Is paying $253 a month for 10 years a fair exchange for a shot at making $1,000 a week for 40 years?
Or is it “more fair” to burden someone making $1,000 a week less than the benefactor to subsidize that $253 a month payment?
That is exactly how the entire spectrum of college funding-related debates needs to be framed whether it is taxpayer subsidies for student loan rates or taxpayer subsidies to keep tuition rates relatively low at state-run institutions.
The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a $1,006 per week gap between the average worker with a high school diploma and an average worker with a bachelor’s degree. At the same time, the 2013 U.S. Department of Education budget puts the average cumulative federal loan debt for a person entering repayment at $22,000.
Yes, you hear stories about students with $100,000 in college debt but that is not the norm. The typical debt is about the same as the price of a new compact car with all the high-tech gizmos.
The decision to go to college is not altruistic. It is done to better oneself and to increase the potential for enhanced lifetime income.
Also, one does not have to go in debt to get a college education. There are a number of ways to go about it. You can choose less expensive state schools. You can take time off from the education treadmill to earn money before or during college. And you can work your way through college.
It is why the California Legislature is wrong to frame the November tax vote as one that makes the electorate the heavies if they fail to pass the measure as tuition at both the California State University and University of California systems will go up.
Next time you see footage of some of the students protesting tuition hikes take a good look. Smart phones are standard equipment. That’s not saying college students should take vows of poverty. It is abundantly clear, though, that they aren’t exactly sacrificing their wants when it comes to consumer spending. They want the world now - and later - without having to pay the price.
College students need access to the Internet and computers in today’s world. But that doesn’t translate into a need to have a smart phone. People during the Depression from extremely modest means managed to get a college education without loans. It’s an amazing concept called delayed gratification.
As it stands now, those struggling today in our stressed economy are essentially being forced to subsidize an even bigger chuck of the higher education tab of tomorrow’s wealthier citizens.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.