Friday, January 22, 2010

Obama: Higher Education Costs Going Up Even Faster than Health Care Costs

President Obama said today* that higher education costs are rising even faster than health care costs.

I pointed this out as a lapse in good reporting by the Oregonian in its December story on Oregon's rising college debt. Never once did the Oregonian mention the huge rise in higher education costs as a major factor.

Its good to see President Obama is paying attention and trying to bend the cost curve down on bloated higher education. Higher education costs have increased 439% since the 1980's. That's an astronomical figure. More than 3 times the 147% growth in median family income during the same time period. Compare that with health care's 251% climb which is less than 2 times the median family income growth.

*Link to be added. The President's comments this morning at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio, have not yet been transcribed.

UPDATE: No transcript of the speech or question/answer section has yet been posted even though the White House blog stated yesterday afternoon, "We'll post the video and the full transcript shortly." I'll post a link when the White House carries through on its promise to post the full transcript.

UPDATE 2: The Washington Post has a transcript up. The relevant section:
[President Obama:]"Now, one thing I have to say, though. Even as we put more money into the Student Loan Program, we are also trying to reach out to university presidents and administrators to figure out how can we reduce the inflation in higher education -- because the fact is, is that the only thing that has gone up faster in cost than health care is -- guess what. Higher education. And the problem is, if we're not thinking about ways to curve the inflation, then even if we put more money in, what that money is buying becomes less and less. And so trying to find creative ways for universities to do more with less is going to be important.

"Now, in fairness to universities and colleges, part of the reason they've been having to jack up their costs is they used to get more support from the state. State budgets got into a hole, and then it became harder, and so they had to make it up on the tuition side. Nevertheless, what is also true, though, is just their general costs of operating have gone up in ways that I think we can improve. So we're going to be working on that as well."


OregonGuy said...

But there won't be a market solution. There will be an additional ukase.

T. D. said...

OG, you're right, of course. The Obama administration will not present a workable fix on this any more than it has presented a workable fix on unemployment, job creation, the mortgage crisis, terrorist activity in the US, Iraq, Guantanamo, transparency, earmarks, lobbyists, partisanship, etc.

But, the mere admission that higher education costs have ballooned a lot worse than health care costs is a step towards reality thinking in light of the President's claim that health care costs are going to sink the republic if not dealt with rapidly.

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T. D. said...

Thanks for your kind comment, Alena.

It's great to know you drop by.