October 23, 2013
Public College Prices Rose at the Slowest Rate in 30 Years

But don’t worry. Next time the economy tanks, they’ll shoot up again.

Read more.

Public College Prices Rose at the Slowest Rate in 30 Years

But don’t worry. Next time the economy tanks, they’ll shoot up again.

September 6, 2013
No, The Student Loan Crisis Is Not a Bubble

I understand why some people feel compelled to compare the student loan crisis to the housing bubble. Really, I do. They both involve a big, sudden run up in borrowing by dubiously credit-worthy customers followed a giant wave of defaults and delinquencies. And given how scared everyone is thanks to the last great bust, it’s forgivable that they’d start seeing its ghost elsewhere. We’ve all got a bit of financial PTSD. 
But the student loan crisis is not the housing crisis. It’s a different beast altogether. And conflating the two leads to some really poor, misleading analysis. 
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

No, The Student Loan Crisis Is Not a Bubble

I understand why some people feel compelled to compare the student loan crisis to the housing bubble. Really, I do. They both involve a big, sudden run up in borrowing by dubiously credit-worthy customers followed a giant wave of defaults and delinquencies. And given how scared everyone is thanks to the last great bust, it’s forgivable that they’d start seeing its ghost elsewhere. We’ve all got a bit of financial PTSD. 

But the student loan crisis is not the housing crisis. It’s a different beast altogether. And conflating the two leads to some really poor, misleading analysis.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

August 22, 2013
The White House Wants to Help You Make Smaller Student Loan Payments

The latest summer policy push from the White House is an ambitious effort to shift the college financing system to provide more support to students at schools that do right by them, while making life harder for institutions that live off federal loans but don’t provide much value for students.
Most of what the president proposed during a speech today in Buffalo consisted of longer-term reforms or was directed at institutions themselves, but the White House push also came with a big helping of news you can use.
There are, according to the White House, 37 million people with outstanding federal student loans. A little more than 2.5 million of them are using one of the three income-dependent payment plans the federal government makes available to borrowers: the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan, the Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR), and the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan.
Read more.

The White House Wants to Help You Make Smaller Student Loan Payments

The latest summer policy push from the White House is an ambitious effort to shift the college financing system to provide more support to students at schools that do right by them, while making life harder for institutions that live off federal loans but don’t provide much value for students.

Most of what the president proposed during a speech today in Buffalo consisted of longer-term reforms or was directed at institutions themselves, but the White House push also came with a big helping of news you can use.

There are, according to the White House, 37 million people with outstanding federal student loans. A little more than 2.5 million of them are using one of the three income-dependent payment plans the federal government makes available to borrowers: the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan, the Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR), and the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan.

Read more.

August 21, 2013
The Expensive Romance of NYU

John Sexton, president of New York University, announced last Wednesday he would step down at the end of his term in 2016. Although the Board of Trustees “unanimously and strongly supports President John Sexton,” as written in a March memo from Chairman Martin Lipton, many students and members of faculty have been calling for his resignation for months. In March, 82 percent of faculty at the College of Arts and Science, NYU’s largest undergraduate school, passed a motion of no confidence against Sexton. In the following months, four out of five undergraduate schools would pass similar motions, in addition to a number of graduate programs.
Sexton’s critics have a range of grievances against him, but they all boil down to one thing: money. Sexton oversaw the Campaign for NYU, which ended in 2008 and raised $3 billion—the most lucrative fundraising campaign in the history of higher education. One would think such a flush of cash might encourage administrators to lower, if not at least stagnate tuition. Instead, though, the money is going to expensive expansion programs, both in New York’s Greenwich Village and overseas. And over the course of Sexton’s presidency (2002 to the present) tuition has increased by more than $18,000. For the upcoming school year, the cost of tuition plus room and board is more than $64,000.
Read more. [Image: Tomás Fano/flickr]

The Expensive Romance of NYU

John Sexton, president of New York University, announced last Wednesday he would step down at the end of his term in 2016. Although the Board of Trustees “unanimously and strongly supports President John Sexton,” as written in a March memo from Chairman Martin Lipton, many students and members of faculty have been calling for his resignation for months. In March, 82 percent of faculty at the College of Arts and Science, NYU’s largest undergraduate school, passed a motion of no confidence against Sexton. In the following months, four out of five undergraduate schools would pass similar motions, in addition to a number of graduate programs.

Sexton’s critics have a range of grievances against him, but they all boil down to one thing: money. Sexton oversaw the Campaign for NYU, which ended in 2008 and raised $3 billion—the most lucrative fundraising campaign in the history of higher education. One would think such a flush of cash might encourage administrators to lower, if not at least stagnate tuition. Instead, though, the money is going to expensive expansion programs, both in New York’s Greenwich Village and overseas. And over the course of Sexton’s presidency (2002 to the present) tuition has increased by more than $18,000. For the upcoming school year, the cost of tuition plus room and board is more than $64,000.

Read more. [Image: Tomás Fano/flickr]

July 10, 2013
How Not to Help the Poor: The Lesson of Soaring College Prices

Whenever policymakers argue over ways to lower the budget deficit, one of the most popular ideas on both sides of the aisle is “means testing” programs like Medicare or Social Security. Instead of cutting everybody’s benefits, the idea is to reduce them for the rich and middle classes while leaving them intact for the poor. 
In theory, means-tested programs should be more efficient and progressive because they don’t spend money on those who can pay their own way. But one concern that dogs these proposals is that the programs will lose support and funding as soon as budgets get tight. As the saying often goes: “Programs for the poor are poor programs.” 
Over the last several years, we’ve witnessed a high-profile example of that principle in action. Inadvertently, America’s higher education system has become a massive lab experiment, the results of which suggest that means testing social programs can ultimately hurt the very people it is meant to protect.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

How Not to Help the Poor: The Lesson of Soaring College Prices

Whenever policymakers argue over ways to lower the budget deficit, one of the most popular ideas on both sides of the aisle is “means testing” programs like Medicare or Social Security. Instead of cutting everybody’s benefits, the idea is to reduce them for the rich and middle classes while leaving them intact for the poor. 

In theory, means-tested programs should be more efficient and progressive because they don’t spend money on those who can pay their own way. But one concern that dogs these proposals is that the programs will lose support and funding as soon as budgets get tight. As the saying often goes: “Programs for the poor are poor programs.” 

Over the last several years, we’ve witnessed a high-profile example of that principle in action. Inadvertently, America’s higher education system has become a massive lab experiment, the results of which suggest that means testing social programs can ultimately hurt the very people it is meant to protect.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

November 16, 2012
India’s Bold Solution to the U.S. College Crisis: Federal Universities

A system of national universities would (1) fight the rise in tuition, and (2) accommodate all those smart second-generation kids whose parents we should be recruiting to our country in droves. But it will also help the nation in a 3rd way by giving us an outlet for higher research spending. The U.S. has been spending less and less on R&D as a percentage of our GDP, even as R&D becomes more and more important. In part because of this, there are legions of PhDs being forced to take private-sector jobs in which they have no expertise. These trends need to be reversed in order to maintain America’s status as the leading technological nation. And a system of federal universities is the perfect vehicle to increase research spending and provide an outlet for all those PhDs.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

India’s Bold Solution to the U.S. College Crisis: Federal Universities

A system of national universities would (1) fight the rise in tuition, and (2) accommodate all those smart second-generation kids whose parents we should be recruiting to our country in droves. But it will also help the nation in a 3rd way by giving us an outlet for higher research spending. The U.S. has been spending less and less on R&D as a percentage of our GDP, even as R&D becomes more and more important. In part because of this, there are legions of PhDs being forced to take private-sector jobs in which they have no expertise. These trends need to be reversed in order to maintain America’s status as the leading technological nation. And a system of federal universities is the perfect vehicle to increase research spending and provide an outlet for all those PhDs.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

November 5, 2012
Should Science Majors Pay Less for College Than Art Majors?

Down in Florida, a task force commissioned by Governor Rick Scott is putting the finishing touches on a proposal that would allow the state’s public universities to start charging undergraduates different tuition rates depending on their major. Students would get discounts for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers. Those would likely include science, technology, engineering, and math (aka, the STEM fields), among others. 
But Art History? Gender Studies? Classics? Sorry, but the fates are cruel. Unless a university could show that local companies were clamoring to hire humanities students, those undergrads would have to pay more for their diploma. 

Read more. [Image: Edudemic]

Should Science Majors Pay Less for College Than Art Majors?

Down in Florida, a task force commissioned by Governor Rick Scott is putting the finishing touches on a proposal that would allow the state’s public universities to start charging undergraduates different tuition rates depending on their major. Students would get discounts for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers. Those would likely include science, technology, engineering, and math (aka, the STEM fields), among others. 

But Art History? Gender Studies? Classics? Sorry, but the fates are cruel. Unless a university could show that local companies were clamoring to hire humanities students, those undergrads would have to pay more for their diploma. 

Read more. [Image: Edudemic]

June 8, 2012
Don’t Fall for This Misleading Graph About College Costs

This graph does not in any way prove that investing in education yields negative returns. It shows that a yearly wage is cheaper than the cost of a four-year degree. That stinks, but, you know, workers don’t retire at 23. They retire closer to 63 or 73. In those 40 or 50 years, college is an appreciating asset. Like a ladder to an escalator, it both gives you access to higher pay out of college and puts you on a path to rising wages that high-school-only grads are locked out of. You won’t find that in the graph.
Read more.

Don’t Fall for This Misleading Graph About College Costs

This graph does not in any way prove that investing in education yields negative returns. It shows that a yearly wage is cheaper than the cost of a four-year degree. That stinks, but, you know, workers don’t retire at 23. They retire closer to 63 or 73. In those 40 or 50 years, college is an appreciating asset. Like a ladder to an escalator, it both gives you access to higher pay out of college and puts you on a path to rising wages that high-school-only grads are locked out of. You won’t find that in the graph.

Read more.

April 19, 2012
The Paradox of College: The Rising Cost of Going (and Not Going!) to School

Have you heard about the dangerous, rising cost of not going to college? In the last 30 years, the typical college tuition has tripled. But over the exact same period, the earnings gap between college-educated adults and high school graduates has also tripled. In 1979, the wage difference was 75%. In 2003, it was 230%. Over the last three decades, the cost of going to college has increased at nearly the exact same rate as the cost not going to college. How can the price of getting something and not getting something both rise at the same time? That is the paradox of college costs.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

The Paradox of College: The Rising Cost of Going (and Not Going!) to School

Have you heard about the dangerous, rising cost of not going to college? In the last 30 years, the typical college tuition has tripled. But over the exact same period, the earnings gap between college-educated adults and high school graduates has also tripled. In 1979, the wage difference was 75%. In 2003, it was 230%

Over the last three decades, the cost of going to college has increased at nearly the exact same rate as the cost not going to college. How can the price of getting something and not getting something both rise at the same time? 

That is the paradox of college costs.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

April 4, 2012
College Students (and a 4-Year-Old) Pepper Sprayed Protesting Tuition Hike

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