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Subject: the cost of college


It seems that everyone is bemoaning the cost of going to college these days, and everyone (especially left-wingers)
has their own idiotic solution.  Let's consider some of what I've heard from self-styled liberals:

1.  Stop raising tuition.  Cool idea, we tried that in California; the result was that many Cal State schools just
stopped accepting freshmen.  So we're "saving students' money" by sending them to $34,000/year University
of California instead of $23,000/year Cal State.  Hmm...

2.  I also heard that the problem is that student loans are too easy to get.  That one just goes right past me. 
If the students couldn't get the loans, how would they pay for school...beg on the street?

3.  Back to the tuition question.  Most universities give financial aid that is, at least in part, based on need. 
At some private institutions (MIT, Harvard, Stanford), the average student support is over 50%.  That means
that, if their costs go up 10%, they have to raise tuition 20% to break even.  I heard one supposed leftie claim
that we should just stop giving so much financial aid.  Yes, tuition will not go up as fast; the problem is that,
since financial aid won't go up at all, only the rich will be able to afford college.  I thought the left was in
favor of education for everyone, not just for the rich!

Well, I actually have a solution, although it won't get past the GOP house or filibustering senate.  That is for
the federal government to directly support state universities.  At the various Universities of California, state
students pay about $25,000 less than out-of-state students.  Because of this support, the UC's are not able
to accept many freshmen -- even at $34,000/year, they can't afford it.  That's because the state has had to
reduce UC support -- because of the recession.  If the federal government would either fix the recession
(see Paul Krugman's new book) or provide direct support to UC, things would be easier.  Imagine if even
out-of-state applications got some support!

When people blithely claim that universities can cut tuition, I wonder where they want to see the university
cut expenses.  Should it be in professorial salaries?  After all, aren't teachers half what they could
get for similar jobs in the corporate world?  Should they get rid of some of the professors, and increase class size,
ignoring the studies that show larger class sizes always result in worse education?  Should they reduce security,
hoping that students will be able to fight off any attackers?  Get rid of on-campus medical facilities for students? 
Sell off their buildings?  Charge more for housing?  I just don't see where!



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