Crushing College Students with High Tuition Debts

I was working for the National Student Association back in 1974 and was part of an effort to increase loans to students for tuition while adding grants in a way that pushed up increased tuitions.

The first stage in crushing post-secondary college education was this report:

Committee for Economic Development, The Management and Financing of Colleges (New York: Committee for Economic Development, 1973).

The Committee for Economic Development (CED) proposed the following, which was dressed up as equalizing educational opportunities for low income families, but was in fact a plan to saddle individual students with massive debt and refocus the campus experience from a combination of personal education and widening awareness of larger social problems to a competition for diplomas as an entry into a job market where salaries were needed to pay off the loans.

CED Proposal language:
Tuition:
· Public tuitions should be raised until they reach 50 per cent of the cost of instruction.
· Four-year institutions to phase tuition increase in five years;
· Two-year and technical institutions to phase. tuition increase in 10 years.

Federal Government
· Funding should primarily be through grants and loans, made directly to students in accordance with their ability to pay.

Student Aid
· Student aid increases should precede tuition increases.
· Increased tuition income to be redistributed for student aid for students from low-income families.
· Grants and loans should be made directly to students.

Here was our response:

Statement of Kathleen Kelly President, National Student Association, accompanied by Chip Berlet, Editor, NSA Magazine.

[Kelly: This legislation] “is the first piece of legislation in many years which attempts to provide a coherent Federal postsecondary funding policy.

The present programs, as administered, are counterproductive and based on a Neanderthal concept of postsecondary Darwinism which sees education as a means to enrich the individual rather than society as a whole.

The National Student Association Congress in 1965 passed a resolution calling? For free public higher education and that will remain our goal until it is accomplished. We endorse wholeheartedly the low and no tuition principles on which this bill is based.”