The Corner

Education

Stop Subsidizing Higher Education

As predictable as the sunrise, House Democrats are pushing the silly idea of free college.” Doing that will undoubtedly lead to higher total costs, but shifted more to the taxpayers.

In today’s Martin Center article Chloe Anagnos of the American Institute for Economic Research takes a look at this terrible idea, then at some more promising ways of rationalizing our approach to college costs and finance.

The administration is making some tentative moves in the right direction. Anagnos writes:

The Trump administration, for example, is currently pushing to cap loan borrowing for graduates students and their parents. Currently, undergraduates can borrow $57,500 from the federal government, but graduate students and parents have no borrowing limits and can take out as much as they want. The administration didn’t release a firm plan but proposed capping the PLUS loan program, which is used by graduate students. The proposal would require students and their parents to demonstrate a credit history before they can borrow.

Until the wonderful day when the federal government stops lending (or giving) money to college students entirely, let’s stop the most foolish aspects of that policy, such as unlimited borrowing.

And in several states, Anagnos explains, higher=education leaders are taking steps to lower unnecessary costs. That makes infinitely more sense than the progressive” nostrum of having the federal government shower money on states that follow its higher-ed concepts.

Anagnos is right — we need to stop subsidizing higher education and let the market work.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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