reason — there’s no connection between cost and result.

I’m not sure about any non-Draconian way to solve this problem without a public ready to deal with this problem in a constructive, honest way.

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