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June 01, 2012

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Even without government actioon students can change things by refusing to take on excessive debt.

They need to make student loan debt dischargeable again. It's the only way to get market forces to exert downward pressure on the rising tuition rates.

Student land debt?

[HS: Thanks for contributing to the crowd-sourced copy-editing efforts.]

Part of the problem is that students and their parents don't understand that student loans actually hurt them.

It's like guys who support polygamy, thinking that they will end up with 3 or 4 hot babes. Not realizing that the more likely outcome is that other men will snap up all the girls and they will end up with nothing.

I would support student loans if my children were the only ones who could get them. But since everyone's children can get them, the main effect is to bid up the price of education.

And Puffy Combs' son was just given an athletic scholarship to UCLA. I say again, the State of California has exempted Puffy's kid from paying tuition.

I would estimate that about half of student loan debt is used to finance living expenses. Those bills would have to be paid whether the debtor went to college or not.

"Despite the grumblings (which are increasing), the message from politicians remains the same: everyone must go to college, and the government must loan money to students otherwise it’s unfair to poor students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford education, which we just defined as a necessity. Total student loan debt will probably double to $2 trillion before the official message changes."

Too many HBDers (like you, Sigma, and even the ordinarily great Charles Murray) are still not getting the magnitude of the disaster in higher education.

The HBD sphere is obsessed with pounding the table about how many college students are too dumb to be in college.

However, you're almost all missing the bigger problem: Even the highly intelligent students are being ripped off and poorly served by this creaking college education system we have.

First there is the problem of inflating tuition costs. In 18 years, it is projected that private school tuition will average an amazing $118,000 a year, and public schools will average $60,000.

At some point, if tuition continues to inflate faster than education costs, it won't make economic sense for a scientifically brilliant student to earn an engineering degree from MIT. If even an engineering degree at MIT will, at some point in the future, be economically nonviable for even the most intelligent Americans, then the intelligent students are also being screwed by the college system.

In addition there is the problem of even vocationaly oriented majors not preparing students for actual work.

To fix these problems and make college education affordable for high IQ students, we need to promote:

1) Emergency Richard Nixon-like Federal and State level price controls to imposed by congress and local legislatures on colleges. The government essentially runs all American colleges because they provide the almost all of the money colleges have available to them. If the government is the defacto ruler of colleges, then the Republicans should one up Obama's plans to make college more affordable by demanding either freezes in all college tuition (and hidden fees) or actual declines in tuition in order to receive government funding.

2) Make College more specialized by importing the British/Australian three year degree system with an American 60-80 bachelor degree system to replace the currently out of date 120 credit bachelor degree system.

Too much time is spent by intelligent college students in their prime productive years taking gened classes that are largely repeations of subjects like Art and Philosophy they already took in High School.

Even MIT undergrads need to take some liberal arts classes, when they really ought to be studying only STEM, since, presumably, the non-AA admits at MIT already knew how to write an essay on English literature or read a book well before High School.

Making colleges junk their gened classes would make college more specialized, and students would graduate sooner, enter the work force with a high salary sooner (and thus save earlier for their retirement sooner) and graduate sooner and with less debt under a British 60-80 credit bachelor degree system.

Another added benefit of the British college system would be that most liberal arts professors would be unemployed and most liberal arts programs would be shut down because most libarts professors teach gened classes (not libarts majors) because relatively few students major only in a liberal arts program.

Imagine how much better and saner policy would be if there were no liberal arts programs (or related leftist infested departments like Psychology) and only specialized STEM and business courses were offered.

"I would estimate that about half of student loan debt is used to finance living expenses."

Most of the increase in tuition is coming from higher and higher building and administrative spending. College professors haven't actually received much of a raise, it's the beurocracy and construction companies that benefit most from out of control tuition hikes.

As I wrote above, it's time for the GOP to embrace their inner Nixon and impose via regulations price controls on colleges.

"Imagine how much better and saner policy would be if there were no liberal arts programs (or related leftist infested departments like Psychology) and only specialized STEM and business courses were offered."

lol. Most business majors are retarded and plenty of STEM graduates are underemployed from the Bachelors to Ph.D. level. There's too many people in this country with too little jobs. It is as simple as that.

Countries in Asia create too many students majoring in "practical" degrees and thus create a surplus, thus coming to America. If everybody majors in engineering, then there would be too many engineers.

Stop immigration, lower business taxes/cut government jobs, stop outsourcing, and work visas and people will not feel the need to go to college and instead flow naturally into jobs that match their aptitude (ie typical female non-Ivy psychology major with debt would instead become a food server or work in a call center.)

Of course formal education has been a criminal enterprise since the invention of the printing press and a fortiori since recorded sound, VHS, and the internet.

The professoriate whether their pay has increase or not is a criminal class. They should be in jail with drug dealers and rapists.

Less and less productive work for human beings is made up for in more and more unproductive work.

Admin and building expenses is an example of a defect at the heart of late capitalism --- marketing. That twice as much is spent selling drugs as discovering and testing them is another.

HS, are you aware of "Income Based Repayment" or "IBR"? This is an important development in the student loan story. This is a repayment option that allows borrowers to make minimum payments calculated as a function of their income. The payments are actually pretty reasonable.

However, they are often less than the interest alone (at least in the case of six-figure law school debt). So the balance of the loan grows over time rather than shrinks. But, in 20 years, the balance is discharged (the taxpayers pay the rest)

IBR is not very well known right now, but I'm sure that will change in time. We may eventually reach a point where all or most borrowers are on it. The question then is whether the government will be happy to pick up the tab for all this debt.

@Chris P.:

"Most business majors are retarded and plenty of STEM graduates are underemployed from the Bachelors to Ph.D. level. There's too many people in this country with too little jobs. It is as simple as that"

At least for now, a sad truth, it seems.

"Stop immigration, lower business taxes/cut government jobs, stop outsourcing, and work visas and people will not feel the need to go to college and instead flow naturally into jobs that match their aptitude (ie typical female non-Ivy psychology major with debt would instead become a food server or work in a call center.)"

I actually know a few women like that. In the past, they would have gotten married already. Of course, not that that is what we should go back to.

The problem is wages. Working in a call center or as a food server (unless you're hot) don't pay much, hence, these people go to college with the hope of landing a job that pays more and offers better working conditions.

This is true for men as well.

The solution is make it illegal for any employer to ask applicant's about their education, except in fields where education is absolutely essential (ie doctors)

Education, medicine, finance.

Three things dominated by federal government that are not becoming cheaper, better, and more robust. With large subsidies, bailouts and protection for the well connected, and invasive legislature, these fields get worse every year. Well... at least medical science improves glacially, but only in very narrow ways. The solution is obvious.

HS:
...there have so far been absolutely no reforms which would cause the trend to reverse, and the people talking about the student loan problem are just a few bloggers and journalists...
Then, here is your GUARANTEE that nothing will be done until too late.

And that even, will be a hurried, inadequate fix.

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