What’s Happening Wednesdays: Forever Indebted

I checked the US Department of Education Website yesterday, hoping to learn about new ideas to revolutionize the system.  I thought maybe I’d learn what the agency’s mission is or find the latest policy initiatives.   I was quickly disappointed.  Do you know the first thing I saw on the Department of Education’s website (www.ed.gov)?  A link to student loans.  Does anybody need to be reminded of their student loans?  I certainly do not.  Most of us get a monthly reminder, in the form of a bill.  Thank you very much.

The cost of a college education is increasing steadily, as the demand for college degrees goes up.  I took a basic economics class in college.  I understand why that is, but I wonder how long it will take the bubble to burst.  How long will it be until college costs more than its worth?

The average cost of in-state tuition at a public university is nearly $10,000 a year.  That number more than triples at a private institution.  Most students find themselves borrowing to pay their tuition.   (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/college-costs-faqs) In some states, nearly 70% of college students have to take out loans to pay for their educations.  The average college graduate finishes school nearly $40,000 in debt.  I know plenty of college graduates who do not make that amount their first year out of college.  I certainly did not.

So not only, do these students spend  4+ years fighting  through the lines at the financial aid office, but they also find themselves paying for that degree for the first 10 years of their working lives.

Do not misunderstand me.  I believe in higher education.   I toy with the idea of going back to school from time to time.  But I paid off my student loans years ago, and the thought of signing my life away again sets off alarm bells in my spirit.

I was excited to learn about free community college initiatives in Rhode Island, Minnesota, Oregon and Tennessee.  These states understand that investing in its students will undoubtedly provide incredible returns.  This will make the communities more attractive to already established businesses. These new education initiatives will likely spur business creation, and both of these will lead to increased tax revenue for the state.  (You hear that, KANSAS. FREE COLLEGE COULD LEAD TO INCREASED TAX REVENUE!!)

Besides that, government has an obligation to educate it’s citizens.  I’m pretty sure that’s why we have a department of education in the first place…though I could be wrong.  I couldn’t tell from the website.

Mama Radford

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