Ya gotta love the Marines, they even try to protect the internet from stupid. Not that anyone could win that war, but I admire him for trying.
The way to solve the problem with the high cost of college is very simple, get the government out of it. I mean all together. No federal grants to the colleges. No federal student loans for the kids. No federal involvement of any kind. Of course that's not gonna happen but still its the best solution.
The best way to raise the pay for American jobs is to kick out illegals and jail people who hire them. Again not going to happen. Still its the best solution, assuming that solving the problem is the goal.
The best way to do a lot of things is never going to be on the table as far as the politicians are concerned. The second best way to help college kids with tuition and debt costs is responsible underwriting.
Back when I was a banker we had to do something called underwriting. Basically underwriting is a process of deciding if a loan is a good risk or not. Every kind of loan has a standard of generally accepted parameters that indicate if the loan will be repaid as agreed. It's time to underwrite student loans the same way.
Here are some criteria that should be evaluated before granting a loan:
- Will the loan cover general studies or prerequisites? It shouldn't you can't get a job by taking those classes. No it doesn't matter that you have to take those classes to take the classes you need for your major. Either the student should pay for the class, or the college should find a way to make that class more affordable or eliminate it as a requirement.
- What are the post graduation job prospects for a person with the major that the loan is being written for?
- What are the odds that someone will actually hire the person we are lending money to if they graduate?
- What is the likely income that a person with this degree will be hired for? If it is too low to meet normal living expenses and repay the debt, then no loan.
Every other kind of loan you can get has requirements you have to meet before you can get the loan. Want a car? Do you have good credit, a job and does that job pay you enough to make the car payments after meeting your other expenses? Want a mortgage? Same requirements, plus some. Why? Because the lender wants to get their money back.
Student loan? No credit, no down payment, no chance in hell of getting a job with that degree? No problem! Here's a cool $250,000. It's all for the college of course, with a little beer and condom money on the side. By the way you have to pay it back no matter what. No other kind of loan works like this. If I as a lender did this to anyone in any other lending situation it would be considered unconscionable and possibly unenforceable when it came time to collect repayment.
Underwrite the loans. Will this keep some kids out of college and out of courses of study? Yes. So what? If a kid wants a PhD in tiddlywinks, I'm cool with it. Just don't pretend that he's going to be able to pay back a loan with that degree. Don't give him the loan. Let his parents or scholarships or whoever wants to pick up the tab.
Know what else will happen if kids can't just sign their name and rack up a ton of debt for school? Colleges will have to get very competitive to attract students. This means they will have to offer better programs, enforce stricter recruiting standards or lower prices accordingly. Get the government out. Let the market in. Everybody wins.