Enough "poor poor pitiful me" from college students
PUBLISHED in the Boulder Daily Camera, 8/15/06
re "Students burdened by debt
Federal aid not keeping pace with rising costs"
Boulder Daily Camera, 8/13/06
To the Editor:
The idea that taxpayers should cough up more of our hard-earned money because a music student “needs” a $30,000 bassoon on top of his student-loan debt would be laughable if the fundamental proposition itself were not so dangerously widely accepted.
Instead of wondering why federal aid has not kept up with college costs, we should be asking two hard questions: First, why are college costs rising so much faster than inflation? (It’s not as if education is made from a barrel of oil, after all.) And second, if student loan debts are consistently “unmanageable”, isn’t the obvious implication that college is overpriced in terms of the additional earning potential it enables (or doesn’t enable) in graduates?
If statistics show that college graduates on average will earn $1 million more over a lifetime than non-graduates, then at least for many the debt is manageable, despite cries for financial pity from students. For those who still won’t earn high wages even with a degree, maybe the real problem is the price of that degree. Maybe a music or English literature degree should cost ¼ of an engineering degree.
In the meantime, I have no interest in government spending more of my money to support the dreams of musicians, environmentalists, or others who might claim a right to our money to further their possibly noble but low-paying choices.
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