Congressional hearings on college costs have Indiana flavorJuly 19th, 2012 at 5:09 pm by Jim Shella under Jim Shella's Political Blog
The rising cost of college and the growing burden of student debt are nationwide problems. Congress is looking for solutions and some higher education leaders from Indiana are trying to help. There were two hearings on the cost of college on Capitol Hill in the last two days, one in a House subcommittee and the other in a Senate committee. In both cases, someone from Indiana was there to help sound the alarm.
College tuition in Indiana has nearly doubled over the last decade while personal income has grown by just 27%. It’s a problem recognized by college administrators including Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder, who testified before that Senate committee today. “Affordability is today’s most important question.” said Snyder. “The cost in this segment of society has far outstripped not only inflation, but the income growth of most Americans.”
The growing cost of an Indiana college degree was also a topic yesterday in the House subcommittee where the message was delivered by Teresa Lubbers, the state’s higher education commissioner. “Hoosier students borrow an average of $27,000 to finance a college degree,” said Lubbers, “and Indiana’s student loan default rate has increased by 35% over the past three years.”
Also there was Stan Jones, the man who preceded Lubbers as higher education commissioner before going on to found Complete College America, a nonprofit organization devoted to increasing the number of Americans with college degrees. Jones, however, pointed a finger at students. “We have to talk also about the price of failure,” said Jones, “about students who don’t graduate and students who take too long.”
Part of the message is that colleges are trying to help with things like online courses, summer school tuition breaks, and classes for high school students. “Dual credit students now exceed 25,000 students,” said Snyder, “saving parents more than $12 million in tuition costs because of taking courses in high school.” But the point of the hearings is that more needs to be done.