How do we make college work for the student, the communities where they live and the welfare of our country without tearing higher education apart? It can, and has been done. Where we went off the rails is allowing a formal education to get so expensive.
Victor Davis Hanson wrote a scathing piece for the National Review in February outlining what he believes is wrong with higher education in America. This excerpt from his article will bring his opinions into crystal clear focus, “How ironic that in 2020, America’s universities and colleges are the wealthiest in history – at the very time when aggregate student debt has reached a record high.”
The stones Mr. Hanson heaves at American universities are meant to break windows at the elite institutions scattered across the continental United States. One of the statistics he used to categorize those elite institutions is that of the 600 billion dollars in university endowments 100 universities hold two-thirds of that money. Does it stand to reason that a university holding between one and three million dollars for every student enrolled on their campus would have very low tuition and fees? The opposite is actually the case. Our richest universities have the highest cost of attendance.
The suggestions given in this article would even make sense to the student in a first year business class that is often heard to say that “I just don’t get it”. What if the burden of providing the loan dollars required to afford the cost of attending an expensive university were shifted from state and federal governments to the university? Suddenly, it would become very important to the educational institution that their graduates moved quickly from their classes into a good job that paid a good wage. Colleges would make sure that their graduates knew how to manage their time, think independently, collaborate and communicate with others, manage their money and live within their means.
Another curiosity is that 100 institutions of higher education have amassed approximately 400 billion dollars and operate as tax exempt entities. Of course, there are institutions that could not keep their doors opened without being tax exempt but maybe it’s time to establish the same kinds of tax brackets for colleges as individual have in this country. There are many more points of interest in this article. Do yourself a favor; find and read all of what Mr. Hanson has to say.