A higher example that’s worth following
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