College isn’t  for everyone

To the editor:

Congresswoman Kuster thinks Washington can wave a magic wand and lower college loan rates, and there won’t be any “sigh defects.” What she fails to understand is each wand wave has many consequences, some unexpected. In rare cases where the wand wave has the desired effect there are negative consequences elsewhere. When it’s as simple as taxing or borrowing to keep some people’s student loan rates low, there will be negative consequences felt by others who pay increased taxes or who might invest the money borrowed by government.

Some years ago Washington decided that college education was an unqualified good thing for everyone. They established loan and grant programs to make college education universally affordable and available. More people went to college. However, many of them didn’t benefit from college education because they ended up in a field where college didn’t add to their earning power. Then there are the people who drop out when they find that a college isn’t for them, but are saddled with loans. Wouldn’t these people be better off if they’d just gone to work after high school?

Now that colleges have expanded to bring in more students (and loan money), Washington can’t turn things around. Any discussion of sending fewer people to college is heresy. The education lobby would have the head of any legislator who suggests that universal college education funded by loans isn’t a good idea. So the beat goes on: Kids get into college programs that will never pay off, some kids who never should have started drop out of college, then members of both groups find that they can’t pay off the loans that “advisors” told them were a good idea. If I were one of the young people misguided into 15 years of trying to pay college loans while working at a low paying job, I would have a great deal of resentment toward guidance counselors, college admissions departments, and the wand wavers who think they know what’s best for everyone.

Maybe it’s time to talk about the true value of college education. Perhaps we should talk about how the wand wavers in Washington more often turn out to be “wicked witches” than “fairy godmothers.” The hubris of those who would force their good intentions on all of us has turned what was once the greatest country on earth into a nation in decline.

John Lewicke


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