Over the last six months, the Obama Administration has been almost obsessively concerned with knocking for-profit colleges and universities down a peg. Apparently, when you teach reliable job skills to students for an affordable price, trade on the stock exchange and operate at the whims of the free market, you are a complete and total threat to the well being of education and the kids who pursue it.
Back in July, the Administration and its buddies in the Department of Education knocked career colleges with what they thought was a final, crushing blow, passing a ‘Gainful Employment’ rule that mandated a litmus test for any college that took students’ money and didn’t immediately hand it over to an arm of the government. Essentially, if a high percentage of your schools graduates had a tough time finding work and paying back their loans, then the Dept. of Education would limit how much loan money students could qualify for.
Obviously, in a tough job market, not a whole lot of graduates are finding jobs (the unemployment rate for young grads is hovering around 50%). But that’s ALL college grads, not just ones who graduated from for-profit institutions. And, while limiting how much students can borrow might seem like a good idea in a recession where student loan defaults are at an all time high, the schools that demand the most cash from their kids (those nifty, state-run four year institutions that are the last bastions of American Communism), aren’t subject to the same kind of oversight, even though student loan debt is crushing kids under 35.
A25 percent increase in the amount of outstanding student loan debt since 2008 should have the nation concerned about the burden hoisted on recent graduates at the outset of their professional careers. The compact that once existed, in which students enjoyed the strong likelihood of gainful employment after college, no longer holds and threatens the financial solvency of younger generations.
At East Carolina University, the cost of an education increases nearly every year and, while remaining a great value, forces more students to accept a high debt load in order to attend. Though the state Constitution requires government to provide education as free from expense as possible, it increasingly saddles young adults with an ever-greater debt load difficult to repay.
Students entering East Carolina this fall face an uncertain experience as they begin their college careers, with higher tuition costs than last year and the prospect of another increase looming for the 2012-13 school year as well. At the same time, the two-year state budget approved by the General Assembly translated to the loss of $49 million for the Greenville university, part of the $414 million in spending cuts spread throughout the University of North Carolina system.
Nationally, according to the Wall Street Journal, student loan debt jumped from $440 billion in in Q3 of 2008 to a staggering $550 billion in Q2 of 2011. That means that students loan debt is growing, even while Americans are cutting back on credit card and mortgage debt. Anyone want to guess where the next bubble is going to burst?
So, let’s get this straight. Student loan debt and unemployment is crushing young people, the cost of college – which doesn’t always teach useful job and life skills (have you ever watched a lit major change a tire?) – is rising every single year, and will continue to rise as states cut back operational costs, and the Obama Administration wastes all of its time trying to limit how much federal taxpayer money is going to fund students just at a handful of for-profit institutions? Really!?
Obviously, four year colleges are full of Democratic voters and churn out more Democratic voters on a regular basis, which means they have to be protected at all costs or children might learn to think for themselves and vote for alternatives, but really? Is the administration willing to sacrifice the future of the next generation to preserve a precious few future ACORN consultants and Planned Parenthood general managers?
I probably don’t want to think about the answer to that question.