I write this letter in response to Wayne Bredtze's letter "Government Can Be Good" in last week's issue. At first glance federal loans and grants indeed do seem like an essential part of higher education, though upon closer inspection they are quite counter productive. Federal aid is one of the main causes of the sky rocketing tuition costs over the last several years. Our parents' and grandparents' generation could afford a college education working hard during the summers and maybe a part time job during the year without taking out mounds of debt that they would spend several years paying off. In this day and age with ever-expanding federal aid this would nearly be impossible.
I don't believe anybody would argue that the quality of higher education has increased in relation to cost. Federal grants distort the market by creating excessive demand for higher education without taking any steps to increase supply. With a basic understanding of supply and demand we know that this will lead to increased tuition costs.
Some argue that "everyone" should go to college. While a higher education is a great thing, this argument is simply not true. With that mentality shouldn't everyone have their MBA or Ph.D?
Institutions know that the government will continue to subsidize students through loans and grants no matter how high prices get and how inefficiently they run. At the end of the day we must think of it simply; is it right to tax someone who may have never had the opportunity to go to college, in order to pay for someone else to go.