It’s commonplace for some to note that there are racial and class disparities in student debt levels and then hastily conclude that the cost of college is a cause of wealth inequality. These analyses strike me as deeply confused. Consider the following example.
Scenario One: Non-Free + Price Discrimination
In the status [...]
Giulia Pines has a piece at Jacobin in which she cautions people not to celebrate too much about Germany’s free college tuition because, among other things, they put kids on educational tracks early in life. This, she suggests, has the effect of baking in class distinctions because working class kids presumably get put [...]
One of the weird things people emphasize when tuition subsidies and the like are brought up is that such things don’t even cover the full “cost” of attending. This is because, they explain, students’ housing and food and other miscellaneous expenses cost a good deal of money and tuition subsidies don’t reach those things. The [...]
Supposing college was free, what would the social narrative about the recipients of it be? I have seen two basic approaches:
1. It is a right. I owe nothing.
Under this narrative, recipients of free college are due free college as a matter of right. To deprive them of it is to oppress them. [...]
The price of a year at college has increased by more than 1,200 percent over the last 30 years, far outpacing any other price the government tracks: food, housing, cars, gasoline, TVs, you name it.
He links to this Bloomberg piece from 2012 to support this claim. As [...]
At The Atlantic, Dana Goldstein interviewed Suzanne Mettler (of submerged state fame) on her new book about higher education. Here is one of the questions and its answer:
You portray the four-year college degree as a transformative tool in battling inequality. What do you think of the counterargument that our national debate focuses [...]
Earlier, Sarah Kendzior claimed 76 percent of American faculty were adjuncts and that fact got parroted in a Jacobin article. It was not true and none of the underlying material linked by Kendzior ever said that. The actual figure was 41 percent.
Kendzior has a more recent piece that features another [...]
The National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey (NPSAS) is out with fresh college cost data, which the College Board has neatly summarized. This data is released every four years and is the best source out there for really finding out what college costs actual students. In what follows, I detail the cost data from [...]
Miya Tokumitsu has a solid piece in Jacobin about the issues with the “Do What You Love” work advice. She makes a mistake at one point thought:
The reward for answering this higher calling is an academic employment marketplace in which 76 percent of American faculty are adjunct professors — contract instructors [...]
The topic of adjuncts is getting some play finally. I’ve seen it bubbling up among the college Left for some time now, but now it is in the New York Times and big organizing drives are under way. In these pieces, I often see a variety of statistics thrown about, but never the [...]