Blaming Students for Rising Debt

April 19, 2012 | | Daily Kos |

Tuition at public four-year colleges and universities rose 112.5 percent between 1990-1991 and 2010-2011. Here's a big part of the explanation:

  • From 1990-1991 to 2010-2011, total state appropriations rose from $65.1 billion to $75.6 billion. But state funding actually declined in relative terms.
 
  • If states had provided the same level of per capita support as in 1990-1991, they would have invested $80.7 billion in 2010-2011.
 
  • If states had provided the same level of funding per public, full-time equivalent student as in 1990-1991, total appropriations in 2009-2010 would have equaled approximately $102 billion, an amount 35.3 percent higher.
But Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has "little tolerance" for people with a lot of student loan debt, "because there's no reason for that." No reason except tuition doubling while wages stagnate. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) thinks students should just work three jobs to pay for college, and he's putting his budget where his mouth is, proposing cuts that would cause a million students to lose Pell Grants. During his time atop the Republican presidential primary polling, Herman Cain advocated getting rid of all federal student aid. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) thinks the only reason President Obama would want to forgive student loans is to buy off voters, not address a national crisis.
 
This is the Republican version of "personal responsibility": If you don't start out rich, you'll just have to live the misery Republican policies inflict on you, and take the blame too.