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Solutions to the College Cost Crisis

posted Jul 8, 2013, 1:26 PM by Alex Wainberg
In reaction to the spiraling student loan debt rates (as of 2011 Minnesota is third is the county in average student loan debt per student, see the slideshow under this article: http://goo.gl/W26yb), many states are  attempting to curb the cost of higher education.  Some states are considering  "performance" based funding mechanisms (http://goo.gl/7apvu).  Again, rather than working on policies for fostering a better learning environment, legislatures are focusing on test scores and statistics (and colleges already have plenty of practice in fudging the numbers to beat the NCAA).  Furthermore, providing additional funding in no way ensures the the costs to the students will go down.  

While no state is tackling the problem of non-dischargeable student loan debt -- the returning and still undefeated champion of problems with the American higher education system that no politician seems to really want to fix -- there is at least one state seeking to bypass it for future students.  Legislators in Oregon are proposing a "Pay It Forward"  plan for higher education: college tuition at a public college/university in the state would be free, but the student then owes 3% of their income to the state for the next 24 years (http://goo.gl/QLErX).  It remains to be seen whether this will actually pass, but if it does, it will be an interesting experiment.  Assuming enforcement (collection of the 3%) is done well enough to continue funding the program (an admittedly big "if"), it will spread the costs of education out based on ability to pay.  Instead of charging an investment banker the same amount as a social worker, it will arguably "allow" students to seek socially important but lower compensation employment.  Wainberg Morrison will keep track of the progress of this issue and keep you up to date.
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