Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Op-Ed: Virginia Foxx doesn't know what she's talking about

Last week, Rep. Virginia Foxx said she had "very little tolerance" for student debtors in an interview with G. Gordon Liddy:

Today, my Op-Ed printed in the Winston-Salem Journal, the primary newspaper of Foxx's congressional district.

The main points were:

- Virginia Foxx is not allowed to brag about working her way through college. When she graduated in 1968, tuition at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill cost her $87/semester. (Yes, $87!!!) Moreover, to pay for a four-year public education in 1968, a student with a minimum wage job would have to work 14 hours a week, year round. Today, such a student would have to work 46 hours a week, year round.

- Virginia Foxx is a supporter of the for-profit school industry. For-profit schools have generated enormous student debt. From my article: "Of all of the students who have defaulted on their loans, 50 percent have attended for-profit colleges, even though for-profits enroll only 12 percent of college students. The top three universities that generate the most student debt are for-profits, starting with the University of Phoenix, whose former students owe $5 billion, many of whom don't even have degrees, since only 9 percent of enrollees graduate within the standard six years."

Ultimately, Foxx is belittling the very debtors she's helped put into debt.


Tesaje said...

How financing of a university education has changed since I did it, funded on my own, is appalling. One thing that helped me way back in the 1970's, was grants and scholarships. Those seem to be rare now, even for the impoverished.

When we went to college, th whole society was set up to help kids who worked at it be able to succeed at it and without a huge debt. Now, it seems it has slipped into an indentured servitude attitude towards today's kids - you should go to college, but you have to spend the rest of your life working off that debt. And that debt has to be worked off despite the lack of decent paying jobs, especially for the new graduate with little experience. Coupled with many fewer jobs for undergrads anyway, the whole system is falling apart except for those with sugar daddies to pay for it.

And then they complain how US kids don't have the education to get the jobs that are there so they have to import them from overseas. Catch-22

brotherdoc said...

Ken--thanks for your article in the Winston-Salem paper, it makes very clear what the issues are and puts the spotlight on one of the most two-faced legislators we have ever elected to office from NC (that's saying a lot). Dr. Foxx has let her desire for vengeance against both her former employers, public institutions of higher learning, drive her into the ready embrace of the for-profit schools, many of which are scams and gouge students and taxpayers alike for studies of dubious value. Such schools use their profits to buy the opinions and votes of people like her. Too bad she is gerrymandered into a pernamently-Republican seat. The last couple of cycles she has NOT won the support of her home county (Watauga) but the rest of her district is easily stampeded and frightened by her Family Values blather. Thank you for showing what matters.

Michael said...

Thank you for posting this! The education inflation bubble needs to burst like all the economic ponzi schemes. Have you seen Seth Godin's manifesto on education, 'Stop Stealing Dreams'? It's a pretty interesting read.

Unknown said...

Let's not forget that jobs which used to be mostly "on the job training" now require at least a certificate to even apply.

I'm waiting for the day you need an bachelors of traffic control to corral carts at your local supermarket.

Additionally, the quality of education is often so poor it hardly qualifies as training at all. Except for a few professional fields, I hold very little respect for the college degrees of today.

Anonymous said...

Let's recast the problem:

Let's say every prospective student was "given" an extra 20K per year to go to an accredited college (and they would need to fund the rest through the existing system of private paying by parents, grants/scholarships, and student loans. SO everything stays the same, except we give every student a cool extra 20K per year.

Do you think costs would go down? Hell no. They would go up, probably by about 20K per year - more admin, higher paid admin, high pay for teachers becasue, after all, their job is super important, etc, etc

By this one little thought experiment, it may be revealed that a significant part of the problem is TOO MUCH government intervention already, not too little.

If colleges had to compete to educate students based on what the students and their parents could reasonably pay, college would be far more affordable than the current system, that simply enslaves sudents and sucks at the titty of government.

Forget loan forgiveness! Eliminate/ drastically reduce pell grants! Lower taxes so people have more money in their pocket to actully send their kids to college! Force the colleges, particularl the rip off private "tech" colleges, to provide an education that has a value to consumers without the distorting effects of government intervention.

there is my rant.

Ken said...

Tesaje—Indentured servitude is a good way to describe it. It’s just amazing that something like $25K of debt, 20-year repayment programs, and unpaid internships are normal.

Brotherdoc—Thanks for the kind words! I’ve heard about her gerrymandered district, which is unfortunate. Maybe she’ll say a few more silly things before November that’ll get her constituents to rethink things. Crazier stuff has happened.

Michael—I have not read the manifesto. I’ll check it out. Thanks.

Maria—It is an awful conundrum for young people: In order to move up and get that job, getting a college degree is imperative and going into debt, pretty much inevitable.

Anon—It is an ironic situation, isn’t it? The government gives money to help kids afford school, yet the schools raise tuition (with the new federal funds), which makes school, once again, unaffordable. While I do realize there is a problem here, I am not so quick to call for government to cease intervening. In years past, government did do a lot to help students afford school between the GI Bill, Higher Education Act, and a health dosage of state aid going into state schools, and perhaps they can again if they found a way to stop tuition from raising as a consequence of their allocations. We could eliminate Pell grants or refuse to give out federal loans—and that would, no doubt, force colleges to lower their costs—but then we’re left with the very problem we tried to address in the first place: trying to make higher education affordable to all Americans, rich and poor, which is of course an honorable goal. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I think it will have less to do with change in government policy and more to do with the evolution/revolution of internet learning, a la Anya Kamenetz’s “DIY U.”