The Kampus Krusaders

Vermont’s Trifecta of Fabulous, the aging and somewhat lucid political leadership of the 14th Republic, recently congratulated themselves on securing more funds for VSAC, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. In other words, education is an industry that is too big to fail, and these three rough ‘n tumble hombres are just the fellers to make sure overpriced student loans are available for immediate encumbrance upon unsuspecting Vermonters’ lives.  But let’s let them tell the good news, shall we?

“Leahy, the most senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which handled the Senate’s negotiations, led the effort in the work on the bill, on behalf of VSAC, with strong support from Sanders and Welch. Leahy said: “No student should be denied the opportunities of a college education

College.  It's a bitch.

College. It’s a bitch.

because of her or his family’s financial resources.””  

No student should be denied the opportunities of a college education because the price of a college education has skyrocketed for decades, dwarfing the CPI rate of inflation – a college degree is roughly 500% higher now than in 1982.  Why?  Because the federal and state governments have ensured that by making student loans available (at rates that are multiples of the average mortgage rate), colleges will continue to endlessly spend money on programs of dubious utility to the average college student, and soon-to-be unemployed college graduate. Those dorms with hi-def screens on the walls in every room, dorms with pools and hot tubs, upscale cafeterias, resort-level gyms and spas, well, it turns out that someone’s going to pay for those. It will be the students, taking out loans, that will fund the majority of those capital projects, new division chairs, new programs with Majors Of Dubious Value, and the campus President’s tasty salary.

Kickoff's at 6:00!

Kickoff’s at 6:00!

Oh, and what goes unmentioned by our tripping-over-themselves-to-congratulate-themselves “leaders”:  Be careful what major you bring to the labor market.

Also, no American should be denied a Senate that passes a budget, but we got that from Leahy and Sanders.  I await their apology.

Continued – unendingly – from above:

“Nonprofit loan servicers like VSAC serve as instrumental partners in guiding Vermont students through the complexities of financing their college educations.”

It’s more complicated because funding mechanisms like VSAC exist. The state could block-grant the VSAC dollars directly to the colleges to reduct their costs, but perhaps our
Federal Triumvirate knows that giving additional dollars to colleges is dangerous. You don’t feed the insatiable more of what they love so dearly – unrestricted funds.  Why is there no call to nationalize education so as to control costs?  Isn’t that how things get fixed now?  Nationalize an industry and the costs will magically go down?

“I continue to hear from students and adult learners across our state that VSAC’s outreach counselors gave them the support system they needed to graduate.”

The only time I ever needed VSAC was when I was dropping off a student loan payment at 8% interest. A better support system would have been an aggregate tax reduction equal to the amount of money VSAC was spending so I could better afford to live in Vermont, and businesses might decide to site or expand here.  Oh, and I continue to hear from the recently-graduated how much their student loan payments makes it impossible to live in Vermont.  So they leave for places that actually have jobs.

“I am delighted we were able to make sure that the new spending bill will enable VSAC to continue to serve students in need.”

Our congressional delegation continues to be delighted in spending our money and money borrowed from investors in Treasury bills. Funny, they’re securing funding for a service

No, but being a politician almost always guarantees a paycheck.

No, but being a politician almost always guarantees a paycheck.

that is only going to decrease in demand as Vermont’s demographics continue their steep decline, in terms of birth rate and the aging demographic. Worse, because so few are participating in Vermont’s labor force, and our unemployment rate is low as a result, there will be fewer and fewer jobs waiting for college grads once they do graduate, and start looking forward to re-paying the “support system” they needed to graduate.

Instead of our delegation’s solution, I offer an alternative to aspiring Vermont collegians.  There’s a cheaper path to a degree:  Get a job at a college.  Any job.  Mop a floor.  Then go to school for free. Get a degree. Get two. Then leave.

It’s that simple. And you don’t need the Three Unwise Men from DC to help you get there, either, which would probably make another, more ancient Vermonter named Cal very happy, too.


One thought on “The Kampus Krusaders

  1. As usual, excellent insight into Vermont politics and flawed thinking.

    You correctly point out that by subsidizing the consumer of the good (the students) by providing loans to everyone and giving tax breaks to colleges, demand rises and supply is basically constant. So duh, price rises.

    What I would like to see is the weaning of federal and state help to the institutions so that they are forced to be competitive and leaner – while focusing on the most important goal of educating students. Not pampering, or doing studies with shrimp on treadmills, not focusing on sports.


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