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article imageOp-Ed: Reform needed — Study finds college debt costs housing market $83B

By Calvin Wolf     Oct 5, 2014 in Politics
A new study finds that America's college debt burden is hurting the housing market...to a tune of $83 BILLION annually. Finally putting a price tag on the student debt bubble should shock politicians into reforming higher education funding.
Prior to the creation of the famous G.I. Bill in 1944, higher education was typically reserved only for the wealthy [and male]. Over the next 70 years, much was done to make college more accessible to the masses: Colleges and universities expanded, accepted more applicants, offered more programs of study and student services, and grants, scholarships, and student loans became easier to get. Many areas offered universal access to community colleges, allowing high school graduates to pursue higher education without having to move away from home.
But the flip side of all this easy and convenient funding was rising tuition costs, forcing all college students to either pay more money out of pocket...or take out more student loans. Over the past decade we have suddenly become aware of the growing problem of student loan debt, a trillion-dollar bubble that now looms over the U.S. economy. According to USA Today, a study by John Burns Consulting has quantified the economic cost of the student loan bubble at $83 billion annually stripped from the U.S. housing market. Too many young people cannot afford homes because they are saddled with student loan payments, and it is hurting one of the economy's key industries.
Finally putting a price tag on the student debt crisis should spur policymakers to action and inspire them to push higher education funding reform through Congress and state legislatures. We can no longer continue to fund public higher education the way we have been - the glut of easy college loans has created massive education inflation and harmed both tuition rates and the job market. Policymakers must find some way to rein in the rivers of loans that are drowning recent graduates.
One proposal would be to link college loans and grants to student performance, providing more incentives for young people to improve their academic standing during both college and high school. Students who have academic transcripts and test scores indicating they are likely to succeed in college, and beyond, should receive the cheaper loans. Those who did not study as hard, and are less likely to be successful, should not receive the loans as easily.
Colleges and universities must also limit their admissions and be vigilant about preventing grade inflation and simply passing students through their degree programs. This "education inflation" has led to rising costs and unfairly harmed diligent students through overcrowded campuses, overstressed professors, and rising tuition and fees. Though we have been proud about being a nation that promotes higher education for all, we must finally acknowledge that this is a misguided goal: Not all students are ready, able, or willing to accept the rigor and discipline of college academics.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Student loans, Student debt, student loan debt, College debt, Higher education
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