Letter to the Editor: Drastic increase in tuition may induce debt

Editor:

As an alumnus of the U, I am sickened to see both the cost of a college education and the kinds of increases indicated in the March 1 article, “Fees and tuition to increase by $177 a semester.” The good news/bad news thing, for me, doesn’t work. It is a means by which education-primary, secondary and college-level-pits itself against itself and tells the public “we must do it, or we won’t keep up with the Joneses, Harvard and XYZ State Universities.” I see so-called higher education mostly getting higher on the amounts of money collected from students. This far exceeds any real rate of general overall inflation.

When I graduated in the late 1970s, my longest loan was maybe six months, on something I borrowed from a local credit union. In recent years, colleges across the country have found that they can get parents and students to mortgage their past or future savings or earnings for a college education. This smacks of the same practice the health-care trade has done for years.

With two children attending the U, I have a good idea of what costs are now. I can’t justify the increase from 25 years ago to now without wanting to puke.

I call it what it is-a druglike opium, or in this case, OPM (Other People’s Money). Higher education gets higher, mostly on OPM. I read and hear from my children about the extremely dubious things funded with student fees (and they have very little voice in it). I wonder about the unduly high salaries and benefits of administration and faculty, which I have to suppose is the main impetus driving tuition costs skyward, like a rocket going to the outer limits (economically speaking). I read about the legal scams too many professors, book companies and the education establishment all do with textbooks. After all is said and done, increases are made, comparisons are given, but the students, their parents and progeny are mortgaged and at a disadvantage. Government and quasi-governmental entities, such as universities, all get the money, even if no one else does. But more and more, the students and those who finance and/or collateralize them are milked for every penny.

This is a house of cards just waiting to collapse, sooner or later, under the unbearable weight of private and public debt.

D.M. Pearson

Alumnus