Sunday, April 15, 2012

Incurring Debt For College

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has “very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt.”

She said, “There’s no reason for that.”

Hmmmm.

Adjusted for inflation, in 1968, the year she was graduated, the average tuition, room & board for public university was $1,064

In 2007 the average tuition, room & board for public university was $11,034.

That's 1,037 percent increase in the basic costs of a public university education.

But “there’s no reason for” these levels of educational debt,” she said.


















In my experience, most working college folks make about minimum wage or slightly above.

In 1968, the federal minimum wage was $7.21. (Adjusted for 1996 dollars, the first chart I found.)

In 2007, the federal minimum wage was $4.41 (adjusted for 1996 dollars.)

So.... For a public university, at minimum wage as adjusted, in 1968 it would have taken 148 hours a year to earn room, board and tuition. (Less than 4 weeks working full time.)

For a public university, at minimum wage as adjusted, in 2007 it would have taken 2,502 hours a year to earn room, board and tuition. (A full time job at 40 hours a week is 2,000 hours a year.)


But “there’s no reason for” these levels of educational debt,” Rep. Virginia Foxx, Republican of NC, said.

By the way, Representative Foxx chairs the House subcommittee on higher education.

And she even
has a higher education, herself.

She was graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor's degree in 1968 and later earned both a Master of Arts in college teaching (1972) and Ed.D (1985) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

I was only a sophomore in 1968, but I'm pretty sure we were all taught concepts like "then and now" and "adjusting for inflation" and "things change." Some of us even learned "critical thinking skills." I guess not all of us - or maybe she's just forgotten.

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Of course, if the idea of incurring debt to develop a better, more prosperous future is a bad idea, then America's corporations are really screwed up. At the end of 2011, US corporations had $7.8 Trillion aggregate debt.

Is that going to bother people who really think corporations are almost always right? Or Is Rep Foxx just a trifle confused about the role of debt?

= = = =

Sources:
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_320.asp
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0774473.html
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0774473.html
http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/z1/current/z1r-2.pdf

2 comments:

  1. The state does not provide enough money as they should. The schools spend money on making the campus beautiful, providing bussing for students and other things they can do without. Advertising is another waist. Kent State bought time at the Super Bowel. Taking student fees to pay for football and basketball players. I know this is happening as a alum employee showed me the costs A Cleveland television station found out this too going on at Kent State. Bowling Green admitted it does too. It used to be that any Ohio high school grad would be admitted, now they have to be in the upper third of their class. I would have missed that by 3. Throw them in and let them sink or swim.

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  2. Terry Smith '62

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