'Administrative Sprawl' And Nebulous Degrees (Opinion)

Ann McClure's picture
Thursday, June 14, 2012

Many parents and the children they send to college are paying rapidly rising prices for something of declining quality. This is because “quality” is not synonymous with “value.”

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, believes that college has become, for many, merely a “status marker,” signaling membership in the educated caste, and a place to meet spouses of similar status — “associative mating.”

In his “The Higher Education Bubble,” Reynolds writes that this bubble exists for the same reasons the housing bubble did. The government decided that too few people owned homes/went to college, so government money was poured into subsidized and sometimes subprime mortgages/student loans, with the result that housing prices/college tuitions soared and many borrowers went bust.

Tuitions and fees have risen more than 440 percent in 30 years as schools raised prices — and lowered standards — to siphon up federal money. A recent Wall Street Journal headline: “Student Debt Rises by 8 percent as College Tuitions Climb.”

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