Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Reason College Tuition Is So High

Today's good news on the unilateral presidential action front is that paying back college loans will be less onerous. It's all over the blogosphere, but here are (rather similar) selections from Kevin Drum and Brad Plumer.

In those two links, they're talking about the decrease in wages of college-educated people making paying off those loans more difficult. That's true, and there's plenty that can be said about why those wages are decreasing, although still better than those of the non-college-degreed.

But I would like to point out one factor that I haven't seen said nearly enough, or hardly at all. Because of "tax revolts," starting with California's Proposition 13 in 1978, the taxes that support state endeavors have been going down. One of those endeavors used to be higher education, in the form of state university systems. Back before Prop 13, people had the quaint idea that making education easily available to all was a general good that helped society by lowering the crime rate and upping the innovation and business-hiring rate and stuff like that. But that idea has been superseded by the much more logical notion that my money is mine, and it's not going to support someone else's kids. So let those universities filled with slackers run as profit-making institutions!

So, as tax support is taken away, tuition at state institutions of higher learning has been approaching that of private institutions. And the students need loans to get themselves through. It might also be noted that the banksters were making a bunch of gummint-supported money off that fact until recently. I guess that was more of a societal good than broadly available education.


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