August 24, 2013
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Real Reason College Costs So Much.
Today, only about 7% of recent college grads come from the bottom-income quartile compared with 12% in 1970 when federal aid was scarce. All the government subsidies intended to make college more accessible haven’t done much for this population, says Mr. Vedder. They also haven’t much improved student outcomes or graduation rates, which are around 55% at most universities (over six years).
Mr. Vedder is skeptical about the president’s proposal to tie federal aid to graduation rates, among other performance metrics. “I can tell you right now, having taught at universities forever, that universities will do everything they can to get students to graduate,” he chuckles. “If you think we have grade inflation now, you ought to think what will happen. If you breathe into a mirror and it fogs up, you’ll get an A.”
A better idea, Mr. Vedder suggests, would be to implement a national exam like the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) to measure how much students learn in college. This is not on Mr. Obama’s list.
Nope. It’s about subsidies, redistribution, and control. Not outcomes.