Monday, November 16, 2015

Making College Affordable

A college education shouldn't be so needlessly expensive, but neither can nor should it be offered for 'free.'

That's because valuable things are never free in the real world marketplace. The buyer always pays and the seller always gets paid. That's how both government monopolies and competitive free markets function.

We shouldn't teach falsehoods, and the simple fact is that nothing worthwhile comes free -- including a college education. It involves showing up, sustained effort, habitual improvement, and stick-to-it-iveness.

But that said, it need not and should not involve piling up mountains of harmful debt lasting a lifetime. If given a chance by our governing gurus, a free market for education would work wonders and solve our students' indebtedness problems.

This weekend I watched the TV interview linked below with college student Keely Mullen. It concerned making college free and having the 1% pay for it. You may wish to take to time to watch it as well. You will be shocked at the level of ignorance displayed by this naïve, nice and well intentioned young college student.

How to fix the student debt crisis in one easy step says this about solving the college cost conundrum:

"My distinguished former colleague Neil Cavuto, host on the Fox Business network, got into an entertaining back-and-forth on air last week with student protest organizer Keely Mullen.

The subject: How to solve our country’s student debt crisis — and who should pay for the solution. Mullen says she wants student loans to be forgiven, and future degrees at public colleges to be free for students. {Watch this video and you'll be shocked at the level of ignorance displayed by this naïve and nice young college student.}

Neil Cavuto argued that would slap incredible burdens on taxpayers.
Mullen said the “one percent” could afford it.

With all due respect, they’re both wrong. It would be easy to solve the looming student debt crisis — without costing U.S. taxpayers a penny.

How? Easy. Break up the college oligopoly. End the outrageous racket where the institution that awards degrees is also the institution that does the teaching.

If you can pass the exams for a B.A., why isn’t that enough? Why should you also be forced to cut a check for $100,000 or $200,000 as well?

In the last 40 years public colleges have raised their annual tuition costs by a factor of 20 — far, far in excess of the inflation in wages, consumer prices, or pretty much anything else you care to mention.

Why? Because they can.

They know almost every good job today requires a degree. And under the current system anyone who wants one of those degrees has to pay. If you don’t pay up, you’ll be cleaning pools for the rest of your life. The old factory jobs have gone to China. Too bad, pal.

Hmmm. How exactly does this differ from a protection racket? . . .

Once upon a time a year’s tuition was equal to the cost of about 120 hours’ labor. Today it’s four times as much. . . .

But to break this destructive cycle we don’t have to hit taxpayers. We just have to break the protection racket.

All it would take would be for states to start offering degrees to anyone who can pass exams, and can pay a minimal administration cost.

Why not? Imagine the scenario. State U administers exams once or twice a year. Those who want a degree have to pass two, or three, or even four sets, of rising difficulty. But they aren’t required to get their tuition from the college as well.

They can hire private tutors. They can self-study. They can join small independent cooperatives run by professors who want to free themselves from college bureaucracy. . . . Let a thousand flowers bloom, as they say.

This is already how a lot of professional and technical education takes place. The Chartered Financial Analyst qualification, for example, involves highly complex financial knowledge. You have to take three sets of exams. But how you study for them is pretty much up to you. . . .

Yes, once upon a time a college was an entire experience. Campus life, the community of scholars, the whole nine yards. But you have only to look at a typical campus today to see how far that’s gone the way of the dodo anyway. . . . {NOTE: See also The Rise of the College Crybullies.}

People employed by the college-industrial complex will doubtless scream with outrage at my suggestion. So what? They’ve been running a racket for years. It’s time to end it.

Student loans, which were designed to help students, have instead made matters worse. Giving free credit to 18-year-olds: Gee whiz, what could go wrong with that?

It’s going to be a challenge reducing the $1 trillion-plus in student loans already accumulated. But at least we can stop that mountain from going up and up and up any further.

Break the college oligopolies. Set the students free."

Summing Up

Monopolies breed excessive costs and poor customer service.

Colleges today are monopolies.

It's time to stop feeding the beast and to break up the monopolies.

It's time to teach America's youngsters about how widespread prosperity is the outcome of a free-to-choose competitive market oriented society.

It's time to unleash the power of the free market in educating our youngsters -- and many of their parents as well.

Let's give freedom a chance and stop growing the indebtedness needlessly. Let's take education seriously.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment