Right Hooks

The Astronomical Cost of Higher Education

Even families with a three-figure salary find it difficult to pay the bills.

Political Editors · Mar. 24, 2017

To demonstrate the outrageous nature of college education costs, consider a new study from the Institute for Higher Education Policy as reported in MarketWatch: “The study took 10 fictional students with incomes ranging from $2,706 for a student living independently from his parents to $162,995 for a student living with her family and calculated whether they could afford the net price — tuition minus any grant and scholarship aid — at more than 2,000 schools. What did they find? Even a student from a family earning more than $100,000 a year could only afford 41% of the schools. Students from poorer backgrounds couldn’t afford more than 90% of the colleges.”

Unfortunately, leftists keep pushing the wrong prescriptions for addressing this. Even “free” enrollment doesn’t cut it for some. In California, for example, lawmakers’ solution to escalating debt is to expand aid coverage. According to Fox News, “California lawmakers are pushing what could be the most comprehensive college aid program in the country, pitching a bill that not only covers tuition payments but other expenses like books and transportation.” That’s a horrible way to make higher education more “affordable,” because it just means taxpayers pick up even more of the tab. And once that happens, tuition inflation is free to run more wild than it already has.

We could begin rectifying the problem by first recognizing that government involvement is the problem. Taxpayer dollars function as fuel for an out-of-control fire — that fire being escalating college fees. As economist Thomas Sowell has noted, “In a normal market situation, each competing enterprise has an incentive to lower prices if that would attract business away from competitors and increase its profits.” Universities function quite differently, and the result is enormous tuition. Students will need to determine if their safe spaces are worth it.

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