A higher ex­am­ple that’s worth fol­low­ing

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

In spite of the fact that Congress en­acted last fall the largest in­crease in fed­eral col­lege tu­ition grants and loans since 1944, the Demo­cratic can­di­dates are both propos­ing even more such sub­si­dies.

Thus, Barack Obama said on April 20 that he wants to give stu­dents out­right gifts rather than loans: “I want to ex­pand Pell Grants be­cause it’s bet­ter that kids have grants in­stead of loans. I want to make grants larger and I want to make more stu­dents el­i­gi­ble for them.” On his web­site, Mr. Obama prom­ises far more aid. Then, on the same date, Bill Clin­ton claimed that Hil­lary’s tu­ition give­aways are even more gen­er­ous: “. . . she is the only per­son run­ning who ac­tu­ally does some­thing to make col­leges more af­ford­able for work­ing fam­i­lies in this coun­try and she has a plan to open the doors to ev­ery­one . . . .”

How­ever, Hills­dale Col­lege in Michi­gan has kept its ed­u­ca­tion af­ford­able with­out fed­eral grants and loans, which it has re­jected. Its Fe­bru­ary 3 let­ter stated that th­ese fed­eral sub­si­dies have only in­flated tu­ition costs:

“A re­cent study shows that over the past 24 years, col­lege ex­penses have in­creased 48 per- cent faster than the Con­sumer Price In­dex. The fact is that with ever-in­creas­ing amounts of tax­payer dol­lars be­ing sent their way, col­leges and univer­si­ties have lit­tle or no in­cen­tive to keep their op­er­at­ing costs—and thus tu­ition costs— un­der con­trol. In other words, tu­ition costs and col­lege ex­penses are sky­rock­et­ing pre­cisely be­cause fed­eral fund­ing for stu­dent fi­nan­cial aid has soared 151 per­cent over the past ten years, amount­ing to $94 bil­lion in 2006.”

Ad­vo­cates of in­creased fed­eral aid would do well to heed the ex­am­ple of Hills­dale Col­lege. Not be­ing mo­ti­vated by fed­eral sub­si­dies to en­gage in waste­ful spend­ing, this col­lege has kept its tu­ition in­creases down to an av­er­age of only 3.9 per­cent over the past ten years. Also, re­ly­ing only on private fund­ing, this col­lege is to is­su­ing over $3.7 mil­lion in private grants and loans for 480 stu­dents dur­ing the 2007-2008 aca­demic year. More­over, Hills­dale’s let­ter states, “Be­ing free of fed­eral tax­payer sub­si­dies, we are also free of fed­eral reg­u­la­tions that tell us whom to hire, whom to en­roll, and what to teach.” Gil­bert S. Stubbs Welles­ley, Mas­sachusetts

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