The Pope Center for Higher Education is out with a new article in which it laments the fact that student loan debt and loan defaults are both up in North Carolina. This is obviously not an unimportant problem and so good for them for raising it.
As one might have suspected, however, the group’s conclusion as to why this is so and what ought to be done about it are mostly the usual market fundamentalist gibberish.
According to the Pope people, too many North Carolinians go to college — especially minority students who go to HBCU’s. The “solution,” therefore, is for all those kids who are trying to better themselves to cut it out. Better to get a job in retail or fast food and get on with life as a cog in the new post-industrial North Carolina.
Uh, earth to Pope people: Your article never mentions the word “tuition” except to say that it’s generally lower in HBCU’s. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s been skyrocketing in the UNC system in recent years as conservatives have repeatedly slashed the state’s commitment to higher education.
A critical and obvious part of the solution to the problem of rising student debt — notwithstanding the Pope group’s denials — is to lower tuition and the other costs associated with higher education. That an article would purport to discuss the problem of rising student debt without even paying lip service to the rapidly rising cost of attending college (or for that matter, the proliferation of predatory, for-profit colleges) is a testament to the amazingly powerful blinders with which the ideologues on Right Wing Avenue view the world and dispense their toxic policy prescriptions.