The Real Education Crisis Is Just Over That Cliff
By Anthony P. Carnevale
The various legislative proposals designed to keep student-loan interest rates from doubling in July are now so loaded to the gunwales with ifs, ands, or buts that the whole boat is in danger of sinking. But the rancorous partisan debate is just an election-season show staged for the benefit of the college crowd. The real story is that this country is disinvesting in higher education at an alarming rate—as it has been doing for decades—and we are hurtling into the future unprepared for the economy that awaits us.
This should hardly be news. State legislators have been slashing funds for colleges and universities, leaving administrators on campuses to figure out how to make do with less. Meanwhile, the federal government, safely removed from the students whose educations depend on the availability of student loans, tinkers with the fine print of tax policy and eligibility requirements for Pell Grants. And all of this is taking place in a bitterly divided atmosphere in which there seems only one point of agreement: More government disinvestment is a grim inevitability.