Daily Meme: Bills, Bills, College Bills

  • College is expensive. So expensive that the cost of getting a degree has surged 500 percent since 1985. 
  • Last week, President Obama announced a series of proposals that seek to finally put a dent in crazy high tuition, like rating schools by how much graduates earn and how many low-income students attend ... and basing federal financial aid on said rankings.
  • The idea is similar to the one that governs the Affordable Care Act.
  • Colleges, in turn, are worried by this development. Says one economics professor, "'You have to think about the consequences of your shame list. They have to be really careful that they don't provide perverse incentives for schools to discriminate against the kinds of students' they are trying to help."
  • Others think this plan could make things more complicated for students receiving aid. 
  • Bryce Covert at ThinkProgress has some ideas for other ways the federal government might want to think about helping tamp down college costs. 
  • A blogger at Forbes has a few other ideas.
  • Parents are even more worried. In the end, they and their children are the ones left with the pain of skyrocketing college bills. One mom in Buffalo, where Obama gave his address on higher education, said, "The government can't fix anything because college is a business. They all try to outdo themselves with dorms and gyms. What happened to those dirty, nasty dorms with cockroaches?"
  • So, we're finally at a point where we look ready to experiment with how to fix this problem (even though we may not be in agreement for how to get there). But how did we get into this mess in the first place? A new ten-part series at Wonkblog, which started today, hopes to untangle at least part of that web
  • (But for-profit colleges definitely deserve a big chunk of the blame).
  • For the students starting college this month, the sooner, the better for solving this problem. 
  • And for those already crippled by student debt, these plans already come far too late.


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