Monday, December 31, 2007

College Debt

Here's an interesting thought about student loans:

Yet, even if all colleges could afford to eliminate loans, several admissions and financial aid directors say they would be reluctant to change a long-held tradition of holding students and their families responsible for part of college costs if they can afford to contribute.

"Philosophically, one of the dangers is we've made debt a four-letter word," said Lee Coffin, the dean of admissions at Tufts, which this fall eliminated loans for students from families making less than $40,000 a year and will not extend the offer to higher-income families. "I wonder what it will do to a generation that will go to college without any personal sacrifice. You start taking loans away, and you start saying, 'Here's a free ride.' "


I wonder how Mr. Coffin feels about socialized health care.

5 comments:

Ellen K said...

As a parent with three kids in college, I am amazed by the gall of college administrations. They not only raise tuition at a rate higher than COLA, but they hide additional costs under an umbrella of fees for services that students often do not receive. And that doesn't even begin to address the scam that are textbook sales and housing. I can find a two bedroom condo in my north Dallas neighborhood for around $800 a month. But in my kids' college town, a one room apartment is $500 and private housing charges $800 per student for four bedroom apartments that are not well maintained and which don't provide anything in the way of food services. Dorms are cramped and often overcrowded and likewise, poorly maintained. And on top of that, the governor of our state is pushing for a bill to add more fees or create high tuition for students that take longer than four years to graduate. With the bizarre scheduling and lack of core classes couples with kids having to work more hours in order to pay to go to school, it's a neverending cycle of debt. I know of kids who will graduate with over $100,000 in debt. There's no way they will ever catch up unless they get lucrative jobs.

David said...

Even if tuition was free, there are still living expenses. And even if living expenses were free, there is still foregone income. For most students, going to college for four years represents an opportunity cost of $100K or more.

College administrators are "earning" very good livings which many of them would be unable to achieve either in the private sector or based on their performance as scholars.

dadvocate said...

College tuition is ridiculously high. My son just paid more for one quarter at a state university than my entire costs for a B.A. and M.S. in the 1970s. I know there is inflation but no where close to that much.

Ellen K said...

I went to a private school and paid less than my kids do for a second tier state school. I would love to see the budget and where the money goes, because I have seen the dorms, the labs and the lecture halls and they haven't been updated. But there are plans for a new football stadium......

David said...

Maybe universities that take public funds should be required to do public financial reports, with specific formats as required for the 10-Ks and other filings of public companies.

And their senior executives could be required to swear that the reports are correct, as with Sarbanes-Oxley.