Tag Archives: Higher Education

Is College a Sound “Real World” Investment?

With graduation lurking around the corner and exams finishing up, college students are ending yet another year and, in some cases, preparing to join the workforce. My own social media newsfeed is filled with angst about the “real world” and how to survive this tough transition.

On one hand, I empathize. Being an adult can be difficult, and most of us are making it up as we go. On the other hand, I’m confused about why college is seen as so detached from the real world, and why it’s worth the high price tag if that’s the case.

Read more at FEE

How Tuition-Free College Education Hurts Young People

Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren recently proposed the College for All Act, which promises to make public universities free for most students. A similar bill just became law in New York, and support is building for tuition-free public universities in other states as well.

Unfortunately, the senators’ proposal would hurt the very Millennials it aims to help, by reducing economic growth. Median wages have stagnated for decades precisely because of the mismatch between the skills workers have and those businesses need. So while wages in some sectors — for example, the IT industry — continue to rise, young people without marketable skills are being left in the lurch.

This includes many college graduates. While defenders of college-for-all proposals point out that a college degree improves a graduate’s lifetime earnings in the aggregate, not all majors are created equal. According to a new paper by Jaison Abel and Richard Deitz of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, over half of graduates in many liberal-arts majors work a job they don’t need their degree for. The problem isn’t just that too many students seek a degree in an obscure subject, either; it’s that too many graduates lack the ability to think critically or write clearly. In a recent survey, only 39 percent of managers said that students were ready for the work force.

Read more at National Review 

New Department Of Education Rules Threaten Colleges

The Obama administration’s Department of Education recently proposed new rules to enable more students to sue universities that defrauded them. While the government should punish blatantly deceptive institutions, these proposed rules promise to penalize many high-quality colleges.

The rules will enable students of a university to sue and recoup their tuition if the university offered a “substantial misrepresentation” of elements like the employability of its graduates or the nature of its educational programs. This is a lower standard than mens rea, the legal principle in fraud cases that a crime requires intent. Troublingly, students can successfully sue whether or not the college intended to lie, meaning that universities will be subject to lawsuits over clerical errors.

This could be crippling. My alma mater, the University of Colorado at Boulder, brings in almost one-third of its revenue from tuition. If just one class of 5,000+ students were reimbursed for their tuition, the university with a substantial shortfall. This could mean cuts to valuable services. Because the University of Colorado is a public institution, taxpayers could also be called upon to make up the difference.

Continue reading at The Daily Caller.

Young Voices Podcast – Student Debt Relief could leave Universities and Taxpayers on the hook

Today’s Young Voices Podcast features Sergio Monreal and YV Advocate Stephanie Downey discussing federal plans to alleviate student debt by allowing students to sue institutions if they feel they’ve been mislead by the institution, regarding job placement, average salary, etc.

The Young Voices donate page is now up and running, and be sure to follow Young Voices on Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t miss out on our future podcasts – subscribe on iTunes here!

Costly loan forgiveness amendment will burden universities

The Department of Education is pushing a loan forgiveness amendment to federal student loan policy that would relieve students of their debt if they could make the case that the school “substantially misrepresented” the education received. This new policy would have vast financial implications, is poorly thought-out, and is unlikely to be adjudicated properly.

Under the current policy, there are two main situations in which a student can apply for loan forgiveness: when the borrower succeeds in legal action against the school or when the school fails to meet contractual obligations.

This policy change would add a third component, stating that when the school makes substantial misrepresentations toward the borrower, the borrower can be eligible for loan forgiveness.

At first glance, this amendment looks as though it is protecting the small guy against big, powerful universities. However, the wording of this amendment, “substantial misrepresentation,” goes well beyond the legal definitions of fraud, making it easier for borrowers to make expansive and unreasonable claims. “Substantial misrepresentation,” as defined here, could take the form of a university advertising salary expectations or job prospects which the borrower did not find themselves able to achieve. Or, it could mean the university providing a school ranking institution with any flawed or misleading statistics — a common practice.

While universities should provide honest and detailed statistics to college ranking outlets, the famed U.S. News and World Report rankings are well-known to be fraught with problems; metrics are played around with every year, changed in small ways. Universities must report their acceptance rates, so some have been known to artificially inflate their applicant pool numbers.

A large element of the ranking is subjective, based on reputation or intangible factors like faculty dedication to teaching. It should be no surprise that rankings are far from a precise science. Yet with this new Department of Education ruling, these flimsy metrics could be used to dole out costly loan forgiveness. This amendment is unlikely to bring about greater accountability in college advertising and ranking reporting. Rather, it will simply create an avenue for individuals to drag universities through mountains of paperwork in attempts to get vengeful claims. According to the proposed rule, these claims could cost taxpayers anywhere between $2 and $42 billion.

Continue reading at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.