President Obama makes colleges rethink tuition hikes

I have long ranted about how colleges abuse their monopolization on education by forcing unnecessary tuition hikes year after year.  It had come to the point that I actually touted them as holding our lives for ransom under degrees that are often overestimated in worth and exaggerated in need.

 

This may seem completely contradictory to my love for learning and ascertainment that “Knowledge is power,” but it simply is not.  One can easily teach themselves how to do virtually anything in our media millennium.  Unless it’s surgery or piloting a plane, & yeah ok, I’ll concede a few other ambitions, most specialties can be honed at home.

While society is a long way from bowing to my point of view, degrees are nearly a prerequisite – although not a reassurance of – employment for now and the future.  Given this, I have already informed my children that 1) yes, you’ll go to college, but 2) there’s no way your father & I can afford it.  At least they have no misconceptions ahead of time and realize that effort, diligence, and scholarship (probably multiples, in fact) will be expected.

However, President Obama did just step up for a startling reality check to the higher education industry:  control your tuition or lose federal funding.  It parallels quite *nicely* with doctors and hospitals overcharging in 1 form or another simply because they know Medicaid/Medicare will cover the cost.  Of course they have to be extra sly, so they will push or exaggerate certain diagnoses like mental illness, diabetes, and heart disease into receiving treatments that have actually been proven to make the problem (or others) worse.

President Obama also addressed the abuse of inflated interest rates on student loans.  I never would have thought when I was in high school that any bank or lender could possibly legally take advantage of someone via student loans.  Thank God I never made it an option for myself, because stories abound of people going bankrupt — yes, bankrupt — for having done so.

Taxes, child support, and student loans are the 3 types of debt that cannot be wiped off your credit report for non-payment.  So naturally when you put this fact together with federal funding, subsidized tuition via grants like the Pell Grant, a workforce that no longer trusts itself to train its workers (read — too cheap to train their own workers), & tuition rates set by the very people paid the highest within an institution of higher learning, then of course abuse would be rampant.

Netflix offers an excellent revealing documentary “Frontline:  College, Inc.” discussing this very matter.  A well-versed viewer gives it 3 out of 5 stars & then comments:

A narrow expose that does not address the broader problem and its root causes. The factors driving the growing demand for advanced degrees – of any kind, from any university – deserve scrutiny. What was once a cost-benefit decision is now a foregone conclusion: You must get a college degree. Like all bubbles, the college bubble has been pumped to excess by societal and market failures. Among these: the societal failure that for many, a public high school education is often inadequate or irrelevant; and the market failure created that distortions in the market for a college education – principally, tax-payer funding – has produced an artificial demand for it and facilitated its costly supply. (In an environment where super-loose monetary policy already encourages malinvestments in education, fiscal distortions are the last thing you need.) This documentary could have focused on the common problems affecting the entire advanced education complex, but instead simply focused on the failings of the latest entrant, the for-profit sector. It could also have cited studies that show that much of the performance gap among sectors is due to differences in demographics. To be fair, this narrow expose still allows an open-minded viewer to see a broader problem and diagnose a common cause. He or she would have been able to (a) compare and equate problems afflicting students and institutions in the private sector system with analogous problems in the public systems, and (b) conclude that misplaced State-involvement appears to be a growing common factor in both systems. Yet, the documentary does not attempt to broaden the discussion or to explore common causes. Worst, in an attempt to speculate about a solution to the problem of private sector colleges, the documentary appears to suggest…even more taxpayer funding funding for Community Colleges. Is this what being educated without learning is about? Humh. Watch instead CATOs online panel Profit from Ivory Towers of 11/30/10.

More information:

Obama to High-Priced Universities: ‘You’re on Notice’

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