Open Thread: The Rising Cost of College

The rising cost of college has put a damper on many students' educational plans, but in an effort to continue attracting students, many schools have begun turning their campuses into miniature resorts. From upscale dining facilities to rock climbing walls, it turns out that some of the costs of college have nothing to do with learning, and much of the bill is still left for the taxpayers to foot.

Check out a video of Andrew S. Rosen, author of Change.edu, explaining the costs of college after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Click here for the video of Rosen explaining the costs of college.

James Taranto also parallels the college bubble to the housing bubble:

It costs a lot of money, so much that most people have to go into debt to buy it. It has considerable intrinsic value, but it is also understood to be an investment. And it is a status symbol--indeed, almost a necessary condition for achieving middle-class status.

Its acquisition by as wide a swath of the population is widely seen as a social good. Thus the government heavily subsidizes it through tax incentives and other means. That, however, creates an artificial demand that drives prices up and, in a vicious circle, spurs demands for more subsidies. Efforts to make it more easily acquired for minorities, who by objective standards tend to be less qualified, compound the problem.

In the current economy, it has turned out to be considerably less valuable than promised. As a result, many Americans are under water, with debts that they will not be able to pay off easily.

What is it? A house, but that's the obvious answer. We're thinking of a college education. The similarities between the housing bubble and the higher-ed bubble are remarkable, aren't they?

What do you think?

NB Staff
NB Staff