Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

College Costs


The cost of a college education continues to rise, so naturally a bunch of
politicians (Democrats in this case), want to throw federal money at the
problem. Inside Higher Ed has the story.


The basic idea is for the federal government to provide block grants to
states “in an effort to help them keep college costs down.” To get the
money, the states would have to keep their higher-ed spending at least
constant and keep tuition increases down to the rate of inflation. How much
the states would get would depend on attendance and graduation rates.


Obviously, this doesn’t really keep costs down, but only spreads the costs
around to federal taxpayers. It also creates the same kinds of incentives
that states often create for K-12 funding — money depends not on
educational results, but on the number of bodies. If this idea were to
become law, we can expect more gimmicks to get weak students into college
and to keep them there until graduation.


Several politicians, including North Carolina’s governor Mike Easley, are
quoted as saying that the Republican Congress hasn’t done enough to help
students afford college. I’d like to know where in the Constitution
Congress is given the power to try to make people’s educational choices affordable.


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