Although I believe in the power of markets for many situations, for profit
education is one of the shining examples of where the profit motive and the
mission simply do not mix.In political debate after political debate
some folks say that the answer is always more of the marketplace. But there are
situations where the marketplace fails. And this is one of them.The
problem is not simply the availability of govt. loans. Those are available to
state and private non-profits as well with wildly different results. I believe
the difference is that the educational mission comes first.I bring
this up only to show that the marketplace is neither all powerful nor applicable
to every problem in our lives. Sometimes govt. supported and non-profit
entities are the preferred answer.
Seriously? The education mission comes first in government-financed schools?
Wow, have they got you fooled! It's ALWAYS about money in
private or public schools. If government grants and loans (made possible by tax
subsidies) were not so freely available, the cost of education wouldn't
have risen almost as fast as health care costs. In both cases, costs have gotten
out of control because neither the student nor the patient is largely
responsible for payment. When you have a third-party footing the bill, who cares
how much it costs? Of course, students SHOULD pay the bill, but the default
rates are currently hovering around 9% and rising.A report released
by the Education Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
provides new estimates for total outstanding student loan debt: more than $1
trillion in 2011, composed of $864 billion in federal government loans and $150
billion in private student loan debt. It's now part of the sub-prime loan
mess hanging over the economy's head that could be the next down-leg toward
economic collapse.There's plenty of greed going on in public
education, too. Don't let them fool you.
Here's the effect that government aid has on the price of education as
explained by one researcher:"When the government made it
exceptionally easy for students to borrow massive amounts of money, the colleges
followed the lead by increasing their tuition rates. This combination led to
record-level borrowing. Today the average undergraduate student loan debt is
nearing $20,000. Those who go on to graduate school often end up with an
additional $30,000. Law and medical students report an average accumulated debt
from all years (undergraduate and graduate study) of $91,700."Public AND private schools will charge what the market will bear. It's
not all about the student in either case. It's about money. Personal
enrichment takes place in both cases.
SEY,In the schools I and my kids have been involved with, yes it has
– both at the college and K-12 level. I have sent my kids to private and
public schools. My kids have gone to public colleges as well as private
non-profit, and private for-profit. The pattern is clear. The non-profit and
public schools provide a much better product for the money. Period. The
for-profits do a terrible job of anything except collecting the money.Your point about cost vs. the availability of student loans is a separate
issue and one I have not addressed here. But if your child attends a non-profit
or public college (even with similar costs to the private for-profit college)
they are getting a much better deal and are more likely to graduate.As to them all being about money? I thought we liked the profit motive? But
even if you do think money comes first to both, there is still the issue that
the non-profits and the public colleges come far closer to meeting their
My son's friend got a 2 year degree from one of the for profit schools in
management/computers. He can't find a job and has about $40,000 in student
debt. My guess is he doesnt know enough about either subject to do an employer
any good. He now plans to get another degree. I told him before he signs up
again he needs to find out if graduates with that particular degree from that
particular school get jobs.
@Twin Lights: I understand your perspective, and agree with it for the most
part. However, I can't help but feel that money has become the holy grail
of most, if not all, institutions of higher learning. While I prefer the profit
motive over the taxpayer-funded method, the monkey wrench in this whole scheme
is the involvement of government-funded grants and loans at such low rates.
That's my primary objection.The free flow of (free or
nearly-free) money has skewed the mission of higher education. Administrations
exploit students' access to it to an extreme, raising tuition and fees
because they can. Because of it, students are less careful about making
educational choices because the consequences of making poor ones are somewhat
removed. There is something worthwhile about making every dollar count, making
those choices more carefully considered. In many cases, higher education is
overrated and, as cjb points out, students are too easily seduced into taking
courses that won't help them find a suitable career. College is too often
not the answer that their hype would have us believe.
SEY,I feel that the hyper money focus is something in the wider
society. As to colleges, I think it depends. Colleges do find themselves in
stiff competition and they feel the need to be constantly upgrading as well. It
explains but does not excuse the problem.I have no problem with your
point about making the dollars count. I think that post-secondary education is
essential. But the focus of that education should not always be the four year
variety. For many kids, a two year trade program and certifications is best.
Also, we need to de-stigmatize vocational programs at the high school level.
Finally, the choice of any college program should be evaluated in contrast to
its cost and the earning potential of the program. Does the student
loan thing cause colleges to rope students into nonsensical programs? Yes but I
think the problem is many times worse at the for-profit colleges. As I said, I
have dealt with both state and non-profit colleges and found them far superior
in serving the students vs. the for-profit variety.
The only consideration that is valid is whether the college provides a "good
education". That's what the student is paying for. He should expect
that he will leave college with a college education - assuming that he does his
part.How he pays for that education is not relevant. No one is
forced to borrow for education. Anyone can work his way through college, even
if that means that he will work one year and then attend school for one year,
repeating that process until he receives his diploma.For Obama, or
anyone else, to tell us that kids are owed a college education is absurd. Just
because Obama has never worked a day in his life does not mean that WE should
follow his example. Anyone who has measured his performance as President can
clearly see that his college education has not made this country any better.
Most would say that his education has nearly destroyed us.
Mike:You were making some cogent points and then you had to go
"Obama." I get it, you're a right-wing guy. You don't like
the President. But I doubt you could honestly say he hasn't worked a day
in his life. My problem with the President is not that he doesn't work hard
but maybe he could work effectively. I figure he must have done pretty well in
school do get to where he is at as well, regardless of whether you and I agree
with his politics.As for these for-profit colleges, a few are good,
most are rip offs. Mike has a good point, getting a student loan probably
isn't a good idea. Many less expensive colleges can give you just as good
of an education and yes working one's way through school and taking some
time off to do some might be a wiser route in the end.
Mike,I'm surprised you didn't notice your rational argument
going straight into the sewer the moment you started ranting about Obama. Turn
on the filter when you're typing."Obama has never worked a
day in his life"Are you joking or just so angry that you invent
these things and believe them to be true? Obama is a self-made millionaire. He
didn't start out as a millionaire, he worked hard and built his career. You
may not like that fact, but there it is. And please, if you think most of us
believe he has destroyed this country, explain how his approval numbers are so
much higher than Congress. And please describe the crystal ball that told you
McCain/Palin wouldn't have left us with a worse economy. Oh, that's
right, the crystal ball doesn't exist. You just assume your party would
have done better despite an absence of fact.
re: Mike R...Oh, yawn. If memory serves, a certain religious sect
said borrowing for an education was okay long before Obama's so called
entitlement/Curious: Where would America be w/o a little thing
called the GI bill post WW2 & Korea? As well as Pell grants, Stafford
Students loans, etc...?