Making Sense of the Rising Cost of College
By Alex Carter
May 29, 2008 - 12:45pm ET
As college students celebrate graduation this May, their joy is combined with the harsh reality they face post-graduation--many of these students will graduate with unmanageable levels of loan debt that they can not afford basic necessities. Conservatives will tell you they are dedicated to expanding educational opportunities and in the same breath let the banking and student loan industry know, “I have all of you in my two trusted hands.”
The basics are clear:
- When Bush took office in January 2001, the cost of tuition at a public four year institution was $3,501. The cost of tuition in 2006-07 was $5,685 —an increase of 39%; even at the same time median household income has decreased 2% .
- The social safety nets are failing under Bush’s watch: over 400,000 qualified high school graduates can not attend college each year because of its burdensome cost, the Pell Grant only covers 33% of a student’s annual college costs (in 1975, the Pell Grant covered 84%) , and he stripped over $12 billion from the federal student loan program to fund his tax cuts for the wealthy.
The connections are clear as well; President Bush and conservatives did everything to fatten the pockets of the bank and loan industry while ignoring the plight of qualified high school graduates obtaining a college education. Conservatives did nothing to help promote college affordability and accessibility for years. Pell Grants remained at the same level, affordability was not addressed, and state-tuition levels continued to skyrocket. Bush’s yearly budgets contained massive cuts in higher education funding and favorable policies to the $85 billion private student loan industry.
However, Bush and conservatives made sure the bank and loan industry was taken care of. The private student loan industry’s cozy relationship with Republicans and their “Raid on Student Aid” was of no coincidence. During the tenure of former Chairman of the Committee on Education and Workforce Rep. Job Boehner (R-OH) told the Consumer Bankers Association,
It just so happened, the student loan industry contributed over $290,000 to Boehner’s PAC and the private student loan goliath Sallie Mae was the number one contributor to his campaign in the 2003-04 election cycle.
We must continue to connect the dots; Bush and conservatives in Congress do not care about college accessibility and affordability; however, they place the banking and loan industry in their “two trusted hands.”
For more about the college aid issue, click here (www.ourfuture.org/makingsense2008)
Help us spread the word about these important stories...
Email to a friend
Views expressed on this page are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Campaign for America's Future or Institute for America's Future