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Education News and Discussion

Education Policy College Tuition

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I still feel so lucky that I seemed to have grown up at just the right time where a college education was both available and affordable to young folk from middle class families like myself.  That feeling of luck is matched by a profound sadness at how young people must now face a choice of crushing debt or foregoing a college education.  It pains me that even a lot of forum readers, at least readers who live in the United States, are wrestling with this problem with little or no outside financial assistance. This needs to change.  Even people of my generation need an educated work force.  Without that, our whole society faces the danger of collapse.  Ignorance is no small reason why Trump was able to get elected in the first place.



Facing Our Student Debt Burden: Can We Slay the Trillion-Dollar Leviathan?






(Nonprofit Quarterly) “You can pay me now—or you can pay me later.”


Once, this was an advertisement for an oil filter. Today, it is an apt description for the leading cause of our nation’s mounting—$1.6 trillion and rising—student debt overhang.


Between 2000 and 2012, a 2015 Pew report indicates, average state spending for higher education fell nine percent (adjusted for inflation), while enrollment grew 45 percent. Did the nation experience a remarkable gain in higher education efficiency?


Well, not exactly. Part of the funding decline was made up for by increased federal spending, which included rising research spending (for example, National Institutes for Health grants), but also higher spending on veterans’ education benefits and Pell grants. Even so, an increase of a little over $1,000 per student in federal spending did not compensate for a $2,500 decline in spending per student by state governments.


What made up the difference? We all know the answer—new federally guaranteed student loans. In the early 1990s, originations (in 2014 inflation-adjusted dollars) totaled around $20 billion. By 2000, these had doubled to a little over $40 billion. By 2010, annual student loan originations exceeded $100 billion. Combined, Pew reports that local, state, and federal spending in the 2013–14 academic year totaled $157.5 billion. For $157.5 billion in taxpayer dollars, we got over $260 billion in education services delivered.



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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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And, sadly, if poor people don't go to college, they won't get the 1 to 5 IQ point "bump" per year (at least for 1 year) that is well-documented:

"Our analyses provide the strongest evidence yet that education raises intelligence test scores," says psychological scientist Stuart J. Ritchie of the University of Edinburgh. "We looked at 42 datasets using several different research designs and found that, overall, adding an extra year of schooling in this way improved people's IQ scores by between 1 and 5 points."

Research has long shown that years of education and intelligence are correlated but it has been unclear whether this is because education boosts intelligence or because individuals who start off with higher IQ scores are likely to stay in school for longer.

Many individual studies on this question have now been published, and Ritchie and coauthor Elliot Tucker-Drob of the University of Texas at Austin saw an opportunity to clarify the nature of the schooling-IQ relationship:

"We felt the time was right to do a meta-analysis, combining all the previous studies to come up with an overall result for how much education boosts intelligence," Ritchie explains.

It's still not understood how this happens. Education should mostly be about knowledge, not raw intelligence. If I remember correctly, the effect can be seen in both crystallized and fluid intelligence scores.

Does somehow being made to learn a broad set of things rewire the brain? Is it more about socializing with peers? Is it about learning how 5o be more self-possessed? Nobody seems to know how the improvement comes about.

A 5 to 10 point IQ bump can have a big effect on life outcomes, enough to pull them out of poverty -- not that poverty always implies a lower IQ (there are lots of poor and smart people); but statistics show the two are correlated.
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