College is expensive.
Higher schooling prices have risen continuously for a long time, and continue to do so.
This generation of students will drown in debt with little prospect of escape, unable to acquire the sorts of careers to which their degrees pertain.
Protests rang out when Corbett twice attempted to slash the Pennsylvania education budget, and Susan Spicka markets herself primarily to students by speaking of lowering costs.
Why is it so expensive?
Rarely is this question asked, and if it is, only a glib dismissal of “oh those evil for-profit institutions” is given to no intelligent person’s satisfaction.
Only fake solutions present themselves, from government-paid higher schooling, to government-subsidized loans or government price caps, without regard as to the problem.
The problem is two-fold.
The first is cultural: this ridiculous idea that higher schooling is a “right.” As mentioned in my previous column on healthcare, a right TO something is contradictory.
This alone means education cannot be a right.
The practical results are further damning.
In true government fashion, governments care only about out-of-context statistics about graduation or test scores.
“Everyone must have a degree!” they say, yet everyone ignores the fact of degree inflation.
Not only are degree standards being lowered, but the sheer number of degrees means they have lost the value they once had. However, since everyone desires them, the price of a degree skyrockets even as the value of a degree plummets.
The second problem is indeed the short-sighted and naïve “solution” of the shallow statists: government-supported loans.
This problem echoes similar problems in the health insurance industry and banking in general.
As the payment of tuition is guaranteed by government-provided easy loans (since anyone can get them), colleges are under little to no pressure to lower tuition costs; they will get their money regardless.
This compounds the problem of degree inflation and the cultural fetish for the academy.
Every solution presented will only compound the problem.
Unfortunately, this means that the solutions are neither easy nor politically viable, which means there is essentially no hope. Even ignoring the fundamentally flawed Prussian schooling system of the U.S. (on which a whole library could be written), the academy fetish must end.
Not every skill needs to be taught in an academic setting.
However, the academy is the only way the state can maintain control over the schooling system; this setup is unlikely to change.
Furthermore, schooling subsidization needs to die lest college be entirely unaffordable forever.
The U.S.’s academy fetish puts prices high enough as it is; it is cultural suicide to encourage further artificial price increases through government intervention.
In the name of helping less wealthy people acquire schooling, they are condemning the less wealthy to eternal debt. Perhaps the only solution would be for people to pick up a book or go to Khan Academy, taking to heart the lesson of Mark Twain: “Never let your schooling interfere with your education.”