Saturday, March 16, 2013

NYTimes: A Dangerous ‘New Normal’ in College Debt

New York Times columnist, Charles Blow, released this timely article about the dangerous costs of rising tuition in higher education. This crisis affects both college and advanced degree holders, who struggle to repay their staggering student loans (often higher than their starting salaries!). The higher education system (coupled with the inability to discharge student loans in bankruptcy) will become unsustainable if Congress, state legislators, and higher education administrators don't find a way to reduce the tuition burden on families.

As college tuitions rise and state and local funding for higher education falls — along with median household incomes — students are taking on staggering levels of debt. And many can’t find jobs that pay well enough to quickly pay off the debt. This has long-term implications for our society and our economy, as that debt begins to affect when and if young people start families or enter the housing market.

The student debt crisis may become a dangerous “new normal,” according to a report this week by the nonprofit State Higher Education Executive Officers Association:

“In the ‘new normal,’ retirement and health care costs simultaneously drive up the cost of higher education, and compete with education for limited public resources. The ‘new normal’ no longer expects to see a recovery of state support for higher education such as occurred repeatedly in the last half of the 20th century. The ‘new normal’ expects students and their families to continue to make increasingly greater financial sacrifices in order to complete a postsecondary education. The ‘new normal’ expects schools and colleges to find ways of increasing productivity and absorb ever-larger budget cuts, while increasing degree production without, we hope, compromising quality.”         

No comments: