Tuesday, April 10, 2007

But is it really ignorance? 

I do not doubt the premise of this story; students do carry a large amount of debt. One of my seniors writing his seminar paper (I mentioned him before) found that higher levels of college debt per credit hour earned is associated with lower GPAs. Now I don't know what that result really means (I know he reads this blog, and I'm not giving him any hints. But you're welcome to give comments on that if you wish.)

Yet I wonder if the decision to borrow a boatload of cash to go to university is really an ignorant decision or if it is a decision made by people with high rates of time discount confronted with subsidized interest rates? If you are going to do this kind of education, it would be sensible as well to educate students on the benefits of the university education. What is the actual return on the investment? But no university has a stake in giving a realistic assessment of that because it may benefit from students overestimating their starting salaries after graduation.

Atop the growing financial aid scandal, one has to wonder if the schools really will police themselves in encouraging student debt.