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Government should get out of student loans to bring higher ed costs down: op-ed

As Sen. Bernie Sanders unveils his new plan to cancel student debt, the quality of a college education is declining even as tuition costs continue to increase — and government involvement is to blame for that, argues the Heritage Foundation’s education policy fellow Lindsey Burke.

Writing in The Daily Signal, she asserts that the costs of higher education are out of control, and many students “graduate ill-prepared to earn a living and pay off the debt they’ve accumulated getting their degrees.”

From the column:

“Despite these problems, colleges continue to raise tuition. Because federal loan money is handed out with little scrutiny as to the student’s ability to pay it back, colleges have had free reign to raise prices at levels often double the inflation rate.

Flush with all that money, their first spending priority often isn’t the classroom but the bureaucracy.

From 1987 to 2012, America’s higher education system added more than half a million administrators, doubling the number of administrators relative to the number of faculty.

To pay for these ever-increasing costs, students are borrowing more money and taking on more and more debt.

And with federal loans accounting for much of the $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt and more than a million people defaulting on their loans, taxpayers are picking up much of the tab for this broken system.”

The only way to address the issue of student debt and rising college costs, Burke wrote, is to “get the federal government out of the student loan business.”

“That cuts off the open spigot of money that has allowed colleges to increase costs virtually without limit,” Burke wrote. “Restoring private lending will make the loan market more responsible and cause colleges to rein in costs, creating more affordable choices for students.”

Read the full column here.

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