“More funding for college” is a popular policy goal. But has government support of college education–in an effort to make it more affordable–actually made it less affordable? Megan McArdle looks at the phenomenon of rising college costs, and concludes that expanding government funding for college enriches colleges, while putting students at risk of tens of thousands of dollars in debt
In the past, college degrees conferred higher incomes on those who earned them. But almost all of that surplus went to the student rather than the college, because aside from a small number of extremely affluent families, the students were young and did not have that much cash. If colleges wanted to expand their market, college tuition was constrained to what an average student, or their family, could pay.
She concludes, quite sensibly, with this: “I’m fairly comfortable diagnosing the problem. But I’m less sure of what the solution should be.” I share that sentiment, but will save further comment for another day.