Re: The Effect of College Education On the Presidential Election
Date: November 09, 2012 05:14PM
> What needs to happen, IMHO, is that just like
> banks with mortgages now, schools need to retain
> the student loans they make in some way so that
> they are not just getting the tuition payment and
> the re-payment risk is socialized via Federal
> loans. If you did this, though, just like with
> mortgages, you would suddenly see a whole lot less
> student loans made. Many universities have
> massive endowments which they could invest in
> their own product by making and holding student
> loans to their own graduates. Go to a system like
> that, and we won't have any more Art History
> majors graduating with 100K in debt.
An interesting idea, but unworkable. Schools are in the business of education, not debt collection. Foist this responsibility off on them and they'll have to duplicate costs and infrastructure, adding to their own overhead with no benefit to students. Endowments are nearly always encumbered. Even the most generous contributors want something in return: a certain type of scholarship, a specific kind of research institute, a building that must be maintained, and the like. Proceeds from the invested endowment is supposed to pay for that.
What you really seem to be suggesting is that by managing student loans, a school could steer students into a "lucrative" field, and keep them from graduating with massive debt and a "suitable for framing" degree. Putting aside the obvious Orwellian implications of this, it just wouldn't be that easy to do. Too much guessing is still involved. Someone with a Liberal Arts degree could do extremely well -- George Lucas has a BA in Fine Arts, and about $4 billion dollars.
According to a recent article in my IEEE Journal, the hot engineering fields at this moment are environmental, biomedical, industrial, and civil. But the daughter of a friend graduated from a good engineering school (fight song "I'm a ramblin' wreck from...") with a 3.5 GPA in Civil at the beginning of the last construction downturn and waited tables for nearly two years before landing an engineering job.
True there are general trends, the sciences and engineering are overall safer bets for well paid and immediate employment, but the BA is also much more flexible than the BS. Add to that the huge cost difference between a STEM program and Philosophy -- to teach Philosophy the school needs to furnish a room with light, hvac, chairs, maybe a white board; as opposed to Electrical Engineering which needs all that AND a $5 million dollar lab -- and cash strapped school may find it's a lot more advantageous to crank out English majors then Engineering majors.