Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black?

A professor at Seattle University School of Law criticizes trade schools for charging students high tuition and encouraging students to take out huge loans they will have trouble repaying. Sounds like a lot of law schools, don't you think? Elie Mystal agrees:

How can you fix your mouth to criticize “trade schools” for setting up their students for financial ruin when you teach at Seattle School of Law? Seattle is ranked 77th by U.S. News, but the school charges $35K - plus for tuition. The cost per year exceeds $50,000 when you include books, board and other living expenses. But the school only sports a 67.9% “employed upon graduation” statistic.

So I wonder why Professor Pardo exempts Seattle from the list of schools who graduate more and more students who “can’t find meaningful employment.”

A good question. I also wonder how many other law schools deserve to be in this category?


Kevin said...

Didn't we learn anything from Colonial Spain digging for gold in the Americas?

If we add more money to any system that is chasing the same number of goods, then inflation happens, or why after so-called "financial aid" has college tuition persistently increased at a much higher rate than the CPI over the last 30 years.

thinking said...

Financial aid was never intended to lower the rate of inflation in higher ed. It was and is intended to make educational opportunities available to those who otherwise would not have them. In that sense it's been a huge success. I know people who otherwise could not go to college if not for financial aid.

The cost of higher ed has inflated more than the CPI, due to higher demand. Some of that demand is fueled by financial aid.

But the higher demand is a good thing; do we really want a lesser educated population?

If anything we need more supply and more innovative approaches to supplying higher ed.

Kevin said...

Intent and result can often be two very different things.

Shawn said...

"I know people who otherwise shouldn't go to college but did because of financial aid."

There, Thinking, I fixed that for you. Remember, despite your desire not to: demand slopes downward. When you make things cheaper, more people want it. Maybe not all of them should be going to college, but should be going to trade schools. Ah, what's keeping trade school tuitions high? Well, at least some of it is lack of demand/supply/competition. How is that lack coming about? Perhaps because of artificially low prices?

Now, I know this flies against your leftist tendencies...but can you admit some basic economics here?

thinking said...

Shawn: I appreciate your comments.

However, there are plenty of examples of people who should go to college and who did or are because of financial aid. There are plenty of examples of people who went to college on financial aid and became very productive in their fields. I can easily point to doctors, pastors, engineers, nurses, etc...all of whom are very competent, who would not be there without financial aid.

Here's one example you will probably appreciate: are you aware that Justice Clarence Thomas received financial aid to attend Yale Law School?

Can you really make such a blanket statement that all who receive financial aid do not deserve to go to college? That's both empirically unfounded as well as cruel. Who appointed you as judge and arbiter of this?

As to the economics I readily acknowledge that financial aid increases demand for college education. But I ask again, do you really want to decrease demand? Is that good for any society?

We could always become a third world economy with few going to college, and I am sure demand would never drive the cost of a college ed higher.

Economics serves humanity, not the other way around. The more a society is educated the better.