What's in a word? For example, what's the appropriate description or definition of a college student?
Is a student best described as a person who studies hard, gets good grades and graduates on time? Or does the proper definition of student include any individual who enrolls in college, doesn't study, takes out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, and then drops out before graduating? Or something in between those two extremes? Or what?
Well, we know exactly what a student loan is, and that student loans in excess of $1.2 trillion are currently outstanding. What we don't know is how many of these loans belong to non-student students who will encounter big problems trying to pay off their college loans later in life.
Notable & Quotable answers in jest the question of how many students there are at Ohio State:
"Question: How many students are there at Ohio State? Answer: About one in a hundred. You could say that the answer given is a value judgment on the thousands of persons at Ohio State who perceive themselves as students. But it’s also saying that the perception is wrong, that most of the students are not really students, which means that the alleged fact is not a fact. The “fact” that the students perceive themselves to be students, and that their claim is endorsed by the registrar, is not a fact. The value judgment is actually being made, not by the faculty critics, but by those who speak of it as a fact. . . . it can be counted strictly, but do you have a hundred tomatoes if ninety-nine are rotten? In one sense, yes, but in a more serious sense, no."
Of course, "What's a college student?" isn't a simple question with an easy or obvious answer.
Neither is the answer to the following question a straightforward one, "How many students are enrolled here?
But equally obvious is that at many colleges probably less than 50 out of 100 are serious students.
Nevertheless, many of these borrowers disguising as students will leave college owing tens of thousands of dollars after their party days have ended and the coveted degree has not been granted.
Debt is a serious undertaking, and especially for young teenagers just entering adulthood. When debt is involved, enrolling in college and working toward a college degree is a very serious commitment of time and (somebody's) money. Individual college attendees should be governed accordingly.
Government loans are too easily available, and enrolling in college and taking on piles of debt is too easy as well. We aren't doing young people any favors by enrolling them, loaning them money and then finding out what we already knew --- that they left high school unprepared to succeed in college and therefore are doomed to fail.
For too many departing college "students," the only thing they will leave with is a debt load that will haunt them and disrupt their life plans for the rest of their lives. Sad but true.
So here's my question -- How can any of this possibly be construed as government help?
That's my take.