3 thoughts on “Michael L. Hays: How to Fix the College Debt Problem

  1. I normally do not comment on blog posts. But I think the idea put forward in the blog post by Michael B. Hays (originally posted on Diane Ravich’s Blog) is an exceedingly bad idea. It is actually very similar to what states are doing with performance based funding i.e., tying funding to graduation rates.

    In Ohio there was just a big article in the Dayton Daily News about how performance based funding has led schools to raise admission standards and some schools have stopped recruiting students from central cities (poor and minority students). Rather than improve the quality of advising and putting more money into instruction to insure that students from disadvantaged backgrounds can succeed in college, Ohio’s colleges have decided to raise graduation rates by recruiting students they believe will be more likely to graduate.

    Putting colleges in the business of making loans and holding them accountable for repayment or holding the states accountable creates the same type of incentive.

    It would be better to get rid of loans altogether and provide enough funding to give any students who wants to attend college the right to attend. In other words, make college attendance a right like k-12 education. This is certainly something that the U.S. can afford; accomplishing this is just a matter of priorities.

    This of course would not address the issue of holding institutions and administrators accountable for wasteful spending. But that can and should be accomplished via other means.

  2. As Rudy points out, this is a terrible idea for many, many reasons, but here is the most obvious: colleges would engage in massive discrimination against poor students because they are the least likely to pay back loans. All except a few for-profit colleges, who would actively recruit poor students for their loan money, extract all the profits, and then declare bankruptcy when students fail to pay them back.

Your comments are welcome. They must be relevant to the topic at hand and must not contain advertisements, degrade others, or violate laws or considerations of privacy. We encourage the use of your real name, but do not prohibit pseudonyms as long as you don’t impersonate a real person.