What would happen if the US cut student tuition reimbursement?
May 17, 2014 6:59 AM Subscribe
I've recently been on a kick reading about the current problems in higher education – tuition rising while state funding to universities decreases, large student debt, enrollments down, increased use of contingent faculty to control costs, increased spending on amenities, etc. What would happen if the federal subsidies were suddenly removed?
One commonly suggested fix for the problems in higher ed is that, if the subsidies programs for higher education created a bubble by enabling more borrowing through federal programs (like Stafford loans and Pell Grants) and therefore inflating tuition, dismantling the subsidies program entirely or drastically reducing its reach would (eventually) mend the system.
I'm curious what the immediate and long-term affects of such a policy would be. I assume if students lost access to these loans enrollment rates would drop precipitously overnight. What percentage would be plausible? 20%? 40%? How long would it take, theoretically, for the "bubble" to disappear and universities to begin cutting amenities and other non-essentials to lower their operating costs? And, assuming this is even an effective policy, what would universities and students have to do during the messy interim period to keep afloat? At the end of it all, what would the US university population look like? How many colleges and universities would have to close their doors?
I have no particular ideological bent to this, I'm just having a hard time finding good, well-reasoned sources from experts on what this rather extreme solution would entail.