Phi Beta Cons

Rich Vedder’s doubts on the interest rate cut

Writing on NRO, Prof. Rich Vedder questions the efficacy of the proposal to cut the interest rate on student loans in half. His questions would be a serious challenge to anyone who is actually looking for sensible policy to lower the cost of attending college — as opposed to those who just want to garner publicity for having done something.
The only point I think Rich misses is this. He discusses the reasons why the great increase in federal student aid during the 1990s did very little to increase college attendance, but doesn’t include the fact that the country was already at the point where the number of students who could conceivably enroll in college but choose not to was very small. By now it’s microscopic. Offering a somewhat larger federal subsidy for college will be a nice little gift to those who would go anyway, but it won’t get more students into college. That’s Charles Murray’s point in his WSJ column today. We have already scraped the bottom of the college-capable barrel.

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