Saturday, August 24, 2013

'I'm going to Disneyland'

According to Ohio University's Richard Vedder, it's not only the Super Bowl MVP who can mouth that claim, but a lot of high school grads headed for college;
 "Colleges are an escape from reality. Believe me, I've lived in one for half a century. It's like living in Disneyland. They're these little isolated enclaves of nonreality."
For which, via the Wall street Journal's Allyshia Finley, he marshals some evidence;
Many colleges...are using federal largess to finance Hilton-like dorms and Club Med amenities. Stanford offers more classes in yoga than Shakespeare. A warning to parents whose kids sign up for "Core Training": The course isn't a rigorous study of the classics, but rather involves rigorous exercise to strengthen the gluts and abs.
Or consider Princeton, which recently built a resplendent $136 million student residence with leaded glass windows and a cavernous oak dining hall (paid for in part with a $30 million tax-deductible donation by Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman). The dorm's cost approached $300,000 per bed.
Universities, Mr. Vedder says, "are in the housing business, the entertainment business; they're in the lodging business; they're in the food business. Hell, my university runs a travel agency which ordinary people off the street can use."
 Following the money, Mr. Vedder says that it all began with;
... the Higher Education Act of 1965, a Great Society program that created federal scholarships and low-interest loans aimed at making college more accessible.
In 1964, federal student aid was a mere $231 million. By 1981, the feds were spending $7 billion on loans alone, an amount that doubled during the 1980s and nearly tripled in each of the following two decades, and is about $105 billion today. Taxpayers now stand behind nearly $1 trillion in student loans.
Right up to the 2009 'stimulus' bill that raised Pell Grants from $500 to over ten times that, while expanding eligibility. Making them into middle class entitlements. Thus, enabling colleges to raise their fees.

None of which came in for any criticism in President Barack Obama's recent speech on higher education...and probably never will.

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