How Do We Break the Cycle of Higher Tuition and More Debt?
College tuitions continue to rise, and students are leaving school with more and more debt. Professor Daniel Lin argues that there are two main causes for increases in college tuition: a rise in demand for a college education and government subsidies. Problematically, government subsidies are supposed to be helping offset college tuition costs. So what should be done?
Professor Lin argues that we should get rid of government subsidies for higher education completely. While subsidies do encourage more students to attend college, many of those students struggle. Two-thirds of students are unable to graduate in four years, and 40 percent of students drop out of college. Those who never finish a degree tend to have significant debt. In addition, many graduate and take jobs they could have had without a college degree. While the average college graduate does earn more than the average high school graduate, not all college graduates earn higher incomes.
While eliminating government subsidies for higher education may cause demand for higher education to decrease, it does not necessarily mean students who cannot afford college would be at a disadvantage in the job market. Many industrial countries have training and apprenticeship programs for high school graduates to prepare them for successful careers. As it stands, government subsidies are contributing to increasing higher education costs. Such a policy, which is worsening the problem it is supposed to fix, should be eliminated.