Obama and GOP both right regarding cost of college, student debt
"Don’t blame Obama or the GOP. Blame the ’you’ll love it here’ colleges, blame the ’laydown’ parents, and blame the immature students."
What appears to be a politically motivated stalemate isn’t what it seems. Both sides’ positions are complementary rather than adversarial, stated Joseph Schmoke, CEO at University Research & Review. He says anyone who’s been observing the rising cost of college and the enormous student debt that’s resulted, knows these two issues are intertwined and probably inseparable.
As a businessman turned educator turned researcher, Schmoke has a somewhat unique view on the issues being debated by politicians today. “In the ‘60s when I was about to enroll in college cost was not an issue, probably because it was so reasonable. Nowadays, tuition and fees have gone through the roof, and the only way too many students can pay for college is to borrow the money. That wouldn’t be so bad if students, and their parents, paid attention to what they were actually obligating themselves for. If blame is to be attributed to anyone, in my opinion it lies squarely on the shoulders of, in this order, schools, parents and students,” Schmoke commented.
Asked why he placed schools first in assigning blame, Schmoke was quite candid in his reply. “Too many institutions, rather than emphasizing a potential return on investment in both time and dollars to a student, go overboard in stressing what a great experience their school offers students. That’s what I would call a travel agency approach, touting fun, sun and amenities rather than learning some important stuff,” he pointed out.
Examples of the schools’ travel agency type pitches, according to Schmoke, couldn’t be more obvious than in the March 2014 issue of Florida Trend magazine. “This issue featured a section on higher education, and as magazines do, Florida Trend sold advertising in this section to colleges and universities. Of the fifteen colleges who placed large ads only one, Broward College, alluded to cost, saying ‘…most affordable higher education cost in South Florida.’ Barry University interspersed its ad with phrases like ‘you hit the beach, you kayak in the glades, you gallery hop in Wynwood.’ No mention of their $21,000 net price for freshmen as reported in CollegeNavigator website,” Schmoke said.
When asked how parents and students share the blame Schmoke continued with his candor. “Parents should have more sense than to blindly accept that college is expensive and that’s just the way it is. If it was a car they were paying for the salesman would call them ‘laydowns,’ meaning What easy marks! And students, too many of whom are more interested in what I’ll call the social aspects of college, should use some common sense in choosing colleges. Their selection of a particular college using immature reasoning may obligate them to debt they’ll be paying off over many years, when they actually are mature,” he concluded.
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