"How come a college degree is the one thing that never gets any cheaper?" Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, asks in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal.
"The financial burden of virtually all goods and services has lightened over recent generations, with this one big exception. Since about 1980, the price tag of attending university has soared faster than overall inflation and the growth of family incomes. Recent 'free tuition' proposals would be nothing more than extremely expensive Band-Aids. The way to address rising college costs is to rethink the entire government student-loan system. ...
What would a more realistic plan look like? First, simplify. Everything about the federal aid system is too complex, starting with the Fafsa. There should be only two programs: a grant program to replace the Pell Grant and a federal loan program to replace Plus loans, tuition tax credits, work study and the litany of other schemes.
Another change: Give educational vouchers directly to students. That would empower the recipients to weigh costs more closely and reduce colleges’ incentive to increase spending. ...
There is no silver bullet to fix this country’s student-loan problem, but the status quo is unacceptable. There’s no time like the present to get moving on serious reforms—before that $1.3 trillion in student debt grows even bigger."
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Publication Date: 2/21/2017