Free College Too Expensive

, Malcolm A. Kline, 1 Comment

If you are in a hole, don’t ask Bernie Sanders or Andrew Cuomo for help. They’ll keep digging.

“College tuition alone has shot up by more than 500 percent since 1985—more than health care, gasoline, and food prices,” Jimmy Sengenberger, president and CEO of the Millennnial Policy Center in Denver, wrote in The Weekly Standard last month. “Student loan debt now totals more than $1.4 trillion and surpasses all other forms of consumer debt.”

“The College Board reports that tuition and fees for the 2016-2017 school year averaged $9,650 for in-state residents and $24,930 for out-of-state residents attending public four-year institutions, and $33,480 at private four-year colleges—plus nearly $11,000 in room and board. The average 2016 undergraduate left school $37,172 in arrears.”

Nevertheless, progressives characteristically ignore the fact that every previous attempt to solve the problem via federal subsidies has failed abjectly. “The concept of the feds stepping in to help make college more affordable for the average American is nothing new, but research shows that this very intervention is one of the driving forces behind the student debt mess,” Sengenberger writes. “In a July 2015 report, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York observed a direct correlation between student borrowing and tuition levels, noting that ‘higher tuition costs raise loan demand, but loan supply . . . [relaxes] students’ funding constraints.’”

“The Fed spoke of a ‘pass-through effect on tuition,’ whereby for every dollar received in subsidized federal loans, tuition rises 65 cents. They report similar findings for Pell Grants (55 cents) and unsubsidized loans (30 cents). As the Fed study indicates, student debt isn’t rising simply because college is too expensive. Rather, school is too expensive because of rising student loans and grants.”