This is the second vacuous essay published in the New York Times over the space of less than a week about the cost of higher education and what to do about it. Just a few days ago, Vassar's President Catharine Hill argued against Bernie Sanders' "College For All" proposal to allow people to attend a public four-year college for free. Hill said the solution to the high cost of higher education is better counseling and long-term repayment plans.
If I were grading President Hill's essay, I would give it a C- and scribble "trite and unoriginal!" in the margin of her paper in bold red ink. If I were grading Goldrick-Rab and Broton, I would assign them a failing grade but give them the opportunity to resubmit after doing a little research.
Yes, there are homeless college students--about 50,000, according to one report. But at least some of those people were unscrupulously recruited by colleges who just want their Pell Grant money and the proceeds from their student loans. Do we really want to expand the federal school-lunch program to deal with those people as Goldrick-Rab and Broton propose? Shouldn't we just help homeless college students in the same way we help all homeless people?
Currently, the U.S. government is spending about $165 billion a year on various student-aid programs, including loans, grants, and campus work-study jobs. And the government gives food stamps to 52 million people, including some college students. Isn't that enough?
Interestingly, neither Vassar's Hill or Goldrick-Rab and Broton (from the University of Wisconsin apparently) offered any serious plan for reducing college costs. Hill said vaguely that students need longer repayment plans to pay their tuition bills and the Wisconsinites didn't offer any suggestions at all.
Higher education is a great business isn't it? The universities can jack up their tuition as high as they like, knowing the students will simply borrow more money to cover their fee bills. Who cares if the saps can't repay their student loans? "Not my problem" is the higher education industry's stance.
And when the public wakes up to the fact that the cost of going to college is out of control, who does it turn to for answers? People like Catharine Hill, Sara Goldrick-Rab and Katharine Broton--lackeys of the institutions that created the problem. And the New York Times, which doesn't really give a damn about the student-loan crisis, obligingly prints these dopes' essays on its op ed pages.
|Sara Goldrick-Rab wants to expand the school-lunch program to include college students|
Sara Goldrick-Rab and Katharine M. Broton. Hungry, Homeless and in College. New York Times, December 4, 2015, p. A33. Accessible at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/04/opinion/hungry-homeless-and-in-college.html
Catharine Hill. Free Tuition Is Not the Answer. New York Times, November 30, 2015, p. A23. Accessible at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/30/opinion/free-tuition-is-not-the-answer.html?_r=0