A breath of fresh air for higher education

Posted: September 27, 2022 by chrisharper in education
Tags: ,

By Christopher Harper

During nearly 30 years in higher education, I saw first-hand the growing problems at colleges and universities.

When I started in the academy in 1994, my colleagues already had a decidedly leftist bent. But other trends took hold. Money flowed out of the classroom into administrative coiffeurs, mainly because the federal government insisted on the changes to fight “racism” and other leftist aims. As a result, the cost of tuition soared.

But U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has developed a solid solution for many of higher education’s ills.

Here are a few salient facts that Cotton points out in his argument for the Student Loan Reform Act of 2022:

–Almost one-third of college students drop out before graduation. Nearly two in five college graduates regret their major, over 40% of recent graduates are underemployed, and more than half work in fields they didn’t study. Yet, in the past 20 years, tuition prices have risen over 180%, and total student loan debt is now nearing $2 trillion.

–College endowments have grown to over $800 billion in value—with Harvard and Yale sitting on over $70 billion of untaxed wealth. Colleges use their massive fortunes not to serve their students but to pay for bloated bureaucracies. Between 1976 and 2018, total student enrollment increased by just 78%, while the number of college administrators ballooned by 616%.

The federal government’s guarantee of virtually unlimited student loans is the primary cause of this disconnect. In return for issuing trillions of dollars worth of loans and protecting these loans from bankruptcy, the government demands almost nothing from the colleges.

Here’s how Cotton’s proposal would fix some of these issues:

–It would penalize colleges that leave students in debt from undesirable and unmarketable programs, causing graduates to default years later. The proposal would require that colleges become guarantors of up to 50% of future federal student loans and would fine colleges 25% of the value of future defaulted loans.

–It pressures colleges to reduce the cost of tuition and to stop hoarding large amounts of endowment money. Any university charging over $20,000 a year for undergraduate tuition must gradually eliminate 50% of its administrative staff to qualify for future student loans. 

–The legislation also places a 20% luxury tax on undergraduate tuition above $40,000 and a 1% tax on the wealthiest private college endowments. The revenue raised from these taxes would go toward workforce education to help the majority of Americans who don’t have a college degree.

The legislation also requires universities to implement policies protecting campus diversity of thought. It would protect free speech and ban all forms of racial discrimination as a condition of participation in the federal student loan program.

As Cotton puts it: “This will lessen the grip left-wing ideologues have on college campuses and ensures their academic environments no longer impedes the intellectual growth of all students.”

If Cotton’s proposal becomes law, I might be convinced to come out of retirement!

  1. […] CDR Salamander: Nordstream’s Burning Ships Chicago Boyz: Retrotech Event Da Tech Guy: A breath of fresh air for higher education, Novena to St. Matthew for the FBI Agents involved in the Mark Houck Arrest Day 2 – Hawley […]