Kevin Carey, the director of the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation, was on Fresh Air today talking about the cost of American higher education — it’s an okay interview, but this article is an even better summary:
Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, if you want a quality college education, there’s a good chance you’re going to spend most of your 20’s in a state of indentured servitude to a lender or an employer you hate but can’t quit, because the loan bills — undischargeable in bankruptcy, thanks to industry lobbying — will follow you to the end of time. Literally: The Washington Post has reported that $36 billion in loan debt is held by people over 60 years old.
Carey admits that “college is still a good economic deal, on average, in the long term,” but “the problem is that a) many people are, by definition, below average, and b) student loans are due in the short term.”
His answer? Adopt an fixed percentage income-based repayment system and rebuild the idea of higher education as a public good — bring down costs by getting colleges to “rein in spending, de-escalate status competition and use technology to improve student learning while simultaneously lowering prices.”
More on the state of higher education in my (facetiously titled) Tumblr tag: you don’t have to go to college
To go along with my wife’s post.