DOES STUDENT AID...

DOES STUDENT AID WORK AFTER ALL? One of the more clever libertarian arguments I've heard is that federal tuition assistance doesn't make college more affordable -- if the government offers $X in assistance, colleges just respond by raising tuition commensurately. Or, as Neil McCluskey puts it today at the Cato blog, "Some people complain that tuition is too high and demand that politicians make college 'affordable.' Politicians, to get votes, provide student aid. Then schools, suddenly able to get more money, raise tuition. But wait, that makes college 'unaffordable' again! And so it goes´┐Ż"

But then in the next paragraph, he writes: "Indeed, aid has actually been increasing faster than tuition over the last ten years." And he seems to have the numbers to back that up. But if aid's been increasing faster than tuition, doesn't that mean that aid programs do, in fact, work as designed? After all, aid is supposed to grow faster than tuition and make school more affordable. Am I missing something?

--Matthew Yglesias

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