Originally posted April 30, 2019.
Nathanael Blake, a senior contributor at The Federalist, explains to readers there that higher education is owned by the political left. The system has been bogged down by administrative costs, forcing students to pay ever-higher tuition rates, and setting most of them up for punishing debt-service when (if) they finally graduate and get jobs. As an example of the overburdening administrative bloat common among America’s universities, Blake offers the University of Michigan’s nearly 100-strong team of “diversity administrators.” He writes (abridged):
The political left owns higher education, and has broken it. With rare exception, colleges and universities are dominated by leftists, who should be held accountable for the mess they have made. We must realize how administrators have used social justice activism to seize power.
Working one’s way through college has become difficult or even impossible at many schools. With tuition and expenses in excess of $50,000 a year at elite schools, graduates often graduate with the equivalent of a mortgage. Yet even as tuition costs have shot up, classes are increasingly taught by underpaid adjunct faculty and graduate assistants.
Some goes to building projects and campus amenities that cater to well-to-do students. Much of it goes to pay for administrative bloat, as exemplified by the University of Michigan and its horde of nearly 100 diversity administrators.
This exploitative system should not be bailed out by boondoggles such as Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s plans for free college and student loan bailouts. Her proposal is a naked effort to revive her failing presidential campaign by buying off middle-class voters with subsidies.The notion that it will be funded by a tax on the very rich is laughable.
Ostensibly, federal student loans enable access to higher education. Practically, they inflate tuition, add burdensome regulations As Kevin Williamson of National Review put it: “If you make a few gazillion dollars available to finance tuition payments with underwriting standards a little bit lower than those of the average pawn shop, you create a lot of potential tuition inflation…if Uncle Stupid puts a trillion bucks on the table, there are enough smart people at Harvard to figure out a way to pick it up.”
The problem is not that there isn’t enough government money going to higher education; the problem is that there is too much. Warren’s plan of debt forgiveness and free college would only expand the trough of federal cash at which higher education is gorging. Therefore Williamson suggests that we shut off the supply. Without a guaranteed pile of federal money available for every student, colleges and universities would be pressured to cut costs and reduce tuition.
Read more here.