College costs have exploded in the recent decades. Loans have become available to all who apply. Huge sums of money has been spent on luxury dorms and sports stadiums. Schools have hired an enormous amount of well paid administrators. All of these costs do not add up to a better education and increased employment prospects for the students.
The federal government has made money available for loans to all that apply regardless of their ability to pay it back. This flood of money has enabled schools to spend great sums on non-educational projects. While it is commendable to help students with their education, the current system is not working. Creating loans without looking at the prospects of paying them back is not good for the borrower or lender alike. A possible solution is creating a system which limits the amount of loan based on the earning potential of each major. Having $200,000 in student debt for a degree in Social Work makes no sense. A rating system needs to be put in place which would disperse federal money only to schools which meet certain post school employment and debt level measures for their students.
Colleges have spent lavish amounts on such amenities as sports stadiums, palatial dorms, and gourmet type food menu’s. College is supposed to be about preparing students for the future. Teaching them to overcome hardships and be resilient. In many cases, it seems that graduates are more prepared to go on a Club Med vacation than face the harsh realities of the workplace. A solution to this problem could come in the form of more on-line learning and certification programs. This could bring down fixed costs considerably and lower tuition dramatically.
Finally many schools have a bloated bureaucracy. The University of Michigan has 53% more administrators than faculty!!( source: Wall Street Journal) This undermines the education process. Smaller class sizes and more professors would add prestige to the school’s degree. Having low paid adjuncts teaching most of the classes with high paid “Name” professors on hand to do research and have little contact with the students does not add value. The Administrator/Professor ratio needs to be drastically lowered.
Many costs of tuition have nothing to do with the product sold, education. Lowering these costs will not only increase the value of the degree but will help alleviate the problem of enormous student loan debt. One trillion dollars is no laughing matter. The gravy train of federal loan money needs to have a lot more strings attached to it. Paying a school’s football coach three million dollars a year was not its intended destination.