Today, students have easier access to college than their parents ever did, and more opportunities to go broke paying for it, former Obama Administration economist Cecilia Rouse observed at the Brookings Institution recently.
Net tuition has increased slowly, due to cuts in state education subsidies, she claimed. Rouse is the dean at Princeton.
She noted that:
- At public 2-year colleges, 40% of students borrow after 6 years
- At public 4-year colleges, 60% of students have taken loans out over 6 years
- Up to 88% of students in for-profit colleges in 2009 took out loans.
- Fifty percent of students after 6 years have not completed their degrees.
Rouse also made note of what she calls a “cost disease,” in which as the wages of skilled workers rise, the college faculty’s wages also increase. She also suggested that e-learning and technology can bend this cost disease curve, in economic terms.
She even praised the role of for-profit colleges, because they adjust to the needs of the students and private sector, quick to change and respond, adopt e-technology but is heavily reliant on federal student aid. This last observation was particularly interesting given the Obama Administration’s antipathy towards for-profit education.
Rouse is one of many Obama Administration officials who exited the government for academia before the regime retired, a record even for a Democratic  administration.
Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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