Can college costs be controlled?

Rising college costs are on the agenda: Education Secretary Arne Duncan called for college leaders to “think more creatively and with much greater urgency” about controlling costs.  A House committee hearing focused on controlling college costs. But how?

“Non-traditional” students should “occupy” colleges that ignore their needs, writes a professor.

About Joanne


  1. Anyone who asks the insiders who receive exorbitant salaries in the current system how to reduce costs seeks political cover and not reduced college costs.
    One cost of school that appears on no official balance sheet is the opportunity cost to students of the time that they spend in school.
    The Federal government exercises legitimate authority over four pre-college school systems: the Washington, DC schools, US DOD schools for overseas military dependents, US Embassy schools for children of overseas State Department employees, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs reservation schools. The Federal government exercises legitimate authority over five post-secondary four-year colleges: the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, the US Merchant Marine Academy, the US Military Academy at West Point, and the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. All the Congress has to do to reduce the cost to students, parents and taxpayers of the current K-12 schooling system is to require that those K-12 institutions over which the Federal government exercises legitimate authority:
    1. Create exams for all courses required for graduation.
    2. License independent contractors to administer these exams at a fee to be negotiated between the student (or parents) and the institution.
    3. Mandate, that the schools over which the Federal government exercises legitimate control grant credit to any student who passes these exams.
    4. Mandate that all Federal agencies accept diplomas earned through this process.
    Same for the post-secondary schools.
    Let competition between the University of Phoenix, Sylvan Learning Centers, and the Kumon Institute drive the cost of K-16 schooling down to the cost of books and of grading exams.

  2. Mark Roulo says:

    1) Eliminate federal student loans.

    2) Make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    College costs will drop.

    I don’t think this is how Arne wants to achieve this, though …

  3. Stacy in NJ says:

    Costs will increase and have increased in direct proportion to the expansion of subsidies. Eliminate or limit the subsidies and costs will decrease because efficiencies will be necessary for continued operation. The same is true for health care. Every industry expands (in quantity not necessarily quality) to absorb every available dollar. People aren’t fools; they figure out how to make a buck.

  4. If you want to make student loans be eliminated in a bankruptcy, that’s fine, but in return, revoke the diploma/degree that student earned as a result. That way, it cannot be used to show educational experience one did not earn (though a lack of paying for it).

    Parents and high school freshmen and sophomores should review what Marty Nemko has to say about college being a ripoff (I happen to agree with many of the conclusions, given that many jobs in the US do not actually require a college degree, but idiots in HR departments, often at the behest of management, who are often clueless themselves, seem to think that college degree makes a better employee).

    In fields which require licensing, perhaps this argument might hold true, but in reality, all most persons (65%) who attempt college will never finish a degree or certificate.

    Pretty poor end result given the costs.