Student aid leads to tuition hikes

A large fraction of the rise in college tuition is explained by the rise in financial aid, concludes a new NBER paper.

The researchers’ model supported the Bennett hypothesis, which states that colleges will raise tuition to capture increased student aid. (It’s named after William Bennett, Reagan’s Education secretary.)

The Bennett hypothesis “fully explains all the tuition increases between 1987 and 2010, according to the study,” reports Reason.

Increasing subsidies doesn’t increase enrollment because the aid is canceled out by tuition hikes, the study found. Instead, students borrow more, leading to more loan defaults down the road.

A study by the New York Federal Reserve also found linked student aid to rising tuition.

Here’s The Atlantic‘s round-up of proposals to make college affordable from Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Marco Rubio.



Higher ed ignores adult students’ needs

Only 15 percent of college students are recent high school graduates living on campus.  Colleges and universities must focus on the needs of adult students, who urgently need job training, but don’t need professors with PhDs teaching on the traditional academic calendar.

Also on  Community College Spotlight: The most selective colleges with the fewest low-income students receive the most taxpayer subsidies.


LA Times hits college construction waste

Mismanagement, waste and shoddy construction plague the Los Angeles Community College District’s $5.7 billion rebuilding program, reports the LA Times.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  Facing $400 million in budget cuts, California community colleges may stop subsidizing classes for students who aren’t moving toward a degree and “activity” classes such as yoga, dancing and drawing.

Time to cut college subsidies?

Too much public money is going to subsidize higher education, argues Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economics professor and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Vedder sees diminishing returns as less-capable students are pushed to enroll in college.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  We need to measure how much college students are learning, writes Ed Sector’s Kevin Carey.