Personal Liberty Poll
Look, lots of us foolish enough to get a college education availed ourselves of Federal student aid, whether in the form of grants, loans, work-study programs or some combination of the three. It’s a demonstrable fact of human nature that if low-hanging fruit is available (whether it’s helpful in reaching the higher branches or not), people will seize it.
But the easy availability of Federal student aid has opened a Pandora’s box of inflated college costs, administrative redundancies, diluted academic rigor, inverted institutional priorities and severely devalued diplomas that’s reached a historic zenith (or nadir, depending on your perspective) under President Barack Obama. Government-backed student borrowing has increased more than 450 percent since Obama began his first term, outpacing the (already accelerating) rate of borrowing during the George W. Bush Administration by more than 500 percent.
For the progressive White House, it’s not enough.
The Department of Education is putting First Lady Michelle Obama at the front of a new public relations campaign designed to make sure anyone and everyone who’s eligible (and that’s a lot of people, under the Obama Administration’s new virtual monopoly in the college lending market) will lap up every college entitlement available, leaving nothing on the table.
“Don’t leave money on the table,” (see there?) the first lady told a group of Virginia high school students at the campaign’s kickoff appearance last week. “Almost everyone is eligible for some form of financial aid, and all you have to do to access that aid is fill out this one little form. It’s so simple.”
The First Lady’s soft sell played up the value of a college degree, neglecting that a traditional college education is less valuable, whether as a vocational primer or gateway to understanding the role of the individual within the context of our rich Western tradition, than it’s ever been.
“With a good education, you can get a job that pays a decent salary or more,” she said. “You can provide for your family, which is key. And you can become whatever you dream of becoming, which is the kind of freedom that I want all of you to have.”
That “kind of freedom” comes at an unspoken price in the present financial aid free-for-all: indentured debt servitude, for both schools and students, to the Federal government – all for a product that may be losing its value almost as quickly as the dollars they owe.