Letters to the editor — Friday (1-17-2014)
As a nation we have a strong interest in eliminating Pell grants and other federal financial aid for students. It has been suggested by some that by assuring that colleges have a steady inflow of students, financial aid leaves colleges without any reason or need to reform and lower their costs.
If students could not look for federal financial assistance, many would forgo attending college at all, and so colleges would be forced to dramatically reform and cut costs, or else lose many of their students (or in the case of some colleges, cease to operate). As it is, colleges know they are going to have plenty of students, and so they are able to charge absurdly high rates of tuition, board, etc. Then, too, by ensuring that a large number of people attend colleges, aid is helping to undermine their academic vigor and viability.
There seems to be a fairly direct correlation between the numbers of students who attend college and how intellectually robust a college is, so that an increase in students means a lowering of the curriculum, standards, etc. To put it bluntly, most people are not intelligent enough (or rather, curious and intellectually hard-working enough) to be intellectuals. By suggesting that they are, we are only deceiving ourselves and wasting a great deal of money in the process. As it is, federal aid creates a higher education climate which is rife with inefficiency and waste, and which hardly justifies our spending billions of dollars a year upon it.
— Tom Hervey