January 18, 2011
Next up on the Daniel deVise menu of respondents on “How to Fix Higher Education is Sandy Baum, an economist at Skidmore and the College Board who writes incisively about college cost issues. She suggests a number of fixes, but I especially appreciate her last one, because it focuses on merit aid:
“8) Loosen the anti-trust restrictions on colleges and universities so they can work together to stop wasting their money on trying to convince students from affluent families to attend their institution instead of one of their competitors.
“The destructive nature of the competition for students embodied in the increasing reliance on “merit aid” is widely recognized. Competing institutions bid up the price of “buying” students with high test scores and deep pockets, even though these are the very students who could afford to pay something closer to the full cost of their education. This puts upward pressure on sticker prices – and downward pressure on the funds available to help students who really can’t afford on their own to enroll.”