|The Dude, Donny and Walter:|
This scene reminds me of the New York Times editorial writers. Every day, they go to work and pen editorials opining on all the world's problems: global warming, the crisis in the Middle East, the European Debt crisis, obsesity--it must be exhausting!
Of course, not all of the Times' editorial advice is useful. Earlier this week, a Times editorial, entitled "College's True Cost," commended the Obama administration's efforts to get colleges to communicate more clearly with students about the cost of attending college. As the Times reported approvingly, "[t]he Obama administration is developing a standardized form" that all colleges can use to report on how much a year of college costs and estimating the monthly payments students will owe when paying off their student loans.
"Unfortunately," the Times concluded, "colleges are unlikely to embrace this forthright approach unless the federal government makes it mandatory." Right. More government regulations will solve all our problems.
Obviously, givng students more information about their student-loan obligations is a good thing. But giving students clearer information about their student-loan debt burden is not going to solve the student-loan crisis any more than telling people how many calories are in a Big Mac will solve the nation's obesity crisis. People are still going to buy those Big Macs and students are still going to take out college loans because most of them can't afford to attend college without borrowing a lot of money.
Solving the student-loan debt crisis is going to take more than the creation of a standardized form for colleges to give students when they dole out student-loan money. As I've said before, these things must be done:
- The Department of Education must stop hiding the true student-loan default rate and give the public more accurate reports on how many people have stopped paying on their student loans.
- Insolvent student-loan debtors must be given reasonable access to the bankruptcy courts.
- The Federal government must stop financing the for-profit schools and colleges, which have extraordinarily high student-loan default rates.
- Colleges must operate more efficiently and rein in their costs.
Editorial (2012, June 7). College's true cost. New York Times, p. A24.