Wednesday, February 1, 2012

About that $200,000 you just spent...

Interesting op-ed about how colleges claim they don't want to cut costs because education quality will suffer - despite the fact they have no way of measuring the quality of the education they provide.,0,3266290.story?track=rss

On a test of critical reasoning and logic skills, 36% of college students showed no significant improvement between their freshman and senior years. The value of education is very difficult to measure because there is a big upfront cost and gains spread out of the rest of year life. I worry schools are taking advantage of these uncertain payoffs - which I akso suspect people overestimate. Tuition has been rising very rapidly for the last 30 years, mostly to build new facilities and pay administrators. This rise in tuition has been fueled by an expanding student loan market that will lend almost any amount of money to anyone. Why? Because if you go bankrupt you still need to pay off your student loans. They'll even garnish your wages / social security to recover the balance. Credit cards, mortgages, auto loans etc will all go away student loans are treated the same way as child support payments. Unreal (thank you George Bush). In theory having a government policy "supporting" education is good thing but if the only result is higher college tuition are we really helping people get educated? Or are we just enriching administrators and the buyers of student loan securities?

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