On Student Debt

I attended the City College of New York(CCNY) whose origin as a FREE college dates back to the nineteenth century. Throughout the Depression, whose unemployment rate was three times higher than today there were five free colleges in New York City and most offered both day and evening programs for those seeking a B.A. I am a veteran of the Korean War which provided those who served similar benefits as World War II veterans received –free college, payment for books and a monthly stipend that allowed individuals enough money to pay the rent and eat. So, why do we now have tuition rates that lead students to attain a degree along with $25,000 in debt?

The causes are twofold. One, lack of money to support free colleges, and two, never ceasing tuition rises by colleges who need money to build swimming pools, cafeterias, dormitories, and decent salaries for professors. Colleges continue raising tuition rates and yearly exceed inflation rises. I once was chair of a college faculty who was approached by a member of our philosophy department who complained of over work. I noted we only taught three courses per semester and then asked him what would he do if he taught fewer costs. He responded: “I would have more time to think.”

Reality–when was the last time anything written by a college professor changed the manner in which Americans think or solve problems. We need a reality check on tuition. We need to lower repayment rates for students.